Towbars: How to Inspect and Use for Maximum Efficiency

Summary: Towbars require visual inspection from top to bottom before use with an airplane. Major damages can occur if one neglects proper supervision.

Maintenance, needless to say, is a crucial aspect of owning an airplane. Furthermore, there are specific steps you need to follow in order to ensure that your plane will properly function the next time you take it out. Now, one of the most important tools in your arsenal of aircraft maintenance equipment is the towbar. Prior to every use of a towbar, it is especially important to verify that you are indeed using the correct towbar and head for the specific type of aircraft you wish to use it on.

The Inspection Process

A visual inspection of the towbar involves the mechanic to examine certain areas prior to every use. The first thing you’ll want to do is to inspect the towbar itself. Are there any pins or bolts missing that you’ll need to replace? Are there are any loose bolts? Is the towbar straight and the head attached securely? These are all questions that you must ask yourself in order to safely utilize the tool and maximize its effectiveness. Also, be sure that you check the tire pressure as well as signs of any abnormal wear. If so, it is a good time to grease the axles and bearings. This can be done with a specially formulated lubricant from your local hardware store.

Using the Towbar

When using the towbar, it’s important that you verify whether or not it is sized correctly for both the aircraft to be moved and the tug that is being used to move the craft. Make sure the towbat is snugly connected to the aircraft – it should be as close to horizontal as you can make. The angle needs to be roughly 90 degrees – damage can occur to the towbar is jackknifed to the tug, similar to when you’re using a lithium ground power unit in motion.

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