Ground Power Units and Their Use for Grounded Aircraft

When an aircraft is parked at a terminal or is otherwise grounded with all engines and power units shut off, power is unable to be generated for various internal systems and electronics. Whether the aircraft is being prepared for its next flight or is simply being inspected for system functionality, there will need to be a source of power provided without utilizing the engines for safety and fuel savings. With an aircraft ground power unit (GPU), electrical power can be provided from an external source to various aircraft parts and systems with ease. As GPUs serve as a common form of ground support equipment that is extremely useful for aviation applications, it can be beneficial to have a better understanding of them.

During standard flight, the air conditioning system, avionics, lights, and all other powered components are supported by the jet engines in operation. During touchdown, the pilot will often maintain power for one engine so that the aircraft has enough thrust to get to the terminal and ample power to continue running necessary systems. While thrust will no longer be needed when at the terminal, power will still be required for aircraft docking, turnovers, and instrumentation tests, thus necessitating the use of external ground support equipment.

While pilots have the option of using the auxiliary power unit (APU) to provide electricity, its operation will result in excessive amounts of noise and the burning of fuel which can be considered more wasteful. As such, the 400 Hz aircraft ground power unit has become a staple of many regulatory bodies and aviation applications. The 400 Hz standard is very important, as it ensures optimal transmission with low losses while minimizing the weight and size of all electrical components and motors present in the aircraft. By using a higher electrical frequency than what is considered the global standard for most systems, aircraft electrical assemblies can be designed to be highly efficient and lightweight.

In general, the aircraft ground power unit is a type of box with a flexible cable that directly plugs into the aircraft. The GPU is typically connected before the engine is shut off, ensuring no hiccup in electrical power is experienced. Once all tests and verifications are complete and the interlocking LED is lit, the operator may turn on the adapter so that the electrical connection is established for power to be provided to the aircraft. Depending on the type of the aircraft and its size, one or more GPUs may be used, and the GPUs may be fixed-to-ground, bridge mounted, or mobile types.

When choosing between different GPU options, one should consider the flexibility and mobility they require, their power source, the space of the particular airport, and other such factors. At ASAP NSN Hub, we are a leading distributor of aircraft parts and ground power unit components that have been sourced from leading global manufacturers that we trust. As you explore our vast set of offerings, take advantage of our RFQ services to request quotes on items for your comparisons with ease. Once you have submitted a form, our team members will quickly review it and respond with a customized solution for your needs, all within 15 minutes or less. Initiate the purchasing process today and see how ASAP NSN Hub can serve as your strategic sourcing partner for all your operational requirements.


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