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Introduction

Continual growth in worldwide air travel is increasing the demand on airlines and service operators. The need to service aircraft quickly and keep passengers moving is essential. Busy airports, short turnaround times and limited space are just some of the factors adding to the pressure on service companies carrying out pre-flight apron activities.

Working with Jet2.com, ZoneSafe developed The Aircraft Damage Protection System. This offers a solution to help prevent aircraft damage and reduce the risk of accidents while pre-flight activities are carried out.

This video demonstrates the ZoneSafe Aircraft Damage Protection System installed for Jet2.com at various airports across Europe.

The system uses ZoneSafe Safety Detection Cones strategically placed around the aeroplane. This creates a complete detection zone around the aircraft. Fitted to each ground service vehicle is an in-cab control unit and antenna.

When the ground service vehicles enter the detection zone, an audio visual alarm is activated in the cab of the vehicle warning the driver of the proximity of the vehicle to the aircraft.

System Testing & Installation

After a series of tests and operational trials, the system gave excellent results. The control box fitted to the vehicle gave an audible and visual alert to the driver every time the ground service vehicle drove into the detection zone around the aircraft. The driver was instantly made aware of the vehicle’s close proximity to the aircraft and they naturally proceeded cautiously whilst the alarm signalled. Once the driver exited from the detection zone, the alarm stopped and the driver continued on their way.

Tested off airside the system was again found to be 100% reliable. Everything worked as it should. When tested airside with 2 live aircraft and avionics engineers in attendance, there was no interference with or from any a/c systems. Subsequently the system was then used in a live scenario, tested for 4G interference and approved by NATS at Manchester Airport with no interference from airport systems.

Installation of the in-cab control unit and external antenna takes approximately one hour. However Jet2 found it was best to fix the units with powerful adhesive so that the system didn’t invalidate any ground service vehicle warranty. Deployment of the safety detection cones has been straight forward and is now part of standard procedures of aircraft arrival.

Feedback

Following installation of the ZoneSafe system, feedback from Jet2.com explained how impressed they were and how well the system had been received by their employees. They believed that they could see an improvement in operator awareness and a reduction in near miss occurrences between vehicles and aircraft, particularly in poor weather visibility.

Conclusion

The ZoneSafe Aircraft Damage Protection system provides an additional level of protection which is virtually maintenance free, quick and easy to deploy and suitable for any aircraft type. It has successfully increased safety and awareness to a number of airports where Jet2 are operating from. With the risk of collision from GSE significantly reduced, the risk of costly repairs and expensive delays are now at a minimum. Jet2 are looking to install it at every airport they fly from across the UK and Europe.

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