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IAI Taxibot sets new tug speed mark

written by WOFA | February 6, 2014


An IAI Taxibot in action. (IAI)
An IAI Taxibot in action. (IAI)

The Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) TaxiBot narrow-body aircraft tug has set a record of 23 knots (41kmh) during taxi trials with a 74 tonne Airbus 320 at its Chateauroux test site in France.

IAI says the TaxiBot system has now “proven its ability to bring the airplane to near its take-off position at the same speed as aircraft which are taxiing using their own jet engines,” thus saving fuel and without exceeding the maximum allowed fatigue load on nose landing gear.

The demonstration compares with more conventional towbar-less tractors which IAI says are limited by the aircraft manufacturer’s to tow airplanes at speeds of 17 knots or less. Taxibot is controlled by the aircraft’s pilot via the tiller and brake pedals, and IAI says pilot training is “minimal”.


  • Dane


    I don’t understand how it’s a robot. I watched the IAI video on YouTube and apparently there’s a safety driver in the cab at all times and they have to return to the terminal There’s no real automation at all. Why not just have a standard tug tow the aircraft to the runway?

  • Ron Spiegel


    Its a robot because it is operating according to the pilots input on his in cockpit controls and acting
    accordingly. The safety driver is there purely to conduct the tractor from place to place and to
    operate the tractor during the couple and uncouple components of the operation, at other times he is free to sit in his seat and read his paper.
    Conventional a/c tow tugs are not towbarless, are not able to attain tow speeds of 41 kph with only the APU operational and most important of all are not able to protect the NLG from excessive braking or accelerating
    forces which is why the A/C manufacturers & FAA would not bless the operation.

  • Soothsayer


    With type CASCAM and remotely controlled to boot. Works for me!

  • DBO


    .. IAI says pilot training is “minimal”…

    Email to pilots “Instructions for using your new TaxiBot”
    1) Connect TaxiBot to front wheel of aircraft
    2) Use newly installed PlayStation controller to drive TaxiBot to active runway
    3) Line Up
    5) Obtain clearance and have a nice day!

  • JJ


    there is no new controller to install. pilots controls the taxibot in the same way they control the aircraft. one of the benefits of the taxibot system is that, in most instances, no modifications to the aircraft is necessary.

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