Rahul Choudhary
by on June 1, 2020

We'll be discussing why most airplane tires only have a straight line profile. The strength and design of the outside layer of the tire or what we call the thread layer is largely depended on what surface it will come into contact with. Sometimes you need aluminum for a smooth landing (picture of a float plane) When we look at the different operation aircraft tires has to withstand you can see that we cannot use one type of tire, thread design and pressures. Look at the Cessna caravan in the African bush, this aircraft sometimes has what we call balloon tires with lower tire pressure. They increase the tire size and with the decrease tire pressure the surface area increase as well preventing sharp rocks for example to puncture them. Now there were some aircraft that had horizontal tire profiles and this was also to assist in rough terrain. Because these aircraft approach and land at lower speeds the reason for straight parallel profiles was not needed.


We will discuss the reason shortly! An example of such a plane is the Sea Fury used in the Korean war. The same principle in surface area and lower tire pressures is used in driving 4x4 on sandy beaches. If you look closely the drivers deflate their tires before going onto the sand to increase surface area and prevent them from sinking into the sand. They also use this method when driving up mountains to prevent punctures. But if you can remember in my previous video on airplane tires, I talked about the very high PSI the large airplane tires are inflated to. The 747 tires can be inflated up to 210psi. This is because we are not planning to land on a beach anytime soon! No, I am kidding, we are able to have these high tire pressure because our tires are reinforced enabling us to increase the tire pressure which intern increase the strength of the tire.


Commercial aircraft are more interested in strength than maneuverability. If you look at the top part of the thread you will see that we use straight patterns. This is to clear water from the tire when landing on wet runways. This is because unlike cars we do not need the “grip” to drive around corners constantly. What we want is strength and prevention of hydroplaning. Hydroplaning? This is essentially when your aircraft tire slips on top of the water. Water builds up under the tire and essentially lifts the tire off the ground causing you to lose contact with the runway surface and your tire just slides over water. Straight tire profiles like these helps eliminate this effect of water build up.


An interesting tire profile or should I say design is with some nosewheel tires on private jets or aircraft with the engines mounted on the rear fuselage. As in the previous video I showed you that the 747 tires are all the same from the main gear to the nose wheel tires. These jet tires have what we call chines on the shoulder of the tire. They are essentially rubber extension and deflects the water when landing on contaminated runways away from the rear engines intakes to help prevent flame out. Thank you very much for your time! I

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