Wheels are an essential part of an airplane, and each type serves a specific purpose in helping a plane maneuver safely. Designed to serve multiple purposes, wheels used for aircraft are typically located near the front and middle of the vehicle, and are essential for taxiing, takeoff, and landing. As these wheels are usually much larger than those used for automobiles, they are specifically designed to support the plane's weight during various ground activities.
Aircraft tires and their wheel assemblies are designed to withstand high speeds and heavier loads during operation. Finally, many older model aircraft also incorporate nose wheels or tail wheels located at the front or back of the plane respectively. These particular components provide extra stability during takeoff and landing, and they help keep the aircraft traveling in the right direction when grounded.
Composition of Airplane Wheels
Usually made out of aluminum or steel, aircraft wheel assemblies are designed to withstand tremendous amounts of stress, while the tires themselves are generally made out of rubber and are inflated with air to help cushion landings. When put together, landing gear works to support the weight of the airplane, while the wheels, tires, and landing gear work to help the plane smoothly move along the ground.
The Life Expectancy of Airplane Wheels
The individual life expectancy of airplane wheels depends on several factors, including the type of airplane used, its frequency of use, and intended runway conditions. However, while wheels like those used for commercial airliners are designed to last anywhere between 300 and 400 landings, heavy use and harsh conditions can reduce their lifespan. Ultimately, the lifespan of an airplane wheel is determined by how well it is maintained and how often it is used. With proper care, most airplane wheels will provide years of service.
As previously mentioned, airplane tires must be able to withstand tremendous loads required for takeoff and landing. The landing gear of a commercial jet can exert up to 6,000 pounds of pressure on each tire during landing. In addition, tires must be able to resist the effects of extreme temperatures and the exposure to contaminants like aviation fuel and small debris. As a result, plane tires are made from rubber compounds capable of withstanding these demanding conditions.
Due to the stresses constantly imposed on them, plane tires need to be replaced far more often. Generally, they need to be changed out every 120 to 400 landings depending on present bald or flat spots; however, all tires should be replaced every 12 months at a minimum.
Difference Between Airplane Wheels and Tires
The main difference between airplane tires and their wheels is that the former is designed to be more durable because they are responsible for bearing heavy loads during takeoff and landing. In addition they must contend with friction produced while moving along pavement. As a result, airplane tires incorporate rigid materials like reinforced beads to strengthen their walls, and prevent blowouts. On the other hand, wheels are also responsible for supporting landing gear, increasing its load-bearing capacity.
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