Modern aircraft have many vital components that allow them to perform amazing feats. And without the aircraft landing gear, nothing would be possible. The landing gear is the structure that supports the entire aircraft when on the ground. This means it requires very strong materials. Which is surprising, considering the fact that the first airplane the Wright Brothers made didn’t have wheels, but skids, and yet they took off and landed rather easily and safely. We’ve come a long way from skids though— with pontoons to land in water and skis to land snow or icy weather.
The concept of landing gears really gained traction in the 1950s when the U.S Air Force experimented with landing gears that resembled tank tracks. These experiments were vital to the advancement of aviation technology and has paved the way for further innovations.
Typically, two types of landing gear arrangements are used. The first is the conventional undercarriage. The conventional undercarriage has two front wheels and one smaller tail wheel or skid style gear. These are usually used on older prop-powered airplanes and can be identified by the back-skid wheel. The second arrangement is the tricycle undercarriage, which is when the smaller wheel is in the front of the aircraft. This is what most modern aircraft use; it’s a very efficient and effective land gear.
There are many variations of these arrangements as landing gear technology continues to improve. They can be retractable or fixed with the retractable landing gear being commonly used than the fixed landing gear as a result of aerodynamics. There’s less drag in flight with the wheels system hidden in the undercarriage. These are especially used in modern military aircraft that require the most versatility, speed, and maneuverability.
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