Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
landing gear[′land·iŋ ‚gir]
the parts of an airplane that make possible maneuvering on the ground or the deck of an aircraft carrier and that soften the landing shock. The principal components of an airplane’s landing gear are the shock struts, the wheels— pneumatic tires equipped with brakes to reduce the length of the landing run—and a system of drag struts, which connect the shock struts and wheels to the wings and the fuselage and which absorb the drag load and the impulsive drag load.
Before 1939, tail-wheel landing gear designs were the type most widely used. During World War II and in the postwar years, the tricycle landing gear came into common use. Such an undercarriage has two main struts aft of the aircraft’s center of gravity and a nose gear that carries 10–15 percent of the airplane’s weight and serves as a third support point. Although the landing gear in most airplanes is drawn up into the fuselage or the wings after takeoff, the landing gear in small planes is usually not retractable. It is most often of a simple design that allows replacement of the wheels with skis or pontoons for flights in regions with expansive water areas. Heavy airplanes sometimes have landing gear with 20–30 wheels fitted in bogies.
S. IA. MAKAROV
That portion of an aircraft consisting of the wheels, tires, brakes, energy absorption mechanism, and drag brace. The landing gear is also referred to as the aircraft undercarriage. Additional components attached to and functioning with the landing gear may include retracting mechanisms, steering devices, shimmy dampers, and door panels.
The landing gear supports the aircraft on the ground and provides a means of moving it. It also serves as the primary means of absorbing the large amounts of energy developed in the transition from flight to ground roll during a landing approach. The brakes, normally located in the main wheels, are used to retard the forward motion of the aircraft on the ground and may provide some control in the steering of the aircraft. In most modern aircraft the landing gear is designed to retract into the aircraft so that it is out of the airstream and drag is thus reduced.
Early aircraft and many small aircraft use a tail-wheel (or skid) in a conventional, or tail-dragger arrangement, in which the main landing gear is located ahead or forward of the center of gravity of the aircraft. The popular arrangement on modern aircraft is a tricycle landing gear, with the main gear located behind or aft of the center of gravity, and a nose gear located forward which carries about 20% of the static weight of the aircraft. Large aircraft such as the wide-body commercial aircraft and military aircraft like the C-5A employ multiple-wheeled bogies to support their huge weight and, in the case of the C-5A, to provide soft terrain landing and takeoff capability.
The most accepted method of absorbing the energy due to landing is an air-oil strut called an oleo. The basic components are an outer cylinder which contains the air-oil mixture and an inner piston that compresses the oil through an orifice. The flow of oil through the orifice is metered by a variable-diameter pin that passes through the orifice as the gear strokes. The flow of oil in effect varies the stiffness of the compression of the gear.