Breaking into the aviation market as a tower might sound daunting at first – but it’s easier than you might think. The standard towing equipment that most towers already have in their fleet can usually get them started in aircraft recovery. Those willing to explore this niche market will open up new ways to expand their business and increase profit. It isn’t, however, just about having the right equipment; it’s more about having the knowledge of aviation recovery – from knowledge of the design and construction of airplanes, to the correct methods to recover them, and everything in between.
So what kind of equipment is needed? Chances are towers already possess the equipment that is recommended. Small tow trucks and car carriers, or large recovery units and lowboys are all able to be used when recovering an aircraft. As with vehicle accidents, some scenarios may require additional equipment such as a crane or rotator. While equipment is necessary, the most important ingredients in beginning aviation recovery are knowledge and training.
As with anything else, there are always things you will need to know before jumping in. First, airplanes are delicate. They’re designed that way. They are not designed to be banged around and take a beating, so when recovering one, it is important to use care. There are specific points on the aircraft that are meant for lifting called “jack points.” It is important not to cause any more damage when recovering the aircraft than may have already been done.
Another thing that is important to remember is that airplane wreckage is evidence. Towers have probably encountered this before when injuries occur in vehicle crashes – the same goes for airplanes, all wreckage and pieces become evidence in any future legal proceedings. Securing and protecting all pieces is crucial, especially when it comes to the smallest of debris.
Perhaps the biggest parts of expanding your business into the aviation recovery market are training and experience. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) – the agencies that are involved in aviation accident scenes – don’t necessarily expect you to have the magic solution when it comes to every aircraft accident. They know that each scenario is different – much like vehicle recovery – and that towers are gaining experience in this niche market as they go. In time, you will have the experience to be the go-to aviation recovery expert in your territory. In the meantime, keep learning and training.
All in all, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between vehicle recovery and aviation recovery. It is all about knowing structure and design, being careful, and always learning and training. Breaking into the aviation recovery market, and developing a territory may be a slow process, but once it has been firmly established, it can develop into a surprisingly lucrative source of income.