No Money Mondays: Better Pushback

By: Alex John
January 7, 2019

In the real world of pushback operations, a pushback tug is driven by the tug driver, leaving the pilots to focus on starting the engines or whatever else. But existing pushback options in X-Plane allow for either automated pushback with no control of direction, or manual pushback where attention must be diverted away from the cockpit.

Introducing Better Pushback by Saso Kiselkov. It is a free plugin that combines manual and automated pushback into a simple, yet effective solution, that allows you to plan the exact route the aircraft will take when it is pushed from the gate in your own time.

The plugin comes with three different tugs; the main tug includes a variety of liveries for various airlines, airports or airport services.

Each operation starts with planning the route the aircraft will take for the operation. In the image below, a small deviation to the right allows this Boeing 737-800 to be pushed back onto the taxiway safely. The simple instructions are always included on the right.

As long as the tug is able to physically manoeuvre the aircraft realistically, the aircraft can be pushed wherever the user would like it to go. Multiple segments can be added to a single operation to allow the exact path, and the plugin can also tow the aircraft forwards if desired.

The tug then connects to the aircraft, lifts the nose gear up, and then waits for the parking brake to be released to begin pushback.

Better Pushback includes several features to satisfy a variety of situations. ‘Connect first’ skips the planning phase so the plan can be drawn and immediately executed for online flying. The tug can be reconnected once the operation is complete if necessary. Sounds are also included, including voiced instructions over the radio for flawless execution. The plugin also supports GA aircraft.

Although the plugin has not been updated for several months, Saso has been heavily involved in the development of the HotStart TBM 900. The plugin has been open-source since day one for anybody to contribute to.

The plugin is 100% free and available for download here.

At the time of writing, version 0.47 was current with one commit on GitHub.

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