New way to shove wide-body aircraft around

March 9, 2006
A wide-body Air Canada aircraft moved between several gates and taxied on a British runway to demonstrate new motors and drives from Chorus Motors plc, Gibraltar.

The graphic shows the test rig with two motors attached to the strut. In a commercial application, the motors will be integrated with the strut, probably in the hub itself.


A wide-body Air Canada aircraft moved between several gates and taxied on a British runway to demonstrate new motors and drives from Chorus Motors plc, Gibraltar.

Two electric motors attached to the nosewheel moved the aircraft, thus eliminating towing and reducing the fuel used on the ground. The system can also reduce turnaround time, noise, and emissions at airports.

Semikron in Germany designed the supercompact electronic module that powers the system. The Chorus Meshcon drive operates with up to 20 or more phases.

Applications are expected in areas as diverse as starter-alternators for cars, conveyors, locomotives, hoists, and robotics. Other uses in aerospace, such as starter generators for jet turbines, are likely to be developed in the near term. One potential use is as a replacement for hydraulic systems where the motor starts and stops frequently, often under load.

About the Author

Kenneth Korane

Ken Korane holds a B.S. Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University. In addition to serving as an editor at Machine Design until August 2015, his prior work experience includes product engineer at Parker Hannifin Corp. and mechanical design engineer at Euclid Inc. 

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