New main landing gear recovery solution launched by AMS

AMS has developed a new Over Wing Lift (OWL©) Tooling System to facilitate rapid and safe aircraft recoveries involving partial or full main landing gear failures.


Image showing the new OWL system deployed (in combination with AMS’s Fuselage Lifting System)

AMS’s initial range of Over Wing Lift Tooling Systems were designed and manufactured following an approach by British Airways (after being recognised as a validated lifting solution in manufacturers’ Aircraft Recovery Manuals/Aircraft Recovery Documents). British Airways and the U.S. Air Force have subsequently purchased AMS’s first equipment sets.

In the past, airbags have been presented as a conventional solution for tackling main landing gear failure incidents (in ARMs/ARDs). But the size, height and wing design of many modern civilian aircraft means that lifting capabilities are reduced with airbags. In our opinion, they are not a viable recovery option for some aircraft, due to load and skin pressure limitations (notably the A350/A380 and B777).

The tooling is placed at approved lifting locations on the wing – usually using the main landing gear trunnions – to facilitate lifting (overcoming the issue of restricted access for airbag lifts).

  • Ideally, they should be purchased as a pair to allow lift of both wings simultaneously, in the event of a full main landing gear failure; combined with the appropriate AMS Fuselage Lifting System (FLS).
  • In the event of a single main landing gear failure, only one set is required to allow the lift and levelling of the affected side of the aircraft.
  • It is possible to purchase a single set to lift one wing for lowering onto a suitable transporter/support, before redeploying the single set to lift the other wing (to repeat the operation), BUT this adds considerable time to the recovery process.

Mark Knight, AMS’s Technical Director: “The simplicity and cost of AMS’s OWL Tooling Systems makes them an attractive investment for airports that have access to appropriate cranes. They provide an effective alternative to airbags and offer a considerably faster solution for lifting and recovering aircraft disabled by a partial or full main landing gear failure.

We’re grateful to the team at British Airways for helping us to develop this solution and delighted that they and the U.S. Air Force have become the first customers to purchase them.”


AMS’s OWL Tooling System in its bespoke stillage




A350 – The A350 AMS OWL Tooling System was developed specifically for British Airways to meet the requirements of the A350 Aircraft Recovery Document (ARD).

A380 – AMS offers two over wing lifting solutions for this aircraft:

  • The AMS A380 Sling Set is our most cost-effective option. We recommend each sling attachment has a loadcell within the system to record the loads, as the lifting load distribution on the A380 wing is critical. Our set consists of slings and associated components as detailed in the ARM/ARD.
  • AMS also offer the FIL2200 Lifting System, which is the ONLY lifting solution formally referenced in the A380 ARD.


B777 – The B777 OWL System for this aircraft consists of an off-set delta/spreader plate, associated shackles, and slings (as detailed in the B777 ARM/ARD).

B747 & B787 – The B747 and B787 OWL System can be used with both aircraft. The set consists of slings and associated components (as detailed in the ARM/ARD).

Development work is currently underway to produce options for other aircraft.

AMS encourages airports to have aircraft recovery equipment onsite, and in-house teams professionally trained to use it. Time saving is essential in these situations to ensure the smooth and effective operation of airports.

If your airport does not currently own aircraft recovery equipment, or you would like to purchase Over Wing Lift (OWL©) Tooling Systems to extend your aircraft recovery capability, please get in touch by calling us on +44 (0)20 3289 9320, or contact us using the form on our website.