How Aircraft Tires Are Constructed and Maintained

While aircraft are primarily air based vehicles that rely on wings and other aerodynamic structures for flight, wheels still play a crucial role in operations and should never be overlooked. From taking on the weight of the aircraft to allowing for it to land properly and be transported across a runway, aircraft tires serve many important uses that are often taken for granted. Due to their high importance in providing more safety and functionality to an aircraft, understanding the basics of their construction and maintenance can be useful for ensuring that they have long service lives and perform well under extreme conditions.

With models of aircraft often varying in application, weight, speed, environment, and more, many considerations have to be taken into account when designing aircraft tires. Depending on the jurisdiction that the aircraft may be operating under, various requirements and foreign regulations must also be followed. As such, engineers must find a design which can surpass tire service requirements and pass a series of tests that ensure the aircraft wheels can withstand landings, takeoffs, and ground based operations such as taxiing with ease. Once the tire has been thoroughly tested and proven for airworthiness, it can then be manufactured for use.

Depending on various factors of the aircraft and its application, either bias-ply or radial tire construction may be used, each providing their own unique capabilities and advantages. The bias-ply tire serves as the most popular form of tire for aircraft wheels due to the fact that they exhibit high durability and retreadability. For its tread, rubber is mixed together with different additives in order to achieve a tire that is tough, durable, and resistant to wear. Depending on the planned use of the aircraft, the tread pattern may come in various forms. To protect the outer casing ply, a sidewall is constructed from rubber and implemented from the tread edge to the bead area. To better accommodate the high speeds that an aircraft may travel at, layers of tread reinforcing ply may be fitted to the tread area. To increase the adhesive properties of the tread reinforcing ply, buff line cushions are used. With the addition of other tire components such as wire beads, flippers, ply turnups, and chafers, the bias-ply tire is complete.

When an aircraft requires more resistance for landings and rolling, the radial tire is often chosen. As compared to the bias-ply tire, radial aircraft tires are manufactured with less parts, and thus they tend to be less in weight. With belt plies that are manufactured with composites, the trend area of the aircraft wheels is stiffened, allowing for better tire strength for more landing procedures. Enveloped within an overlay layer of reinforced rubber, such tires can also withstand high speeds. Despite their differences, radial tires do share some similar components to bias-ply construction such as casing plies, albeit with alternate designs.

Whether an aircraft has bias-ply or radial tire construction, regular maintenance and inspection schedules should be adhered to in order to maintain their service lives as much as possible. When a tire has cracks or foreign debris that may cause a hole, one should never inspect before deflating the tires due to potential dangers. With a marking tool, the inspector can denote areas of concern so that they will not be lost when air is released from the tire. For treads, wear should never surpass the base of any groove or what is dictated by the manufacturer, as such damage should warrant replacement. With tread cuts, aircraft maintenance manuals can be followed for inspecting damages, though typical tread wear patterns may be used as well.

Altogether, maintaining aircraft wheels and tires is critical for the safe operation and efficiency of aircraft. If you need replacement parts or aircraft tire components that are new, used, or obsolete, look no further than ASAP Aviation Supplies. As a leading online parts distributor for the aviation industry, we can help customers procure everything they need from top global manufacturers with competitive pricing and rapid lead-times. Get started today with a personalized quote on the parts that you are interested in when you fill out and submit an Instant RFQ form through our website.


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September 24, 2019

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