ircraft landing gear helps airplanes to land and take off safely, as well as allowing the aircraft to taxi on the ground. Landing gear must be able to absorb and dissipate the forces associated with landing, reducing impact to the airframe.
A wheel braking system in the landing gear helps to slow down the aircraft, while a steering system facilitates movement of the aircraft while it is on the ground.
Types of Aircraft Landing Gear
Many aircraft use retractable landing gear, which reduces drag while the aircraft is in flight. This type of landing gear uses an eletrical or hydraulic system to pull the landing gear up into the aircraft body when the pilot moves a switch in the flightdeck to the UP position.
Some other aircraft use fixed landing gear. This type of landing gear reduces the aerodynamic efficiency of the aircraft, but also reduces the risk of a failure of the retraction system compromising the safety of the aircraft on landing.
Main Components of Aircraft Landing Gear
Aircraft landing gear contains several main components, including the following:
- Steering system: Most modern aircraft landing gear uses an electronic system to control the steering, which is more accurate than an old-fashioned hydro-mechanical system.
- Actuation System: Electric systems are also replacing hydraulic systems when it comes to aircraft landing gear actuation systems.
- Tires: Landing gear uses advanced radial tire technology to extend tire lifespan and reduce tire weight.
- Brake System: Aircraft landing gear systems include antiskid brakes to safely bring the plane to a stop.
- Up-locks: Hydromechanical locking systems ensure landing gear is safely locked into the correct position during flight, take off, and landing.
- Proximity and Limit Switches: These switches detect the stowed or deployed position of the landing gear, which is essential for retractable landing gear to deploy safely.
These safety-critical components must all work correctly to ensure the safety of the aircraft and its passengers. As well as ensuring reliability, aircraft landing gear designers also work to reduce the weight of the landing gear as much as posssible, therefore reducing the aircraft’s overall fuel consumption.