Log in to use our free company, program and sector update tracker feature.

November 2005 edition

Boeing and Chorus Motors doing groundwork for onboard electric motors

By Daniel Cook

Boeing’s research and development unit, Phantom Works, has begun work on a collaborative project to develop a new breed of electric motors to move aircraft on the ground.

Boeing began the project with Chorus Motors a year ago as part of a continuing bid to reduce the industry’s ever-increasing fuel bills.

Chorus Motors’ WheelTug unit came up with a motor powerful enough, and small enough, to one day fit within the nose landing gear of an airliner.

If the development is successful, airliners will be able to taxi quietly around the tarmac, their engines silent, until they are ready for take off. It could also reduce the number of ground tugs used at airports, making for faster turnarounds. Chorus claims it could save airlines up to $6 million per aircraft over the 15-year life span of each motor.

However, with only the first stage of proof-of-concept testing completed, for now this lean and undoubtedly green innovation is in its infancy. But if Boeing and Chorus eventually triumph, aircraft manufacturers could be making way for the WheelTug in the airframe, as they do for avionics and other integrated systems.

The concept was tested in June 2005, when a Phantom Works/Chorus Motors team installed an electric motor on an Air Canada 767 and conducted a series of successful tests. Air Canada pilots performed ground manoeuvres on slopes and terrains typical of those at airports around the world.

Tests were performed at ramp temperatures exceeding 120 degrees Fahrenheit and at load....

Full report (951 words) is available by subscription:  

Tell a friend/colleague about this story:



 Contact details from our directory:
Boeing Company
WheelTug Aircraft Wheels, Electric Drives

Subscribers are able to access the full text of articles on this web site, and in a downloadable PDF newsletter. If you have a subscription already then please log in, otherwise see our latest subscription offers.

Enhanced listings:

Reduce the time spent on current projects by using ESDU – engineering data and software that have been approved and endorsed by professional institutions.

General Plastics Manufacturing Co.
General Plastics has been supplying OEMs, Tier 1 and Tier 2 companies with flame-retardant foam core materials and custom flexible foam molded parts for aircraft flight decks and interior cabins for over 50 years.

Victrex Plc
New VICTREX® AE250 composites and hybrid molding technology are changing the equation in Aerospace composites – find out more!

USA Borescopes
USA Borescopes is a global supplier of world class visual inspection equipment. We are the one stop source for aviation professionals.

The leading provider of heat treatment services worldwide. Bodycote offers high quality, reliable and cost-effective services to manufacturers whatever their size or market sector.

See our advertising tariff.


Monthly page limit exceeded. Please buy a subscription.

© Copyright of Airframer Limited, operated under licence by Stansted News Limited 2016. Terms & Conditions of reading.