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Basically do they move themselves using their powerful jet/propeller engines to propel themselves forward or do they just use an engine that powers the wheels used for landing?

I'm not really asking about planes that are readying for takeoffs just the ones that move on the ground like a car would.


marked as duplicate by Steve V., Pondlife, xxavier, DeltaLima, ymb1 Oct 7 '18 at 12:48

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The power to move an aircraft from point A to point B on an airport is provided by the same engines that power it in flight unless you hook up a tug, in which case the tug provides the power. There have been experimental developments that provide power to the main landing gear wheels, but there have never been any real implementations of these systems. Small single-engine aircraft can be moved by hand.

  • $\begingroup$ It's common for multi-engine aircraft to taxi using one or two engines instead of all of them, to save fuel. However, all the engines must be started, warmed up and power tested shortly before takeoff. For small aircraft at small airports, the taxi from the apron to the runway is just about enough to warm the engines up properly, and the runway threshold is the best location for the power test. $\endgroup$ – Chromatix Oct 7 '18 at 3:21
  • $\begingroup$ For small airplanes, you can use a towbar and move it yourself. Especially if you're just moving from one place to another on the ramp, or into/out of a hanger. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Oct 7 '18 at 4:03

Planes use a tiller. A tiller is a piece of equipment beside the yoke (at least, on Boeing aircraft) that looks like this. It moves the wheels while the pilots control the engines to provide thrust. I found this thread that should provide more answers to your question.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ The tiller is used for steering the nosewheel, rather than for propulsion as I think this question was about. Most small planes link the nosewheel steering to the rudder pedals, and some very large aircraft (eg. 747) have a second tiller to steer the main landing gear as well, allowing easier crosswind landings. $\endgroup$ – Chromatix Oct 7 '18 at 3:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Chromatix The 747 has a tiller on the captain's side and one on the first officer's side, thus two tillers. However, both are for controlling the nose gear. They move in concert. The main gear cannot be canted like, say, the B-52 for crosswind landings. $\endgroup$ – Terry Oct 7 '18 at 19:18

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