Wednesday 11 November 2020

Teaching Our Kids About Aviation - Name That GSE...


I know I'm not alone when I say that we love going on holiday! I mean… who doesn’t right? Whilst this year has taught us many things, one of those is definitely how much I love our family holidays and how much I cannot wait to be able to get away again! 

For many a big part of a holiday is going to the airport, which to many is the last thing they want to do. Going to the airport can be a big bundle of emotions – excitement from going away to a new destination and seeing the hustle of bustle that is an airport and then, a bit of stress due to the long queues and well… airports in general. However, there are a few ways that we can use to see airports in a different light and focus on how incredible and interesting airports are, and it can definitely help to improve the whole airport experience and even be a learning experience for kids too. 

Even though we’re stuck at home, it doesn’t mean that we can’t learn more about airports and everything that goes on behind the scenes, so that next time you travel, you can make the most out of your airport experience. Personally, I think this is a great thing to do with your kids, keeps them busy and you learn stuff together – win, win!

So today, I’ve partnered up with Aviation Spares & Repairs, aviation equipment supplier, who are experienced in the ins and outs of airports, to talk about some of the equipment used to make sure your plane is ready to board, which is called ground support equipment (GSE).

Baggage carts.

Ever wondered where your baggage goes once you hand it over or how it gets to the plane? I know this is something my kids would wonder about and the answer is Baggage carts. They transport cargo and luggage from the baggage handling system to the airplane where it can then be loaded onto the plane. These are usually towed by airport tugs to get them to the plane across the airfield. If you are interested to know how luggage gets from the check-in desk to the plane you board, Stephi LaReine published a blog post all about it.

Belt loaders.

Once the baggage gets to the plane it will need to be loaded and that is were belt loaders come in. As this article on OSHA’s Alliance Program mentions, “belt loaders are a unique type of equipment used by the Airline Industry to transfer baggage and cargo to and from the aircraft bin.” Belt loaders come in various sizes and designs to match the requirements of different aircraft and you may see a variety of them at an airport. 

Aircraft towbars.

Once a plane is loaded up and is ready to go it will need to be towed out ready to taxi onto the runway. Sometimes at the airport if you look out onto the airfield you may seem huge planes being towed by what looks like an impossibly small airport tug and you wonder how on earth it could be pulling that plane...? Well that is thanks to the towbars that are attached to an airport tug and the nose of the aircraft to move the plane around the airport with ease. Aircraft towbars allow for precise and safe parking of the aircraft.

Aircraft maintenance stands.

Just like any vehicle, an aircraft needs regular maintainance (and refuelling) to ensure it is safe to fly and to keep the passengers and crew safe on board. There are a variety of different aircraft maintenance stands, from aircraft fuel stands to engine maintenance stands, all of which allow airport crew to easily reach specific parts of the aircraft to perform regular maintenance tasks and inspection duties. This makes getting to all parts of the plane much easier for engineers and those who need to check the plane regularly. 

Ground power units.

Sometimes plane will need power whilst they are on the ground for things such as servicing or maintenance, to do this airports will use Airport ground power units. They provide aircraft with power to start-up, for aircraft servicing, diagnostic work, crew training and more from the ground.  

Next time you are the airport, instead of paying attention to long queues and expensive airport food, look outside the windows and play “Name that GSE” with your kids. And when they are full of lots of questions about what things are, hopefully this post will come in handy to help you answer some of those questions. 

How do you pass your time at the airport? 


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