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Aerobridges Accommodate all Sizes of Aircraft

Ultrasonic sensors provide reliable feedback

"Bringing the world together to meet one another". To uphold this motto and fly more commuters, the aviation industry is introducing larger capacity aircrafts to its existing fleet. The Airbus A380 one-class configuration can fly as many as 840 passengers and is considered the largest airliner ever built. Lengthwise, it nearly stretches from goal line to goal line of a football field while its wing tips would hang well beyond the sidelines. As amazing as it will be for this behemoth to take off into the air, the A380 faces significant challenges on the ground as well. To integrate into existing airport-dockings, new aerobridges are designed for smooth automatic approach and retrench using ultrasonic sensors.


Aerobridges are permanently attached at one end by a pivot to the airport terminal building an have the ability to swing left or right, to be raised or lowered an extended or retracted in order to accommodate aircrafts of different sizes and contours. The smooth movement of the aerobridge greatly depends on the linearity and repeatability of the feedback sensors. A marginal error can cause great damages to multi-million dollar aircraft. Moreover the sensors have to work in demanding open environmental conditions.


Having mastered the technology of using sound principle for evaluating target positions, Pepperl+Fuchs ultrasonic sensors were off the shelf products for aerobridge positioning application. Each aerobridge is fitted with multiple ultrasonic sensors, one short-range sensor controls the horizontal approach of aerobridge towards the aircraft and one long-range sensor helps to align the vertical height of the aerobridge with respect to the type of aircraft. The successful field trials of the ultrasonic sensors overcame the above challenges.

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