Each model of aircraft is uniquely suited to its intended application. Regardless of what functions an aircraft has to serve, a commonality across all aircraft is the need for reliable landing gear. Aircraft landing gear come in two distinctions: fixed gear and retractable gear. As with any aircraft component, each type has its advantages and disadvantages. This blog will provide an explanation of basic aircraft landing gear types, their features, and functionalities.
Fixed gear landing equipment is advantageous due to its low cost, simplicity, and the fact that it is perpetually deployed. It’s always there, so the pilot will never need to worry about malfunctions while lowering the landing gear. However, this also creates drag which slows the plane and hinders its overall performance. Retractable landing gear is designed to hide the landing gear in the fuselage of the aircraft during flight. This increases aerodynamics allowing for better performance, higher airspeed, and decreased drag. The biggest disadvantage of this landing gear is its weight, cost, and lack of availability to the average consumer. Retractable landing gear is typically limited to high-performance or military aircraft.
For the average aviator, fixed gear is going to be the best choice. Within the family of fixed gear landing equipment, there are two main designs: conventional, or tailwheel, and tricycle. Conventional landing gear features two main wheels slightly ahead of the plane’s center of gravity and a third wheel in the rear for stability. As its name would suggest, it is the most commonly used landing gear. Think of tricycle landing gear as the opposite of conventional. This configuration has the main wheels in the rear and a stabilizing third wheel in the front. This allows pilots to apply more pressure to the brakes upon landing without the risk of the plane nosing over.
Aircraft with fixed gear landing on water or snow can affix pontoons or skis to their fixed landing gear, and some planes, called flying boats, are even built so the fuselage itself is buoyant enough to land on water. Regardless of your aircraft or landing gear type, Buy NSN has the products every aviator needs.
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