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PRECO application note

Preco - Avoiding Costly Collisions Between Aircraft and Ground Equipment

Thousands of times every day in airports around the world, large pieces of equipment pull up to aircraft to provide a variety of PRECO Preview Extremeservices. JBT Corporation manufactures a wide scope of ground service equipment (GSE) including Cargo Loaders that load and unload cargo from the aircraft. If the loader operator does it correctly, it’s business as usual. If they collide with the airplane fuselage, operations can come to a complete halt, delaying takeoff times, costing airlines money, and frustrating passengers. One of JBT Corp’s main objectives is make sure the equipment it manufactures never makes forceful contact with the aircraft it’s servicing. To do so, it relies on a suite of sensors, with PRECO’s Preview Radar serving as the first-line of defense against such collisions.

Avoiding Collisions Between Two Large Objects

Kevin Cecil is Engineering Manager for JBT loaders. In this role, Cecil is responsible for all of the loader products produced or engineered in the company’s Orlando, Florida facility.
This includes the Commander and Ranger cargo loader product lines. He is also responsible for JBT’s Halvorsen military loader. “Billions of dollars are spent every year repairing aircraft hit by ground support equipment,” Cecil says. “Cargo loaders come right up to the side of the aircraft so they have a high potential to cause damage. We install PRECO’s radar sensors on the loaders to detect when the equipment is nearing the plane’s fuselage. When the loader gets within a specified distance, it sends a signal to the loader’s operating system to slow the equipment down as it nears the plane.”

...As JBT loaders approach an aircraft, the task of avoiding a collision falls to short-range sensors mounted on the loaders. For these very short distances—less than one meter—the input from the sensor will signal the operating system to apply the brakes (auto braking) before the loader makes contact. In addition, touch-sensitive bumpers will bring the loader to a full stop if they are compressed against the fuselage. If the contact is too forceful, the bumpers can cause the loader to be locked in position until a supervisor can assess potential damage...