Lufthansa Technik Introduces Electric Taxi System
L-3 Communications, Fraport (owner of Frankfurt Airport and other airports), Lufthansa German Airlines, and Lufthansa Technik, with Airbus support, have teamed to jointly test a technology demonstrator, which might lead to a new way for aircraft to taxi. The group successfully tested a new method of ground operations using electric motors installed on an Airbus A320. It was the first known time electric motors were installed on the main landing gear of a commercial aircraft and used to provide all necessary aircraft ground movement. The system integrates electric wheel drives into the main landing gear. The wheel-drive technology leverages the electric motors’ continuous torque and power density to propel the aircraft. In the first three days of the test period high-performance electric motors built by L-3 were installed in the main landing gear. Other necessary modifications included the installation of an interface in the cockpit and modifications of the power supply through the APU and the integration of a cooling system. For five days the demonstrator was tested under real conditions, including typical duty cycles (from pushback to taxi), allowing the collection of data. The results are now being evaluated.