Munich/Bad Waldsee, 10.10.2011 When commercial aircraft reverse out of the gate, they require the
help of special aircraft tractors. That's because turbine-propel-
led airplanes do not have a reverse gear. Even though it would be possible for the machine to roll back on its
own by reversing the engine thrust, starting the
engines so close to the terminal building is not permitted due to noise protection and particularly for reasons of safety.
As a result, jet aircraft are pushed along the designated taxiways with aircraft tractors before they
continue on their way to the runway by themselves. This operation is called pushback. The connection between aircraft and tractor is thereby usually achieved with the use of so-
called tow bars.
Since airplanes used for
regular and charter flights usually have a significant weight, aircraft tractors are predominantly driven by powerful diesel engines.
These are, however, targeted by increased criticism
due to their substantial noise and exhaust emissions.