Know Aviation Wheels and Landing Gear System
Aircraft landing gear systems are one of the most instrumental subsystems of an aircraft. The detailed design of a landing gear system makes its product development cycle time a long and critical process. The end result must meet expectations in minimizing weight/volume, reduce life cycle cost, absorb and dissipate kinetic energy of landing impact, various requirements of strength, stability, stiffness, ground clearance, and furthermore, control and brake, wheel and steering system mechanical synergy. These requirements are overseen and regulated by the FAA to ensure the proper operations and safety of all aircraft hardware and design.
A landing gear system’s structural components include main fitting, shock absorber, bogie beam/trailing arm, axle, torque links, drag/side braces, retraction actuator, down lock mechanism, up lock, wheel, tire etc. Major system components include Brake units, Antiskid systems, and retraction system components. Aircraft tires and wheels have the amazing feat of supporting the entire weight of an aircraft during taxi, takeoff, and landing and can hold up to 70,000 pounds of pressure.
Early aircraft wheels were one single piece but advancements in aircraft wheel design now utilize a two-piece wheel made of aluminum or magnesium alloy. Tubeless tires are now also used, which are stiffer than early aircraft tires. This stiffness keeps a tire from blowing out or separating from the rim upon landing.
Aircraft wheels are inspected both when installed on an aircraft and when removed from an aircraft if further inspection is required. Following wheel disassembly, wheel bearings are cleaned and inspection continues, looking for signs of staining and surface marks, brinelling, false brinelling, overheating, spalling, galling, etching and corrosion, and bruising. Other inspections like wheel tie bolt inspection, key and key screw inspection, inspection of the wheel halves, and fusible plug inspection follow. The foundation of any structure is of the utmost importance and aircraft landing gear systems and aircraft wheel/tires are no exception.
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