Aerotows – Definition & Meaning

Aerotows are a term used in the aviation industry to describe the process of towing an aircraft using another aircraft. This method is often used to move aircraft around airports, particularly when they are not able to move under their own power. In this article, we will explore the definition and meaning of aerotows, as well as their origin and associations.


Aerotows are defined as the process of towing an aircraft using another aircraft. This is typically done by attaching a tow rope or bar to the nose or main landing gear of the aircraft being towed, and then using the power of the towing aircraft to move it to its desired location.


The use of aerotows dates back to the early days of aviation, when aircraft were often too heavy or underpowered to move on their own. The first recorded use of an aerotow was in 1911, when a French pilot named Louis Paulhan towed a glider behind his aircraft for a distance of over 10 miles.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, an aerotow is “the towing of one aircraft by another in flight or on the ground.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “the towing of an aircraft by another aircraft, either on the ground or in the air.”


Aerotows are often associated with glider operations, as gliders are typically not equipped with engines and require a tow to get into the air. They are also commonly used to move aircraft around airports, particularly for maintenance or storage purposes.


Some synonyms for aerotows include aircraft towing, aircraft tug, and aircraft pushback.


There are no direct antonyms for aerotows, as it is a specific process that does not have an opposite.

The same root words

The root word of aerotows is “aero,” which comes from the Greek word for “air.” Other words with the same root include aerodynamics, aerobatics, and aeroplane.

Example Sentences

  • The glider was launched using an aerotow from the towing aircraft.
  • The aircraft was moved to the maintenance hangar using an aerotow from the ground crew.
  • The airport’s fleet of aircraft tugs and aerotows are used to move planes around the runways and taxiways.
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