Aircraft Recovery Kits Include Load Cells, Shackles and Slings

Straightpoint load cells and shackles are key components of aircraft recovery kits that pull planes free when they have become stuck away from taxi areas and runways.

Farnborough, UK-based AMS Aircraft Recovery Ltd. is a specialist in the supply of equipment for aircraft de-bogging, which essentially involves the removal of a plane from an area where the undercarriage or landing gear has become bogged down on soft ground.

AMS supplies kits of varying types, sizes and capacities that typically include load cells, bow shackles and synthetic round slings, although additional items, such as spreaders, are sometimes required for recovering larger planes. The equipment is attached to the oleo strut, a pneumatic shock absorber used on landing gear, at one end and a tug, tractor, winch or pulling force at the other.

AMS recently ordered a 25t Radiolink Plus load cell and 10 25t bow shackles to assemble such kits for aviation customers. Fittingly, the wireless load cell is constructed of high-quality aircraft grade aluminium, whilst boasting an advanced internal design structure.

Mark Knight, director, AMS Aircraft Recovery Ltd., said: “Force measurement technology is becoming an increasingly important component in this common aircraft recovery scenario. Some aircraft manufacturers state that every force that is applied to any part of their planes must be measured and monitored during lifting and moving applications.”

Every plane has an aircraft recovery manual that provides information the users of a de-bogging kit need in a myriad of recovery situations. The documentation will state where slings can be attached and the maximum forces that can be applied.

Knight explained that on the world’s largest aircraft, the Airbus A380, for example, the maximum force that can be applied to any single oleo strut is 65t. De-bogging applications can involve a single attachment to the nose cone landing gear at the front of the plane, but more common recovery operations involve two connection points on the main landing gear.

Knight said: “With multiple connection points a recovery team can spread the force across the plane, but it is still vitally important to know the forces wherever they are being applied to the aircraft and the towing machine. Many aircraft have specific tooling that can be attached to the undercarriage, which can be connected in turn to the sling, but airports rarely have them in stock so our customers are familiar with having to improvise during crisis management.”

AMS supplies aircraft de-bogging kits to a range of global customers including the military, airport maintenance teams and airlines, often via tender, who it then trains in the use of the equipment. AMS provides three de-bogging kits in 25t, 50t and 65t capacities, all designed to recover aircraft quickly and safely so operations can resume as soon as possible.

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