Since they keep lying on the ground, they are often overlooked. They are heavy pieces of rubber and they play an important role in keeping our aircraft at one place when it is parked.
You must have guessed it by now.
We are talking about airplane wheel chocks. Not much has changed in their design since the time they were invented.
Now, Daniel Stieger, directing manager of Alpha Chocks, is reinventing the aircraft wheel chock.
Stieger who worked as the flight department manager Novartis, realised the need for more compact and lighter chocks. The objective was to make them easy to carry on board a business airplane to be used at airports where chocks are hard to find.
Pilots at Novartis did not like the idea of carrying a number of heavy rubber chocks as they made trips to Africa. The need for a better solution was clearly evident.
When Steiger retired from the company, he wasted no time to start his search for a solution. The end result was a forged aluminum, collapsible chock that weighed nearly 2.9 pounds. The weight of six set of these chocks was less than one rubber chock.
The Series 1 from Alpha Chocks have the ability to handle aircraft have nearly 55 metric tons of MTOW (121,300 pounds). This means it can be used for light pistons to ultra-long-range business jets. Steiger wants to come out with Series 2 which will be the larger version and can be used for business liners and airliners.
Another distinct feature of these chock is the simple over-center locking system. This makes it easy to remove them as the complicated locking mechanisms is eliminated. With the pull of a handle, these chocks can collapse and they do not get stuck. On the other hand, rubber chocks get stuck at times as they wedged between the ground and the wheel.
The price tag of single Series 1 chock is nearly $ 370, where the cost of a set of six chocks along with a plastic carrying bag is around $2,466. Designed to last a life time and corrosion-resistant, these Swiss-made Alpha Chocks will come as a standard equipment for Pilatus PC-24.