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Easier access for Red Arrows acrobats.

THE Red Arrows acrobatic team has called on a Scottish-based engineering firm to help its pilots gain better access to their planes.

Aberdeenshire-based Power Jacks has built a range of platforms that can be adjusted to the right height for each aircraft given varying ground conditions and pilot size. Once in position the platforms lock securely to prevent damage to the plane.

For height adjustment Power Jacks devised a four-screw jack system powered by a hand-cranked speed-increasing gearbox. The screw jacks used were E-series translating machine screw jacks with special design features.

The main customisation was the use of stainless steel lifting screws, top plate and worm shaft for corrosion protection of bare metal parts in the outside environment. For the same reason the gearbox housing and cover pipe were epoxy-painted.


The screw jacks are arranged in a U configuration with a speed-increasing 1:5 worm gearbox based on a screw jack gearbox used as the primary drive. This arrangement allows the operator to travel the full stroke of the screw jacks in 35 turns of the hand crank attached to the drive.

A second project saw the development of platforms to provide tail dock maintenance access.

For the tail dock jacking systems the same screw jacks were used arranged in a different U configuration this time using bevel gearboxes to turn the transmission through 900 at each corner of the U.

Again, the systems were hand-operated with the crank fitted to the first screw jack in the transmission line.

Altogether, 20 pilot access platforms and two tail dock platforms have been supplied and are in operation with the Red Arrows.

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Title Annotation:TECHNOLOGY; Power Jacks
Publication:Professional Engineering Magazine
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 14, 2009
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