can commercial air crafts at airports move backwards or in reverse?

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9 Responses to “can commercial air crafts at airports move backwards or in reverse?”

  1. Jeebz88 said:

    no they have a little car thing (not sure what it’s called) that pushes them backward.

  2. wolfee_00 said:


  3. kingpaulii said:

    No, they are pushed back by the pushback tugs operated by ground handling crews.

    They attach a towbar to the tug and the front wheels of the undercarige, and overide the captains steeing, then they wait for the air traffic controler to give the order and push the plane back and around onto the taxiway. They then remove the towbar and signal to the pilot that he is clear to taxi.

  4. patmarie0330 said:

    Not sure exactly what the vehicle is called, but after the pilots do inspections, and are ready to set out to the runway from directions of control tower, they ask the driver of this vehicle for a ‘push back’, which allows them to get to a clearing to start turning right or left, etc.
    Any pilots out there that could explain this better?

    …there you go, as I was typing, ‘king paulii’ gave a much better response!

  5. bladestall43 said:

    They can move backwards but think of the thrust needed to get a 747 moving from a stop?? It’ll blow everything not nailed down. Dangering the aircraft and people on the ground.

  6. riddleinariddle said:

    Of course aircraft are always pushed backwards while at the parking gate by a tug. On the taxi-ways aircraft can appear to move slightly backward (more of a pivot) by increasing the thrust to only one engine, which will cause the opposite side to swivel slightly backward. This is mainlyl done when ATC has (for example) advised of delays and requested that an aircraft exit a main runway, taxiway and hold in position.

  7. jeepwagoneerfan said:

    Yes, the pilot can reverse the engines to back up. All airlines do no use the little tug tractors.

  8. Av8trxx said:


    As mentioned, many can move backwards while on the ground only using reverse thrust. It’s called a “powerback”.


    Photo of a powerback-

    Powerbacks are done on a/c with tail mounted engines, commonly the MD-80. Not only are their engines more in line with the body of the aircraft, they are mounted hugh and injesting debris into them during the proceedure is unlikely compared to lower wing mouted engine aircraft.

    The proceedure must be approved by the airline and airport must approve them on a specific gate to do one.

    BTW- the amount power/thrust used isn’t that much, nor is the amount fuel, so those aren’t concerns. The main reason they aren’t done is that the proceedure isn’t approved (as explained above) and there is a FOD (debris/swirling dirt) hazard to the ramp personnel.

    Also, “aircraft” is plural so it requires no “s” to mean multiples, while “aircrafts” is possesive.

  9. strikeeagle137 said:

    depends on the aircraft. older 707, 727, 737, 747 cannot, for instance.


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