What is an Aircraft Ground Power Unit

What is an Aircraft Ground Power Unit

Aircraft Ground Power Unit, also known as Aircraft GPU or AGPU, supplies electrical power to the aircraft from the ground (grid tied ground power), a generator (mobile ground power unit) or a battery (portable ground power unit). Aircraft GPUs are often used when the aircraft is parked somewhere like a maintenance hanger, or on display at an event.

The electrical power requirement of an aircraft varies, and we specialise in supplying ground support power units for business and private aircraft, which operate in the 12-29 volt DC (direct current) range, whereas commercial aircraft operate at a much higher voltage of 115 volt AC at 400 Hz.

Why do you need Aircraft Ground Power Units?

Model START PAC GREEN® Eco Friendly Zero Emissions Aircraft Ground Power Unit

The engines on an aircraft, whether jet engines, piston engines or turbine, act as electrical power plants to supply power to all critical and auxiliary systems during flight, which means that aircraft engines not only generate thrust to make the aircraft fly but also fulfil all of its electrical power requirements when the aircraft is in the air.

When the aircraft is stationary on the runway, it is unsafe to leave the engines running to provide power – this is where ground power units come in. They enable maintenance and ground support teams to safely power up sensitive avionics systems, test electrical systems as well provide power to start the aircraft engine.

Which Aircraft GPU Type is right for my business or private aircraft?

Now we know the difference between business and commercial ground power units, we will list the 3 types of mobile ground power solutions for business aircraft.

Dual Purpose Mobile Ground Power Units

These units provide power for starting the engine, as well as powering up sensitive avionics for running maintenance procedures. We offer three subtypes of aircraft ground power units –

  • Portable battery powered ground power units
  • Mobile battery powered ground power units
  • Autonomous battery powered ground power units (zero emissions)
  • Diesel hybrid ground power units

Aircraft Maintenance Power Supplies

Maintenance ground power units provide a voltage that is specific for your model of aircraft, this is vitally important as avionics can be damaged if the incorrect voltage is used when powering up an aircraft. For business aircraft such as small jets, helicopters and single piston or turbine aircraft, voltage ranges vary from 12 volts up to 29 volts, and a specific aircraft voltage requirement can vary significantly, even within the same manufacturer model.

Aircraft Engine Starting Units

Aircraft starting power units are used to provide to the aircraft’s electric starting motor to power up an aircraft engine. These units are also voltage specific, and using one that is not specifically designed to work with your aircraft can cause damage. The starting unit must provide power with high enough cold cranking amps and at the correct voltage to enable the starter motor to turn over the aircraft engine at the correct RPM to initiate ignition.