Landing gears are one of the most important parts of an aircraft. They are what allow the aircraft to land and take off safely. There are many different types of landing gears, and each type has advantages and disadvantages.
In this blog post, we will look at everything you need to know about aircraft landing gears.
Types of Landing Gears
When it comes to landing gears, it’s not one size fits all. Depending on the aircraft’s style and function, a variety of landing gear designs may be present. Here are the most common types of landing gears.
Tricycle landing gears are the most common type found on modern aircraft. They have three wheels, with the two main wheels located under the wing and the third wheel located at the nose of the plane.
Tricycle landing gears offer several advantages. They provide good stability and braking, making it easy for the pilot to see the runway during takeoff and landing.
The main disadvantage of tricycle landing gears is that they are more susceptible to damage during a hard landing. The nose wheel can also be damaged if the aircraft hits a soft spot on the runway during takeoff or landing.
Tail-wheel landing gears are less common than tricycle landing gears, but they are still preferred on some aircraft types. The main advantage of a tail wheel is that it has a lower ground friction drag than a nose wheel, which can be important on grass airstrips.
The disadvantage is that the pilot must exercise more control over the aircraft during takeoffs and landings since the tail wheel is not castering.
Dual-wheel landing gears are on some large aircraft. They have two main wheels, each located under one of the wings. There is also a nose wheel, which works for steering during taxiing. Using three wheels reduces the possibility of a ground loop during takeoff or landing.
Most modern aircraft have retractable landing gears. This type of equipment means the pilot can raise the landing gear into the aircraft’s body when not in use, reducing drag and making the aircraft more aerodynamic. Retractable landing gear is also safer from damage during takeoff and landing. You’ll find this landing gear on piston- and turbine-powered aircraft.
Evolution of Landing Gears
The Wright brothers made the first powered aircraft in 1903, and since then, planes and landing gears have come a long way. The earliest landing gear designs were little more than bicycle wheels with skids, but as aircraft design and technology have progressed, so has the design of landing gear.
The first real advance came with the introduction of the cantilever wing, which allowed for a more robust landing gear design. The cantilever wing also made it possible to place the wheels further out from the fuselage, giving the aircraft a wider stance and making it more stable on the ground.
With the advent of retractable landing gear in the 1930s, aircraft were able to streamline their design and improve performance. The retractable landing gear is still the norm today, and most modern aircraft have three or more wheels to distribute the plane’s weight evenly.
The latest development in landing gear design uses carbon fiber composites, which are lighter and stronger than traditional materials. This material has allowed even further refinement of landing gear design, resulting in more lightweight, more efficient aircraft.
How Do Landing Gears Work?
Landing gears absorb the impact of landing and prevent damage to the aircraft. They work by absorbing the plane’s kinetic energy as it lands and dissipating it over a larger area, thereby protecting the plane from being damaged by the impact.
To understand how landing gears work, it is helpful to think of them as shock absorbers. When an aircraft lands, the plane’s weight goes down to the landing gear. The landing gear then compresses, absorbing the shock of impact.
What Materials Are Landing Gears Made From?
Landing gears typically contain steel, aluminum, or titanium. These materials are strong and durable, which is necessary to withstand the forces of landing and taking off. As previously mentioned, some newer landing gears use carbon fiber composites, which are even lighter and stronger than traditional materials.
Do All Aircraft Have Landing Gears?
No, not all aircraft have landing gears. Some aircraft, such as gliders and balloons, do not need them because they do not have engines, as they would not be able to take off under their power. These aircraft are launched into the air using other methods, such as being towed or released from a higher altitude.
Can a Plane Land Without Landing Gears?
A plane can land without landing gears, but you wouldn’t want that to be your only option. Without landing gears, the aircraft would sustain much more damage upon landing. Ultimately, landing without landing gears is possible, but it is risky and should only occur in an emergency.
Maintenance of Landing Gears
You must regularly inspect landing gear to ensure it is in good condition. The inspection schedule will depend on the aircraft type and use, but most landing gears should get an inspection at least once a year.
During an inspection, you should examine your landing gear for any signs of damage. If you find damage, you will need to repair or replace parts as necessary. The inspection should include a check of the landing gear’s fluid levels and a general inspection of the rest of the aircraft.
Performing regular inspection and maintenance on your landing gear is crucial in keeping landing gears in good condition, so they can continue to play their vital role in the safety of the aircraft. If the landing gear is not in good condition, it may not be able to properly absorb the shock of the landing or crash, which could lead to serious damage to the aircraft.
Now that you’ve read everything you need to know about aircraft landing gears, you can know your plane better and make informed decisions about your aircraft’s maintenance. This will help keep you and any passengers safe at all times and your plane in great condition.
If you ever need new or replacement parts for your landing gear, be sure to buy aircraft parts online that are high quality and meant for your specific aircraft type. At Seattle Aviation Solutions, we know that using inferior-quality parts could jeopardize the safety of your aircraft. We carry a wide variety of high-quality aircraft parts, including landing gear, at our online store. Browse our aircraft parts today!