SCHOPF: Successful trials at Stuttgart

SCHOPF’s electrically powered version of its F-110 tow tractor has recently completed successful trials at Stuttgart. (SCHOPF)

SCHOPF claims to be setting the pace for electrically driven aircraft tow tractors.  Tom Allett reports.

SCHOPF’s electrically powered version of its F-110 tow tractor has recently completed successful trials at Stuttgart. (SCHOPF)

At inter-airport Europe, held in Munich in early October 2009 SCHOPF Maschinenbau GmbH, a manufacturer of specialist vehicles for civil and military aviation, launched its new F110e (electric) aircraft tow tractor.
In its diesel version, the F110 is already a well-known vehicle at airports around the world; the manufacturer claims it is the market’s best-selling aircraft tow tractor in its class.  As many European airports are now facing up to increasingly stringent environmental protection requirements, SCHOPF expects the electric version to have similar success.  In the 16-ton weight class, the F110e was the biggest electrically-driven aircraft tow tractor at Munich and SCHOPF reports that a number of European airports have already shown interest in it.
The manufacturer says that from a technical point of view, the tractor’s layout has been kept as simple as possible in order to meet operators’ requirements.  Electrical power is stored in lead-acid batteries that are available on the market today, and, adds that these: “will be easily replaceable as and when new technology batteries become available”.  Standard chargers are used to replenish the battery.
The tractor is driven by two electric motors connected directly to the drive axles of the four-wheel steering system that is already in use within the company’s product range.
SCHOPF says that: “Infinitely variable speed control” is made possible by modern electronics, while its braking and steering systems are hydraulic and the same as those used in the existing diesel-driven version.

Electrical power means no exhaust pipe. (SCHOPF)

Successful Trials at Stuttgart Airport

The prototype of the world’s largest electric aircraft towing tractor was recently trialled at Stuttgart Airport, and the manufacturer reports that the results: “were extremely positive”.
The airport’s Operations Manager Henrik Sickinger, said: “Pushbacks and transport runs went without any problems or breakdowns, which is remarkably good for a prototype.  Drivers and pilots alike were won over by the gentle starts and acceleration during pushbacks.  All scheduled pushbacks, which are normally carried out by diesel-driven SCHOPF tractors, were performed using the e-Tractor.”
Of course, in order to use electrically powered vehicles, the necessary vehicle charging stations must be installed at the airport.  The prototype’s battery capacity proved to be sufficient to run a two-shift operation at Stuttgart and there are also charging systems available on the market that make three-shift operations possible through opportunity charging.
In a few months, upon completion of various adjustments, SCHOPF’s e-Tractor is scheduled to enter series production.
Also on display
Alongside the electric F110, SCHOPF also exhibited its F210, a new, diesel-driven aircraft tractor in the 22- to 32-ton weight class at Munich.  This tractor is also making its debut and is described by the manufacturer as being:  “ideal for the new Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 aircraft”.  The Rofan brand – known for its baggage and freight tugs – also made its first appearance under the SCHOPF ‘umbrella’.  (SCHOPF)