A Grounding on Ground Power Units

Aircraft derive power for their electrical and hydraulic systems from their engines while in flight. But when on the ground, with its engines cold and inactive, an aircraft can still require electrical power for things like maintenance and pre-flight preparations. This is where ground power units come into play. A ground power unit is a type of GSE, or ground support equipment, which refers to all pieces of equipment and machinery used to support aircraft while they are not in flight. Ground power units are used to power up unpowered aircraft while they are still on the runway, an airfield, or anywhere on the ground, similar to how maritime electricity or coastline power sources are used for boats and ships at dock. GPUs are critical ground handling and aircraft assistance machines, because they allow airport handlers and personnel to service aircraft without needing to turn on the aircraft’s engines. This saves on both maintenance and fuel costs that come with running an aircraft’s engines.

Ground power unit is a general term given to all equipment that powers or starts an aircraft while it is on the ground. This can include a dedicated electrical power supply, battery power supply, or some combination of both. Like all types of electrical power supply, GPUs can come in AC or DC configurations, but most are either 28V DC or 115V 400Hz AC, and are used depending on the requirements of the aircraft. Certain models, however, will require a more specialized power source.

A ground power unit can take the form of an embedded box at a fixed location, but most come as a small cart that can be pulled by hand or towed by a vehicle to the aircraft that needs it. As a key component of an aircraft’s preparatory stages, they are often followed up by the aircraft’s auxiliary power unit, or APU. The APU will take over for the ground power unit, and start up the aircraft’s engines, after which they can operate under their own power.

GPUs are frequently used in both the civilian and military aircraft industries, where they allow for tasks to be accomplished that need a stable supply of energy. Civilian aircraft uses include parking and hangar transfers, fuel resupply, cargo or material management, and passenger compartment maintenance work. They will often include the necessary equipment for power generation and transfers like cables, converters, inverters, switch gears, mobile generators, high-powered batteries, and electrical management and protection mechanisms.

At AOG Unlimited, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the ground power units for the aircraft, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@aogunlimited.com or call us at 1-763-401-8616.


August 4, 2021

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