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What am i aircraft tug

Sometimes we just need a little help

If you’re in flight training, you have first-hand knowledge that part of a pilot’s weekly workout routine is hauling airplanes around the tarmac.
Photography by Mike Fizer.
AOPA members arriving at the 2014 San Marcos Fly Out aircraft parking rampSan Marcos Airport HYISan Marcos TX USA
Small airplanes like a Cessna 152 aren’t usually much trouble but pushing or pulling bigger aircraft—especially if there is a slope or bump of some sort—can get exhausting and hard to control. Tow bar designs that work under human power are helpful, but sometimes it’s just not enough.

Airplanes can be deceptively heavy for their looks, and moving one in and out of a hangar by yourself can get tricky and even dangerous for you and the airplane. The bigger the airplane and smaller or more crowded the hangar, the more difficult things get. I learned this the hard way while struggling to push a former-employer’s Cessna 172 up a small slope into the hangar and cracking the beacon light on the tail. I dutifully paid for it out of my paycheck (and amazingly was allowed to keep my job), but I sure learned the lesson that sometimes we just can’t do everything alone.

Here’s where powered aircraft tugs can save the day. Coming in a wide variety of creative designs, power sources, and price points, there’s sure to be one for every pilot or operator’s needs. Whether electric or gas powered, designed for different surfaces, aircraft types, or wheel configurations, new tugs are coming to market often. Check out some of these popular ones and remember a little investment in a tug could save you money on hangar rash maintenance (or doctor bills) down the line.

Options Galore

Emma Quedzuweit

Assistant Editor
Assistant Editor Emma Quedzuweit, who joined the AOPA publications staff in 2022, is a private pilot and historical researcher.

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