Two dramatic tests, held at Wonderboom Airport in November, 2014, demonstrated that the Kubota L3200 diesel tractor, the smallest in the Kubota L-series range at 32Hp (24kW), is powerful enough to haul aeroplanes!
In the initial test, this remarkable workhorse hauled a Pilatus PC-6 plane, weighing 2200kg, in and out of its hanger. The demonstration was observed by representatives of the South African Police Services (SAPS)and the Pilatus Aircraft company; the PilatusPC-6 is used by SAPS for patrol work.
Having successfully completed the task, a further challenge was set: The Kubota L3200 was hooked up to a Cessna Citation Sovereign nine-seater business jet – total weight of aircraft for the trial was just over 11 000 kg. Using only two wheel drive, the tough and versatile Kubota L3200 hauled the plane from its hanger, up an inclined road and back down to the hanger.
As it was raining during this test, the slippery polished floors of the hanger meant that, when it parked the Cessna, the Kubota L3200 had to engage in four-wheel drive. The tractor underwent some “modification” for this task; added nose weights and the used turf tyres instead of the standard agri tyres.
Though these tractors are known as reliable, operator friendly and powerful and suitable for the agricultural sector – ideal for everything from estate maintenance, through commercial landscaping and smaller-scale farming to any smaller task which requires a fuel efficient small tractor – Pilatus Aircraft prefer the reliable Kubota machines for this work.
There are already a fair number of Kubota tractors operating at Wonderboom, pulling tugs, including the Air Wing stationed there. These are older models and the test assured SAPS and Pilatus Aircraft that the “new” model is just as capable.
The Kubota L3200 was delivered to the Bulembu Airport in the Eastern Cape on 5th Febuary 2015, for the use of the SAPS Airwing.
The Lawnmower Shop
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Telephone: 012 809 0222
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Contact: Rudi van der Merwe
Article was featured in AirNews May 2015.
This article was featured in the Bulk Handling – June 2015.