Blains Trailers, the Ifor Williams distributor in Buckinghamshire are now helping to jumpstart VIP jets used by rock stars and celebrities through to jumbos flying holidaymakers off to the sun and massive cargo planes.
Trailers from Ifor Williams Trailers have been converted to carry jet-starting gas turbines used at airports around the world, from New Zealand and Samoa to Poland and the UK.
The new use for the trailers was the brainchild of former commercial pilot Nic Taaffe, who now runs Aviation Turbine Services, based in Ampthill, in Bedfordshire.
The turbines help start a wide range of planes, such as executive jets carrying just a few people to giant Airbus and Boeings used by holiday companies like easyJet and Ryanair, plus the huge Beluga cargo planes, which transport freight, including aircraft wings between factories.
Aviation Turbine Services sells the adapted trailers to servicing companies at airports, such as ATC Lasham at Southend Airport.
They have also gone full circle, as there are even some at the base of plane manufacturer Airbus base at Broughton, in North Wales where Ifor Williams Trailers is based.
They were supplied by Blains Trailers and Tyres, in Hemel Hempstead, who are distributors for Ifor Williams Trailers.
Blains director Tim Matterson said: "We sell a lot of these trailers, most for transporting animals and goods, but I was surprised when Nic revealed these will be used for turbines to start planes. I never realised just how versatile these trailers were."
Nic got the idea to use Ifor Williams Trailers after deciding to buy one to haul logs for his wood burner at home - then realised the trailers were perfect to take the turbines easily around airports.
The 69-year-old pilot, who breeds alpacas as a hobby, explained: "I was buying a trailer from Blains when I realised it would be perfect to convert for the turbines.
"Airports prefer all equipment to be truck-mounted, to make it easy to move around from terminal to terminal, and from cargo to passenger sides. These can be several miles apart, along the perimeter roads, and slow going as most equipment can only be towed at 20mph.
"Many planes do not have starter motors, to make them lighter and so fit in more passengers. That means they need a turbine to get them going, and also power certain systems while they are on the ground, such as air conditioning
"Our turbines are used on everything from small Gulf Stream and Hawker Beechcraft corporate jets– popular with celebrities because of their range – through to the biggest planes, like the Belugas, which fly out Airbus wings.
"We have 14 of the units around the world, such as Christchurch airport in New Zealand and Samoa, the Fed-Ex and TNT fleets in Belgium, airports in Spain, Poland and Australia. Also, they’re in airfields around the UK, with the latest at Southend Airport."
"We chose the Ifor Williams trailer, because it offered four wheels and good suspension, which is important to keep the equipment safe, plus the tow-bar is quick to connect."
At Southend Airport the turbines are used by ATC Lasham on a variety of planes.
Site manager Steve Radford said: "We find the trailers ideal for getting the turbines around the airport quickly and safely. We use them for a variety of planes, from small jets through to easyJet flying across Europe and cargo planes."
Andrew Reece-Jones, the Design Engineering Manager at Ifor Williams Trailers, said: "They say that necessity is the mother of invention and I would like to congratulate Nic on coming up with yet another use for our trailers."
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