AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 0056B ACCREDITED

Aircraft Landing Gear: Their Types and Uses

Aircraft landing gear, often dubbed wheeled undercarriage, consists of brakes, wheels, tires, hydraulics, and energy-absorbing components. Different aircraft landing gears are designed to withstand an airplane's load during landing and surface operations, and are attached to the plane's primary structural configuration.

When planning and conceptualizing a new aircraft design, the design of landing gear is considered foremost because it necessitates a significant amount of time in product development. The ideal landing gear is supposed to have minimum volume, minimum weight, short production time, and reduced lifecycle costs, among other qualities. As a result, using advanced technologies, analysis methods, high-quality materials, production, and processes are some of the ways these challenges can be overcome.

What Are the Different Types of Landing Gears and Their Applications?

Landing gear is available in several configurations, involving assembly with different permutations and combinations. They are predominantly dependent on their primary constructional use and the overall aircraft design, but with the dynamically evolving nature of the aviation industry, typical landing gear designs have undergone massive changes. Some standard landing gears and their respective applications are described below:

  • Tricycle Landing Gear

Tricycle types of landing gear comprise several assemblies and parts, such as gear alignment units, support units, oil/air shock struts, retraction units, steering systems, safety devices, and wheel/brake assemblies. The main gear is connected to the airplane's fuselage structure, and the location or number of the wheels it may contain may differ across the different aircraft specifications. With that said, below are the typical applications of tricycle landing gear:

  1. They enable faster landing speeds due to the forceful application of the brakes.
  2. They aid in preventing aircraft ground looping by enabling aerodynamic forces to continuously act on the plane's center of gravity, which is often situated ahead of the landing gear.
  3. They enhance aircraft maneuvering by providing better visibility from the flight deck.
  • Tandem Landing Gear

Tandem landing gear derives its name from the structural arrangement of the tail gear and main gear, and how they are arranged longitudinally along the central axis of the fuselage. Some examples of airplanes that use tandem landing gear are the B-47, B-52, and the U2 spy plane. The applications of these landing gear types are:

  1. They enhance the airplane's maneuverability due to their uniquely specialized structural design.
  2. The placement of this gear type under the fuselage enhances the flexibility of the airplane's wings.
  • Pontoons

An amphibious landing system, pontoons are hollow structures attached to an airplane’s fuselage that enables the plane to land and take off on water. While this type of landing gear may or not feature retractable gears, they are typically always constructed with shock-absorbing mechanisms, emergency gear systems, controls, and warning devices, much like those included in other landing gear systems. Pontoon designs are of two types: single float which allows for better navigation in rough waters, and twin floats which use two pontoons in place of a single one. Some of the applications for pontoons on aircraft are:

  1. They enhance versatility due to effectively being able to land on water and paved land (if such gear is present), albeit with increased complexity and weight.
  2. Twin pontoons make it easier for the aircraft to move on smooth water due to their lack of stabilizing floats.
  • Tail-wheel Type Landing Gear

Tail-wheel types of landing gear are the most conventional, and they effectively enable an airplane to take off on a runway smoothly. Well-suited for operations in rugged terrain, this landing gear features two large wheels located at the head of the fuselage, and a small wheel at the rear necessary to support the tail. Earlier aircraft designs used a skid instead of a tail-wheel to aid the slow-down of an aircraft at the time of landing while providing directional stability. With that said, here are the common applications of tail-wheel type landing gear systems:

  1. They enable directional control until the aircraft rudder finds support, providing improved speed for the aircraft.
  2. They reduce the overall drag experienced by the aircraft by being situated ahead of the plane's center of gravity.

In Conclusion

If you are looking for the industry's best aircraft landing gear for your needs, then NSN Catalogue is here to help! Our exhaustive inventory of over 2 billion new, obsolete, and hard-to-find parts implies that you need not look anywhere else to get the part(s) you are looking for, complete with the assurance of rigorous quality-assurance testing, cross referencing, and visual inspections. So get a quote from us today, and we will be more than happy to assist you.


December 13, 2022
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