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Home > Flying the Plane > Would it be possible to push a big plane backwards by use of the reversers?
Would it be possible to push a big plane backwards by use of the reversers?
Flying - Flying the Plane
Monday, 07 July 2014 14:18

DC9 Push Back with Reversers

Hi Capt Lim

Would it be possible to push a big plane (like a Boeing 737 or Airbus A330) backwards with reversers? (On ground of course!) irrespective of whether reverse thrust is allowed or not.

This is especially in case that all the tow truck drivers are sleeping  or at a place after an emergency landing where no pushback trucks are available.

I would be glad for an answer.

Cheers from Germany

Klaus

Hi Klaus,

I have answered a similar question on the use of reversers here

Of course, it is possible to move a big plane backward using reverse thrust. On the Roll Royce engine of the Airbus, it is possible to get about 30 per cent reverse power on maximum engine thrust. So there is still quite a lot of thrust to move the plane backward but it is not approved from a stationary position on the ground except during the landing to shorten the distance required to stop.

Why is it so? Well, the resulting jet blast may cause damage to the terminal building or equipment if they were used to push back on the ground. Engines close to the surface may also blow sand and debris forward and then suck it into the engine, causing damage inside the turbines.

In the past, older DC 9 planes with tail engines used to move backward using the reversers – see video above.

This is no longer practiced on the Boeing 737s, the Airbus 330s or other modern jetliners with forward engines near to the ground as it is against company procedures
.

EVA Airways Airbus A330 Pushback at Haneda Airport Tokyo

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