While there is much importance placed on the ability of an aircraft to fly safely and efficiently, that same amount of concern is also given to its ability to land and stop on surfaces with ease. With the speed and height that aircraft typically travel at, it is important that there are various systems and equipment pieces ready to provide enough stopping power to slow even the biggest passenger jet upon touchdown. With the use of the aircraft braking system and landing gear, pilots can safely land and stop on runways during various weather conditions, times of the day, and more.
As some large passenger aircraft can weigh more than 500,000 pounds and land at speeds nearing 180 mph, the braking system is charged with sufficiently stopping the vehicle with a limited amount of runway space. On most aircraft, braking power is achieved with the use of the hydraulic system
. Upon landing, an electrical signal is relayed from the flight deck to hydraulic actuators located near the landing gear. Upon receiving the signal, hydraulic fluids are pressed against a brake unit, causing it to push against the wheel for braking power. For optimal braking ability, the hydraulic fluids enact a force that is 3,000 pounds per square inch. While this standard method of braking has reliably served many aircraft for years, there have been some recent advances in technology that have opened up new avenues for the aircraft brake system.
In the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, for example, the hydraulic system was completely removed and replaced with electrical components that govern all system parts. With electric brake configurations, pressing down on the brake pedals will send an electrical signal to the brake unit, and then actuators will force a carbon brake disc
against the wheel to provide stopping power. As compared to more conventional hydraulic brakes, the electric brake configuration can reduce upwards of 250 pounds of total weight for certain aircraft. With electrical systems, the interchangeability and maintenance of braking systems is also easier as they can be much quicker to switch out. In order for the braking system to be actuated, pilots will press down on the top section of the rudder pedal
, and the depression will dictate the amount of braking power.
For all types of braking systems, protection from skidding is very important for the means of ensuring maximum braking power on slippery runways. Depending on the configuration of the landing gear and braking system, numerous components may be implemented in order to monitor wheel spinning speed. If speeds drop too low, pressure may be too great on the wheel and it may be skidding. In such instances, the anti-skid system
will release some pressure from the wheel so that it may gain traction again before pressure is reapplied.
While landing in calm and clear conditions is fairly straightforward for trained pilots, things can become more difficult with the addition of strong winds and other opposing forces. During instances of heavy wind, pilots need to manage the rudder pedals to maintain the aircraft’s orientation while also being ready to apply the brakes upon landing. In order to alleviate some complexity in control, the autobrake system
may be used to deploy braking at a preset rate as soon as a touchdown is sensed.
While not a part of landing gear or the braking system itself, spoilers and reverse thrust are also beneficial for the means of stopping an aircraft. Spoilers
are surface panels that raise up from wings during touchdown, and they serve to dump lift from the wings so that all weight is placed upon the wheels for stopping power. With reverse thrust, propulsive forces that are normally expelled from behind the aircraft are directed forwards so that speed is lowered. With the use of both systems alongside standard braking equipment, pilots can have an easier time landing their aircraft.
When you are ready to procure the aircraft brake system
and landing gear components that you require for your operations, ASAP Parts 360 is your sourcing solution. As an online distributor of aircraft parts, we offer customers competitive pricing and rapid lead-times on new, used, and obsolete items sourced from countless top global manufacturers. When it comes time to begin the purchasing process for items that you are most interested in, you may request a quote through the submission of an Instant RFQ form on our website and a dedicated account manager will contact you in 15 minutes or less to offer a personalized solution to your unique needs and requirements.