Imagine that you are a pilot stranded on the runway with a dead engine, all is not lost! A mobile ground power unit (or MGPU) can provide the necessary electrical power to start the engine and get the aircraft moving again.
Aircraft mobile ground power units are often used to start the engines of stranded aircraft, or if there is a problem with the aircraft’s electrical system, a ground power unit can provide backup power until it can be fixed. They can also be used for day-to-day operations too. For example, mobile ground power units are used for everyday purposes at airports to provide power when boarding and disembarking, for post-flight checks, and by MROs.
Airline operators and MRO facilities alike may benefit from mobile ground power units, which provide a slew of advantages over traditional fixed-base GPUs. Saving maintenance downtime (as MGPUs are quick and easy to install), being suited to difficult sites, and supporting mobile maintenance teams are just a few of the benefits. They are also less expensive than fixed ground power units and emit less pollution than traditional GPUs. Electric self-driven ground power units (E-GPUs) offer even more benefits: they replace both diesel and hybrid types.
Here’s how a Mobile Ground Power Unit Works
- The mobile ground power unit is connected to the aircraft’s electrical system.
- The unit provides power to the starter motor, which turns the engine over.
- The engine is able to start, and power is provided to the aircraft’s auxiliary power unit.
- Electricity is available for the aircraft’s other systems, such as lighting and avionics.
- Allows the aircraft to stay powered up while it’s on the ground.
The Beginning of the Mobile Ground Power Unit
The history of mobile ground power units begins in the early 20th century when the first such units were developed for use in military applications. These early units were typically powered by gasoline engines and were used to provide electricity for powering communications equipment and other electronic devices, and to start engines. Mobile ground power units have evolved significantly since then and have an important role in the aviation industry.
Today, mobile ground power units are used in a range of applications, both military and civilian. They are an essential piece of equipment for many businesses and operations, as they provide a convenient, portable source of power that can be used in a variety of situations. Mobile ground power units are available in a different of sizes and power levels and can be powered by petrol engines, diesel engines, hybrid electric, or electric self-driven.
AviBuy sells a wide range of mobile ground power units including zero-emission electric self-driven mobile ground power units (see our article on Electric Self-Driven Ground Power Units: Helping MROs and Airports Meet the IATA 2050 Carbon Criteria).
8 Examples of When a Mobile Ground Power Unit Could be Used
- You have a thriving charter jet operation and turnaround times are tight, you use your mobile ground power unit to keep the aircraft lights on while staff clean the passenger cabin ready for the next flight.
- Your aircraft is diverted to a small airport due to bad weather. The airport is located in a very remote area and is not equipped with an airfield ground power unit. You can use your mobile ground power unit for your auxiliary power.
- You experience difficulties during the flight and are able to make a safe landing, but the engine will not start. Fortunately, a mobile ground power unit on-site at the airport can start the engine.
- You touch down safely on the runway, but then experience problems with the electronics. Your passengers are waiting to disembark in a dark and increasingly stuffy cabin. Luckily, with a mobile ground power unit stationed at the airport, power can be brought to the aircraft, and within minutes, there is electricity for the lights and air conditioning.
- Your aircraft is in need of unscheduled maintenance, and you can’t fly it anywhere. Fortunately, a maintenance team can be mobilised with a mobile ground power unit and can come to your aircraft.
- You’ve flown to the middle of nowhere, and in the morning when you are due to fly back it’s so cold your engines won’t start. A mobile ground power unit can be used to start the engine and get you back on your way.
- You’ve arrived at your destination, but there’s no fixed ground power available. A mobile ground power unit can provide power to your aircraft while you’re on the ground.
- You use your mobile ground power unit to power the electrical systems on the ground so your pilots and aircraft technicians can conduct post-flight technical checks.
A mobile ground power unit can be a lifesaver, literally, and for your business. With a mobile ground power unit, you can rest assured that you’ll never be without power again!
Choosing a Mobile Ground Power Unit
When choosing a ground power unit consider how and where it will be used, as well as the power requirements. Voltage requirements can vary considerably for different aircraft models so it’s important to get a mobile ground power unit that is suitable for the aircraft in your fleet or that come through your airport or MRO centre.
Mobile ground power units provide an essential source of power for a variety of applications and situations.
Mobile ground power units provide a number of advantages over traditional fixed-base GPUs. Mobile ground power units are quick and easy to install, making them ideal for difficult sites. They also support mobile maintenance teams, which can be helpful for airline operators and MRO facilities. Additionally, mobile ground power units are less expensive than fixed ground power units and emit less pollution than traditional GPUs. Electric self-driven ground power units offer even more benefits.
AviBuy offers a wide range of mobile ground power units for Cessna, Piper Aircraft, and Hawker Beechcraft.