Many aviation technicians are not aware of critical design factors of aircraft tyre in use today. I will discuss step by step, but first, I would like to ask the importance of tyre in aircraft.
Why are tyres important in Aircraft?
When it comes to safety, tyres are one of the most important components of aircraft. They help to absorb the shock of landing and provide cushioning. It also provides the necessary traction for braking and stopping of an aircraft.
An aircraft tyre is designed to withstand extremely heavy loads while landing, take off, taxing and parking. The number of wheels required for aircraft increases with the weight of the aircraft, as the weight of the aeroplane needs to be distributed more evenly.
A Boeing 737NG & 737MAX uses 6 wheels, Boeing 787 uses 10 wheels, Boeing 777 uses 14 wheels and Airbus A380 uses 22 wheels. Aircraft tyres work under extreme conditions, carrying up to 340 tons and accelerating at over 250 km/hour at takeoff, in addition to enduring varied environmental stress when in flight and taxiing.
Design and Construction of Aircraft tyre
Carcass plies are used to form the tire. They are sometimes called casing plies. An aircraft tyre is constructed for the purpose it serves.
- They support the weight of an aircraft while it is on the ground.
- It also provides the necessary traction for braking and stopping of an aeroplane.
- Tyre also helps to absorb the shock of landing and provide cushioning the roughness of takeoff, roll-out, and taxi operations.
Unlike an automobile or truck tyre, it does not have to carry a load for a long period of continuous operation. However, an aircraft tyre absorbs the high impact loads of landing and also it’s operating at high speeds for a short time when required.
Let’s go through some technical aspects of the tyre.
Retreading – Retreading is methods of restoring a worn tyre by renewing the tread area or by renewing the tread area plus one or both sidewalls. Repairs are included in the tyre retreading process.
Load Rating – Load rating is the maximum permissible load at a specified inflation pressure.
Ply Rating – Ply Rating is used to identify the maximum recommended load rating and inflation pressure for a specified tyre. It is an index of tyre strength.
Speed Rating – The speed rating is the maximum takeoff speed to which the tyre has been tested.
Skid Depth – Skid depth is the distance between the tread surface and the deepest groove as measured in the mould.
Aircraft tyres must have an approved speed and load rating and have sufficient clearance when retracted through landing gear to allow for tyre growth. Tyre growth is the increase in the size of the tyre due to centrifugal forces at high speed.
Aircraft tyres may be Tube-type or Tubeless
Tubeless tyres are more advantageous over tube-type. There is no longer the use of tube-type tyre in recent aviation. Nowadays all airliners are using tubeless tyres. Tubeless that are meant to be used without a tube has the word TUBELESS on the sidewall of the tyre.
Aircraft tyres may be Radial or Bias
Almost all airliners are using Radial tyre. Bias is an older design, and it’s mainly used for road vehicles. Radial tyres have the word RADIAL on the sidewall. Radial tires are more expensive than bias-ply tyres. Radial tires are in demand because of their lower life cycle cost and long term value. Further Read: Aircraft Radial vs Bias Tyre
Are aviation tyres are conductive?
Yes, Today’s tyres are conductive. Aircraft tyres are manufactured with tread rubber with conducting compounds to permit earthing of static charges.
In early days when tyres were not sufficiently conductive, aircraft used to have a conductive strip hanging down from the axle of the landing gear. Upon landing, this strip would be the first part of the aircraft to touch the earth. This discharges any static electricity accumulated on the outer surfaces of the aircraft. Now you don’t see them any more.
What is the purpose of Chines in aviation tyre
Chines are also called deflectors. Chine tyre used on the nose wheel of aircraft, specially fuselage-mounted jet engines. It diverts runway water away from the engine inlets.
Chines are circumferential protrusions that are moulded into the sidewall of nose tyres that deflect water sideways to help reduce excess water ingestion into the engines. Tyres may have chines on one or both sides, depending on the number of nose tyres on the aircraft.
Aircraft Tyre Standards
Each tyre manufacturer produces their own designs of the tyre with different tread patterns, wear patterns, wear limits etc, and in some cases, different names for the same part of the tyre. But all tyres must meet the approved standards before being accepted by the FAA or CAA.
All commercial aircraft tyres approved under FAA Requirement Technical Standard Order (TSO) C62. A TSO is a minimum performance standard for specified materials, parts, and appliances used on civil aircraft.