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Getting The Most Out of Your Aircraft’s Tires and Brakes

August 2020

1Q2A0009The tires and brakes on a business aircraft wear the most while taxiing. This is when the aircraft is at its heaviest and all of it rests on its legs. Proper operation and preventative maintenance are simple and have a marginal cost, but pay huge dividends to extending the useful life of both tires and brakes.

Proper Tire Inflation

The most important preventative maintenance action for tires is to regularly inspect them for proper inflation. The cost associated with tire maintenance will be minimal if proper tire inflation is maintained.

Checking tire pressure can be made simple by implementing a third-party wireless tire pressure sensor system. This saves time and the check can even be done by the pilots during walk around. These sensors are retrofitted to a wide variety of business and corporate aircraft.

Taxiing and landing your aircraft with under-inflated tires will result in uneven wear, adding stress and heat on the tire. These stresses shorten a tire’s useful life and can lead to tire incidents. Over-inflated tires can cause uneven tread wear and are more prone to cutting and increased stress on aircraft wheels.

Taxi Slow and Take Wide Turns

Airports are continuing to grow and becoming busier, but don’t get in a hurry while taxiing. Aircraft are not designed to taxi quickly. At higher taxi speeds, the internal heat of the tires begins to rise quickly and can be a concern prior to takeoff. To reduce the likelihood of a tire dropping off the edge of a paved surface, potentially causing sidewall damage, approach and navigate corners slowly and with wide turns.

Don't Use Braking to Steer

One of the best ways to extend the life of your aircraft brakes is to not use them for directional or speed control during taxi. Aircraft brakes are designed to be used to slow down after a landing. But continual light use during taxiing wears away the surface of the brake lining and reduces brake effectiveness over time.

Land on Long Runways and Roll Out

Whenever possible after landing on a sufficiently long runway, allow the aircraft to slow before applying the brakes.

Don’t Ignore Leaks

If you notice hydraulic fluid pooling around the landing gear, inspect the brake lines right away. Leaking fluid left unattended will damage other components of the brake assembly and will cost you more to repair later.