Wonderful Engineering

Guy Creates An Electric Tug Robot Controlled By An iPhone That Can Pull A Cessna Plane

(Source: Interesting Engineering)

Anthony DiPilato has just made an iPhone-controlled aircraft tug that is capable of pulling a Cessna 310 plane. The plane weighs over 2,268 kg. This is too heavy to move by using brute force and the standard aircraft tugs are too expensive to employ for this. This forced DiPilato to make his own tow machine.

If you own a plane, there are a number of challenges that come with it. One of them is moving the plane. DiPilato’s Cessna forced him to make his own device to move the plane. He did not immediately succeed, and it took him as many as five iterations of his design to come up with a successful product.

(Source: Interesting Engineering)

Each failure taught him an important lesson and he finally succeeded after learning from his mistakes. He made a 13-inch wheel base that is driven by a motor with trolley wheels in the front. The front part of the contraption has two 12V batteries with control systems containing an Arduino Mega Brains, a circuit breaker, cooling fans, Bluetooth module, and an amber light.

After pairing this with an iPhone, he realized that the wheels lacked the required power to move the plane. He tried another design and the chains came out, resulting in another failure. Not giving up, he went on to replace the rollers on either side of the frame and put double rows to get extra traction.

(Source: Interesting Engineering)

To lock the position with electromagnets, a wheel hitch was installed in the place where the bar is pushed down by the Cessna to lift the ramp. The position was ensured to be locked this way. Some additional tests and tweaks later, the iPhone-controlled aircraft tug was successful in pulling the Cessna.

This is not just a home invention. It has the ability to have a huge impact on the aircraft industry making tugs simple to design and much more cheaper than they are currently.