Aviation Tire Limitations

Posted by on 21 March 2012

An interesting article appears over at http://boeing.com/commercial/aeromagazine/articles/qtr_02_09/article_04_1.html.  Those of us who fly piston GA aircraft probably don’t think about it much, but turbine pilots may get into flight regimes that brush up against tire speed limits.  I never really considered that a late rotation or a quartering crosswind might cause a blowout; we tend to think in airspeed, but tires are sensitive to groundspeed.  The difference between 5kt headwind and 5kt tailwind is meaningless on the ASI, but it’s 10kt to the tires.  Energy is a function of the square of speed.  Moving from 100KTGS to 110 KTGS is a 21% increase in energy; the tires have to carry the increase in rotational energy, plus the increase in any side loads, and the heat from the longer run (greater frictional period).  The greater heat compounds the problem: heat softens rubber, and at exactly the time it’s being subjected to its greatest stress.

In short: a neat article on something most of us rarely consider, but probably ought to–especially those working at higher speeds.

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