Browsing Tag: Tug

While I was at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) a while back, hanging out with United Airlines peeps, we decided to take a walk down on the airport’s ramp. I was excited to just be down with the planes and having the ability to touch a Boeing 747-400 that just came in from Sydney. However, I got the opportunity to do something much more exciting. We stopped at a Boeing 757-200 about to push back and I was told, “hop on to this tug and take a ride.” Seriously? Um…yes please.

Most people see the push back as the beginning of their journey. Even though airliners are able to go backwards using their engines, doing so would cause damage to the terminal and provides less control. Remember, pilots can’t see what is behind them and moving around multi-million dollar machines on your own would be risky. The tug driver and other workers on the ground make sure there are not obstructions in the way of the plane.

As we were pushing back this Boeing 757, the pilots started both of their engines. What a treat. I have never been that close to engines during start up…what a glorious sound.

At most airports, the control tower will authorize when an aircraft is able to be pushed back and give them permission to taxi to a runway. At LAX, United Airlines control their own airplanes and have their own controllers housed at the old FAA tower. Their job is to authorize push back and direct them to the proper taxi way before the main control tower will take over.

That push back experience was probably one of the amazing airline-related experiences I have had. Those lucky tug drivers get to do that every day! I was so excited about this experience, I didn’t even ask where the plane was going. So challenge on!

It was aircraft N536UA N596UA leaving LAX on August 24th. Not sure about time, but it had to be somewhere around 10 to 11am. Can you figure out where the plane was heading?

UPDATE: @yyz_monkey and @bmvaughn found that N596UA (I made it more challenging by displaying the wrong reg number) was heading over to Chicago (ORD). Nice work!