You might not think much about the process of getting an aeroplane ready to leave the airport but for Euge Seery at Virgin Atlantic, that’s his everyday job.
Euge is a tug driver and maintenance assistant at the airline’s Heathrow engineering hangar. He spends his work day driving a huge, powerful and extremely heavy tractor, known as a tug, manoeuvring aircraft in and out of the hangar and owing them to and from the terminal building on the other side of the airfield.
The tug can push a 400-tonne, fully loaded Boeing 747 off the gate so you certainly need your wits about you in this job. It takes three people to complete a typical tow across Heathrow’s busy taxiways – one driving the tug, an engineer in the flight deck of the aircraft to operate the parking brakes and a third person ‘on the headphones’ monitoring the process and communicating the control tower to ensure safe movement.
Euge has worked at Heathrow for 30 years, beginning his career as a ramp worker at Air France before learning to drive a tug. He’s been working with Virgin Atlantic for 14 years.
“I remember my first solo live pushback well. It was 1992 and an Air France 747 packed with celebrities going off to a press launch in Morocco. So no pressure!” says Euge who has also pushed back Concorde several times, including once with the King of Jordan onboard.
Find out more about Euge and his team of tug drivers on the Virgin Atlantic Ruby blog.