Do Aircraft Use Steering Wheels?

Posted on June 28, 2021 Henry Fayol Aerospace News

While many are familiar with the steering wheels of a typical automobile, some may not realize that many aircraft have similar controls. While a steering system similar to an automobile may not be efficient for standard flight, they are very useful when traversing around the tarmac of a runway. Controls such as the yoke holder and yoke connector are used for flight, while a separate control serves pilots for ground operations. As a control that is featured on numerous passenger planes for an ease of traversing surfaces, it can be useful to understand how they are used and why they are important.

Once an aircraft reaches the end of its flight and touches down on the runway of an airport, it must undergo various ground procedures before all operations are finalized. From landing, the aircraft will have to navigate from the runway, move towards the gate, and park itself. In order to maintain the safety of such large airliners while they traverse congested areas, it is important that pilots are well capable of maintaining efficient control over the vehicle.

In order for a typical commercial aircraft to correctly steer itself, it requires specific components and assemblies. On most larger aircraft, a small wheel known as a tiller is attached to a hydraulic cog system for the means of moving a rail back and forth across a cogwheel. The cogwheel is connected to the front wheel pillar, and its rotation will cause the turning of the wheel on a 150-degree axis. When the speed of the aircraft rises, the tiller will gradually lose control over the nose wheel while the pedal control will rise. At some point, the aircraft will reach a speed where pilots are unable to use the steering tiller due to large aerodynamic forces. Upon liftoff, the nose wheel of a large airliner will often retract, automatically aligning the cog in its neutral position.

While on the ground, it is important that pilots maintain the alignment of their aircraft with yellow centerline stripes that are situated across ramps and taxiways. While a smaller aircraft may rely on its rudder pedals for complete control over steering, larger airlines may have more difficulty undertaking turns without losing alignment. With the use of the tiller located within the cockpit, a pilot can then operate the aircraft on the ground in a similar fashion to a standard automobile.

The tiller is also not typically used during the pushback process, instead having the aircraft rely on pushback trucks for movement and direction. During such operations, the front wheel of the aircraft will be disconnected from the hydraulic system, permitting it to move freely for the means of being directed by the pushback. Once the aircraft has been removed from a gate and has initiated engine operations, the tiller switch will cut the link between the rudder pedals and front wheel, permitting the pilot to conduct preflight rudder checks without causing the vehicle to swerve.

Altogether, the tiller switch and its related components are beneficial for larger aircraft that require more steering control while operating on the ground. ASAP Parts Services is a premier distributor of aircraft parts, and we are your sourcing solution for top quality items such as boot nose wheel steering rod components, bracket nose wheel steering parts, disc yoke products, and much more. With over 2 billion new, used, and obsolete items readily available for purchase, we invite you to take your time in exploring our massive part and manufacturing catalogs to find everything that you need. Once you are ready to begin the purchasing process, give our team members a call or email or send us a completed RFQ form through our website and we will reach out to you within 15 minutes or less, 24/7x365.


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