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Re: Flat-Towing IS Dangerous

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This weeks recent death of an airport TUG operator prompted this question regarding the dangers of flat-towing. Although I personally haven't flat-towed a truck in many, many years, have any of you big-rig heavy towers used flat-towing (bar v. chain) as the last resort to get the job done, or, so you don't lose the tow to a competitor?


From the possibilities of the airport incident, flat-towing and accidents like the run-over fatality are common in aircraft circles. I think the causes of the accident are pretty clear, one, the tug's operator sits forward and facing away from the aircraft's landing gear, two, the tow bar is low and between the rear pintle of the tug and the aircraft's landing gears, and three, the pilot sits high and above the tug and the landing gear. Because there's little to no time to react to a tow bar of components that snap, I think the potential of being run-over is imminent.


Flat-towing a semi-truck has its own considerations for safety and in some cases, is a necessary technique in opening a lane(s) or moving the disabled truck to another location. If ya' can't lift it, is it too dangerous to drag it? For this industry, what safety considerations are there?


If I were an aircraft parts inventor, perhaps an in-line, emergency braking valve could be part of the tow-bar's connectivity, where, if the bar were to break or disconnect, the aircraft's brakes would immediately lock. But, out of that action, 50-passengers would wind-up with broken teeth or busted noses resulting in extensive lawsuits. Perhaps that poor tug operator's death will go down as a simple, non preventable accident when pending lawsuits out trump the basis of correction.


If you were that inventor of really cool stuff, what ideas would you have to help prevent these kinds of run-over incidents from happening to include prohibiting a second person as a non-necessary ride-along? See ... our industry isn't the only one to experience lessons learned.     R.

Randall C. Resch

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