Why is the Landing gear important?

As it is an essential part of cars to have a suspension system and tires, all types of aircraft must have a landing gear system. The landing gear consists of the following 

  1. Struts 
  2. Tires 
  3. Strong Suspension/ hydraulic system 
  4. Brake system 

The evolution of the landing gear has been along with the evolution and development of aircrafts. And it has been a challenge for engineers and designers to come up with low weight yet stiff and strong landing gear system. As we know the most important design element in an aircraft is low weight as it will affect fuel consumption. Its evolution made it retractable inside the airframe to minimize the turbulence which reduces drag under aircraft, and it must occupy the lowest stowage area inside the aircraft.

Nose landing gear simulation @nasa

The landing gear as a whole system does not only assists the landing and takeoff procedures but also facilitates wheel braking system and provides directional control of the aircraft on the ground using the steering system. As it dissipates the kinetic energy of landing impact to reduce the impact loads transmitted to the airframe which make the life cycle of the aircraft’s components longer.

Indian National Society for Aerospace and Related Mechanisms

We can see that the landing gear is divided into two parts. The first is the nose landing gear, and the second is the main landing gear. But they are relatively small to the aircraft size, this is the innovation in design. The engineers in the early stages of design suspect the requirements of the landing gear performance, safety, cost, time frame, technology and resources. Then they move onward to the detailed configurations of the number of wheels, tire sizes, pressures, type of shock absorbers, and landing gear layout.

Main landing gear schematic @infosys

Moreover, after the material selection and manufacturing process is chosen, simulation starts to apply the airworthiness safety regulation on the design.

It may take more than one article to explain on landing gear system of an aircraft which is one of the most essential, complex systems in an aircraft.

Try to think of an object of 80,000 kg (175,000 lbs.) will touchdown the ground without the assistance of a system that can make it land safely, it will be catastrophic.