L.T. van Halderen
M.A.R.S.: Mobile Aircraft Recovery System. Een conceptanalyse voor een
bergingsvoertuig voor vliegtuigen.
Report 2003.TL.6765, Transport Technology, Logistic Engineering.
At almost every airport, it's a regular occurrence that aircraft run off
runways. Frequently, the airplane blocks the runway, which makes air trafflc
on that specific runway impossible. At busy airports, this quickly leads to
congestion, delay and huge economical damage. Therefore, the need for speedy
recovery is great. As a result of the high pressure of time, modern recovery
techniques often cause damage to the hull. Against this background, a concept
design of recovery vehicle for aircraft has been created.
The concept, with the name M.A.R.S. (Mobile Aircraft Recovery System), can be
used for both small and large commercial airplanes. The vehicle lifts the
airplane, after which it transports the hull to the hangar. It can be driven on
every type of surface. Three recovery vehicles are necessary for the recovery
of a large airplane, for a smaller aircraft, one vehicle is sufficient.
The goal of the research project is to investigate, whether a need for the
recovery vehicle M.A.R.S. in the aircraft recovery market exists, and whether
the concept, in its present form, optimally connects to those market needs.
Firstly, to gain an insight in the market, a research in present literature
has been performed. From this research, it appears that accidents, for which
the recovery vehicle can be used, occur with an average of twenty a year. Most
of these accidents, relatively to the number of flights performed, take place
in Africa and Central and South America.
For the recovery air cushions, cranes, trailers and an occasional professional
instrument are used. Local recovery companies provide the equipment. It has
been investigated whether links between aircraft recovery and the recovery of
other transport modalities exist. It is has become evident that aircraft
recovery has some resemblance with the recovery of trams and trucks; ship
recovery however, differs a lot. Finally, it appears that money flows within
aircraft recovery are mostly determined and controlled by insurance companies.
The second part of the investigation comprises a qualitative research project.
Several parties, involved in aircraft recovery, have been interviewed. Various
subjects were discussed, which have led to the following results.
Especially for airports, airlines and insurance companies, the recovery vehicle
can have an added value. Above all things, recovery speed and damage reduction
contribute to this added value, because of the decrease in economical damage.
However, the added value is too low in comparison to the expected costs of the
present concept. For this reason, no company will be prepared to purchase the
Also, the respondents confirm the use of the recovery equipment mentioned above,
as well as the execution of the recovery by local companies. According to
most respondents, improvements in the existing recovery process are not
necessary. Moreover, it is doubted whether the vehicle will work in practice.
The costs and money flows are different for each incident. They depend on which
party can be held responsible for the crash. A judge decides upon this
responsibility. For the financial part of the interview, the choice of the
respondents has not been optimal, as many of them had little knowledge of this
Summarized, it can be said that the interviews indicate that the recovery
vehicle, in its present form, does not connect to the market needs.
Through the interviews, it has also become apparent that several parties could
be involved in the development of the vehicle, functioning as a source of
information. Of these parties, aircraft manufacturer Boeing will be of most
importance. An insurance company, or possibly a recovery company, could act as
a financier. The product market of the vehicle could be expanded to the
heavy-transport sector and the petrochemical industry. Finally, it has been
conduded that the geographical market depends on the purchaser of the vehicle.
The final part of the project comprises a multi criteria analysis. Eight
important characteristics of the recovery vehicle have been determined. Each of
these characteristics has been scaled according to its importance. Using a
morphological chart, five different concepts, among which the current concept,
have been established. Every concept has obtained a score for the eight
characteristics. This score, multiplied by the scale factor, provides an end
score. The concept with the highest end score is the concept that connects to
the market needs the best. This analysis has proven once more that the current
concept does not optimally connect. The solution can be found in a simpler and
cheaper concept. This concept is designed as a trailer, for which cranes do
Both the quality of the research in literature and the quality of the
interviews are large enough to produce reliable results. However, the multi
criteria analysis is a rather subjective method to make a concept choice.
Performance of the analysis by another researcher, could lead to different
results. Nevertheless, the analysis does create a tool that makes discussion
about the concept choice possible.
Reports on Logistic Engineering (in Dutch)
, TU Delft