Aircraft Landing Gear Systems

The landing gear of the very first airplanes was not very complex. The Wright Flyer, for instance, took off from a rail and landed on skids. However, soon after the basic problems of flight were solved, attention was turned to providing better control and stability of the aircraft while it was operated on the ground.

Bicycle and motorcycle wheels were first used, which in turn, gave way to specially designed landing gear and wheels that absorbed the extreme loads imparted during takeoffs and landing. In addition, braking systems were installed to provide safer and more efficient control for slowing an airplane after landing. In later years, as aircraft designs improved to increase speed and efficiency, retraction systems were provided to allow the landing gear to be stowed during flight to reduce aerodynamic loads, or drag. With continued improvement in technology, landing gear systems on modern aircraft are highly reliable and capable of handling extreme conditions, enabling safe transitions between flight and ground mobility.

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