Power Requirements for an Airplane

Power Requirements for an Airplane

Did you know that the same batteries that power aircraft maintenance equipment won’t be able to supply the voltage necessary to jump start a plane engine? It’s true! In fact, most planes need a separate starting unit to handle the voltage requirements for auxiliary systems, such as GPS programming or lights on a helicopter.

Airplanes need quite a bit of power delivery, because they have a large turbine engine that needs to turn over in order to start the craft. An airplane starting unit is particularly larger than your average maintenance battery, often requiring its own hand or truck cart to be transported across the tarmac. Avionics don’t consume as much power, although there may be many systems running at once, so they are usually powered separately from a power supply, then they draw off the main lithium batter mid-flight.

These units have a charge time that varies, but most batteries can charge within about 4-6 hours. That’s perfect for high-turnaround airfields, which might have multiple GPUs running at once to cut downtime. Your basic lithium ground power unit isn’t exactly mounted to the ground, although it can be. Instead, these units are designed to accept multiple inputs, and remain adaptable. No tall aircraft power outlets were created the same.

According to Start Pac, size of the engine plays a role as well. Certain 24 volt power supplies won’t work for larger engines. Of course, smaller turbine engines can usually be hand cranked to get them jump started if you’re in a bind and you can’t find a reliable power source.