What are Ground Support Equipment and Its Types?

If you’ve ever been sitting in the window-seat of a plane preparing to take off, you’ve surely noticed the vehicles and machinery hard at work around you. Those vehicles and machinery are called Ground Support Equipment (GSE) and are used to service aircraft between flights. The roles this equipment fulfills include ground power operations, aircraft mobility, and cargo/passenger loading operations. There is both powered and non-powered ground support equipment. Non-powered equipment includes dollies, chocks, aircraft tripod jacks, and service stairs. Powered equipment consists of refuelers, tugs and tractors, ground power units, belt loaders, de-icing vehicles, and more.

Dollies are used to transport loose baggage, oversized bags, mail bags, loose cargo, and more between the aircraft, the terminal, or other facilities. There are also more powerful dollies for heavier loads and cargo pallets, specialized for easy loading and unloading of larger materials. Chocks are placed in front of and behind an aircraft’s wheels and are used to hold them in place while parked at a gate or hangar. Usually made from extremely hard wood or rubber, they serve a similar purpose to the cement blocks you find in most parking lots. The aircraft tripod jack is a support tool used to prevent the tail of the aircraft from drooping or falling to the ground altogether. When passengers disembark, the aircraft becomes tail heavy and compromises the structural integrity of the tail.

Aircraft refuelers are either self-contained fuel trucks or hydrant systems. Fuel trucks contain up to 10,000 gallons of fuel and feature their own pumps, filters, hoses, and other equipment. Hydrant systems hook into a central pipeline network connecting the aircraft to a fuel source. This is more advantageous than a fuel truck, as it replenishes automatically. Tugs and tractors are used to move immobile materials such as bag carts, mobile air conditioning units, air starters and lavatory carts.

A ground power unit, or GPU, is a vehicle that supplies power to a parked aircraft. There are many types of GPU, varying in size, power, and electrical current type. Another piece of GSE most people are familiar with is the belt loader. These are vehicles with conveyor belts for unloading or loading luggage and cargo. A critical piece of ground support equipment is the de-icing vehicle. During inclement weather and freezing temperatures, ice can build up and cause detrimental harm to the performance of an aircraft. De-icing vehicles use hoses to coat aircraft in protective fluids that melt the already present ice and prevent the formation of more.

All components of ground support equipment have an important role to play in ensuring a safe, efficient flight. At ASAP Purchasing, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find GSE parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@asapsemi.com or call us at 1-714-705-4780.



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