What is Landing Gear and how does it Work?

 An aircraft’s landing gear is a complex system of structural members, hydraulics, energy absorption components, wheels, and tires that either extend or retract upon landing or takeoff. Of all its components, it is the structural members that support the weight of the aircraft and withstand the heavy landing loads. Landing gear is available in varying designs, each of which has different weight, volume, and performance requirements. With this in mind, this blog will provide a brief overview of landing gear.

The purpose of landing gear is to provide a suspension system for aircraft during taxiing, take-off, and landing procedures. It is designed to absorb and dissipate the kinetic energy of landing impact, reducing the overall impact loads exerted on the airframe. Furthermore, landing gear also makes use of a wheel braking system, providing directional control while on the ground. This portion is retractable to reduce aerodynamic drag on aircraft during flight.

With aerodynamics in mind, the landing gear should occupy very little space to meet stowage space requirements and should be lightweight to increase the performance of the aircraft. As landing gear is required to sustain the weight of an aircraft, their design takes strength, stability, stiffness, ground clearance, control, and damping into account. Usually outlined by the FAA’s airworthiness regulations, such requirements are set in place for safety.

Airworthiness regulations influence a multitude of design factors such as sink rate, allowable load factors, and ground maneuvering conditions. Additionally, there are other design specifications included in the construction of landing gear’s subsystems such as its steering, actuation, brake system, tires, and up-locks. With different aircraft designs, landing gear comes in various types, some of which include skid, ski, and float type variations.

Skid type landing gears are typically used in helicopters, balloon gondolas, and tail dragger aircraft. Consisting of a set of beams to support aircraft on the ground, skid landing gear is designed to operate on water through the use of the aircraft’s airframe. Meanwhile, ski type landing gear is employed where aircraft are taking off over snow and ice. It is equipped with four retractable wheel assemblies, with two forward and two aft of the aircraft’s center of gravity. Float type landing gear, on the other hand, are found on floatplanes and consist of pontoons mounted underneath their fuselage.

Beyond such types, landing gear can be classified on the basis of how it retracts. For instance, fixed type landing gear hangs just below the aircraft during flight. In contrast, retractable landing gear is stowed inside the aircraft during flight. In most cases, retractable landing gear is utilized as it maximizes aircraft space. Furthermore, landing gear wheel arrangements also vary with tail wheel type, tandem type, and tricycle type serving as the most common configurations.

Landing gear is not an ever-lasting system and improper maintenance can render it useless after some time. Worn out components or improper rigging can significantly reduce its service life, forcing maintenance technicians to source replacement parts. If you find yourself in need of landing gear or other similar components, rely on Internet for Aviation. Internet for Aviation is a premier distributor of bearing landing gear, bearing actuator landing gear, aircraft bearings, and more. With over 2 billion ready-to-purchase products in our inventory, finding everything you need is quick and easy. Initiate the procurement process with a competitive quote which you can access via our Instant RFQ service. When filling out an RFQ form, please include as many details as you can about the items you wish to purchase. Get started and see how Internet for Aviation can serve as your strategic sourcing partner today!           


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