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New Ramp Safety Technology Aims to Reduce FBO Risk on the Ramp

As FBOs put more and more emphasis on safety awareness and accident prevention, ground service equipment (GSE) manufacturers as well as software development firms are taking notice.

At the annual NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) held October 16-18 in Orlando, Fla., several exhibitors showcased new technology-driven product offerings aimed at improving FBO ramp safety and reducing risk on the ramp.

We all know that moving aircraft under tow is one of the riskiest services FBOs provide, so one of the products that caught our eye was a nifty aircraft towing monitoring system. The newly patented device measures linear forces and will alert operators to potential overstress situations before they cause shear pin breakage or nose gear damage. The product, SiPsHitch by Aero Specialties, uses advanced software to determine proper limitations and can stop the towing process before accidents occur. 

Of course, this kind of technology is designed to aid FBOs in towing an aircraft safely. Line service technicians must still make sure that the aircraft is ready to tow with use of the proper tow bar, proper tug, removal of chocks, release of aircraft brakes and the proper number of wing-walkers in place.

Another product by Aero Specialties, Safe-Lav, helps prevent the overfilling of aircraft lavatory tanks. There is nothing worse than excess lavatory fluid running down an aircraft aisle and ruining expensive carpeting. This ingenious but relatively simple device takes the guessing out the equation by using a dedicated batching tank to determine the correct amount of fluid that can be delivered to the aircraft lavatory system.

On the software side of the business, we found advancements to a product that helps FBOs properly stack storage hangars. Not only can this product be used to help prevent hangar rash and other towing mishaps, it can also be used to maximize hangar revenue.

The company, One Mile Up, has also introduced a program that helps FBOs pre-plan ramp parking for special events that draw a large number of aircraft. The idea is to create efficiency and ramp safety by cutting down on excessive ramp movements that can clog operations and potentially create hazards.

An additional concern for ramp safety is employee distractions during fueling operations that can cause a lapse of concentration. Companies such as EffectiveFBO provide software for handheld tablets that automates tasks such as filling out truck fueling sheets to keep track of inventory and calling in customer gallons. The software allows these devices to interface directly with FBO accounting systems for better accuracy and faster invoicing.  

Improving ramp safety, recognizing hazards and lowering risks must be the goals of all FBOs. Although technological advancements can ultimately assist FBOs in helping to develop a stronger safety culture, they are not a substitute for proper employee training.

Please leave any comments you have about this blog post below. If you have any questions, please give us a call or send us an email:, 404-867-5518;, 972-979-6566.


John Enticknap has more than 35 years of aviation fueling and FBO services industry experience and is an IS-BAH Accredited auditor. Ron Jackson is co-founder of Aviation Business Strategies Group and president of The Jackson Group, a PR agency specializing in FBO marketing and customer service training. Visit the biography page or for more background.


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