How Does an Aircraft Ground Power Unit Work?

Despite needing power for tests, turnovers, and other processes, engine operations can put surrounding individuals and buildings at risk with various safety hazards. As a result, operators must take advantage of either an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) or an Aircraft Ground Power Unit (AGPU). Despite these options, some aircraft may not feature an APU, and APUs are loud during operation and utilize engine fuel. As such, the AGPU is the optimal option for powering aircraft electronics while the aircraft is situated on the ground.


While the 50/60 Hz standard for electronic powering is common around the world, aircraft continue to utilize a 400 Hz frequency. This is because aircraft prioritize low weight, and high frequencies permit the use of smaller electrical components without losing the power provided by them. Aircraft also face little effects from transmission losses with the small distance that power has to travel during standard operations. Alongside other various factors, the 400 Hz AGPU is a staple of countless airports for aircraft ground operations.


As a separate unit that is situated on the ground of an airport, the Aircraft Ground Power Unit features a cable that plugs into the aircraft to maintain power. It is important that the airplane is properly parked with its wheels secured before the AGPU operator approaches, and they will carefully attach the AGPU to the proper receptacle. The AGPU operator works with the pilot during connection to ensure that everything goes smoothly without a break in power. Depending on the size of the aircraft and where its AGPU receptacle is, the operator may need a ladder, or additional support in the instance that two adapters are needed for increased power requirements.


Now that you have a general understanding of the working and importance of GPU equipment, it is beneficial to familiarize yourself with the most common types. AGPUs are categorized by their mobility, and common types include fixed to ground, bridge mounted, and mobile variations. Fixed to ground AGPUs are true to their name as they are installed on an aircraft stand and can only serve aircraft that pull up to them. As such options are unmovable, they must be strategically placed for different aircraft to take advantage of them.


Bridge mounted AGPUs are also fixed, though they are installed under a passenger boarding bridge. As a result, they have slight mobility in the sense that the bridge itself can be moved as needed, allowing for the AGPU to reach the aircraft when it approaches the terminal. The final option is the mobile AGPU, and these units are on wheels and can be towed by a tractor to wherever they need to go. As the most flexible option, a single mobile AGPU can serve multiple aircraft at an airport with ease.


When you are in need of various AGPU parts and components that you can steadily rely on, ASAP AOG is here to help you save time and money on all your requirements. Working with top global manufacturers that we trust, we present customers access to over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find items that cater to a diverse set of industries and applications. All of our online listings are ready for purchase at any time, and customers may take advantage of our search engine and filters to narrow down results with ease. Once you find the parts you are interested in, our RFQ service will allow you to request quotes for your comparisons. Get started today and see how ASAP AOG can serve as your strategic sourcing partner for all your operational needs. 


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May 12, 2022

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