Commercial aircraft are massive and powerful vehicles, capable of traveling at hundreds of miles per hour in the atmosphere despite weighing as much as 250 tons. When landing on a runway to finish a flight operation, the average commercial aircraft will touch down at a speed of around 170 miles per hour, and it is up to the tires, brakes, and other flight systems to rapidly shed that speed to come to a safe stop. With the weight and speed of an aircraft landing, one may wonder how such an operation is possible without having tires burst everytime they establish contact. The reason behind this ability is that aircraft tires are specifically engineered and designed to be immensely rigorous, relying on a number of assembly parts to remain healthy across flight operations.
One of the strongest defenses that aircraft tires have is their rubber, and the standard tire is made from 45 inches of proprietary synthetic rubber compounds that are reinforced with aluminum steel and fabrics made from nylon and aramid. Rather than using air to inflate the tire, nitrogen is added until a 200 pounds per square inch (psi) value is attained. This psi is over six times the pressure of standard automobile tires, meaning that they can withstand upwards of 900 psi pressure before having any issues. This intensive design ensures that the aircraft can place all of its weight onto the tire upon landing for optimal stopping power. When observing a landing aircraft, one may notice that the tires will emit smoke while the vehicle slows down, and this is because the tires are dragging on the runway until the velocity of the aircraft and tires match up. To ensure that the tire does not break down during this skid, groove patterns are used in lieu of typical block patterns.
As most aircraft tires have a load capacity of around 38 tons, many commercial aircraft will be fitted with enough tires to accommodate their overall takeoff weight. This is why you will see some models with as much as 20 wheels under the aircraft fuselage. One of the largest aircraft in history was the Antonov An-225 Mriya, a Russian aircraft that required 32 wheels as a result of 640 ton weight. As most commercial models fall below this level of weight, the average amount of tires for most will be around six.
Despite their advanced construction to maintain integrity between landings, aircraft tires will still need to be inspected on a regular basis to catch any tears, deformities, or other issues that could spell a problem later down the line. Maintaining aircraft tires is extremely crucial for safety, and this includes everything from topping off pressure to replacing aging components. To extend the service life of any tire, one should enact proper storage, cleaning, and inspections. Even cleaning off foreign substances can extend the life of tire materials as certain substances can cause corrosion or other issues if left untreated for long periods of time.
At Veritable Aviation, we can help you secure all the various parts that you need to maintain your aircraft. For easy procurement of tire components, you can browse our available items that fall under FSC 2620 Tires and Tubes Pneumatic Aircraft on our database. Once you find items of interest, fill out and submit an RFQ form as provided on our website, and a team member will reach out with a customized solution for your comparisons in just 15 minutes or less. If you have any questions or concerns regarding our services, give us a call or email and directly connect with one of our industry experts who would be more than happy to assist you however they can!
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