Air Transport World

Power pushback gets EAL planes away from the gate faster. (Eastern Airlines)

"The operation is so smooth you've probably been through it any number of times and never realized it." So says Billy Stevens, chief pilot of Eastern Airlines, and he's talking about power pushback from departure gates.

In power pushback the pilot uses reverse thrust from his own engines to back off the ramp, instead of using a tug or tractor. "We've used the technique more than a quarter of a million times since 1981 and I figure we're doing it about 10,000 times a month right now," Stevens adds.

One of the big advantages of power pushback is that it gets aircraft away from the gates quicker. this is especially important in a hub-and-spoke operation, where it's often desired to cram as many operations as possible within a limited time prior and gate space is at a premium. …

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