Maintaining and improving safety is a constant challenge in aviation. With hundreds of thousands of people on flights around the world every day, it is more important than ever to keep aircraft flying safely from takeoff to landing. In this blog, we’ll review the aircraft safety and rescue equipment that are making flight safer than ever.

An aircraft’s wing go through tremendous amounts of stress during takeoff, cruising, and landing. Wing spars are the structural component of the wing that run at from root to tip at a right angle from the fuselage, and carry most of the flight loads and the weight of the wing while the aircraft is on the ground. They are also the base that other structural and forming members like the ribs are attached to. Spars regularly undergo inspection via visual and ultrasound technologies to ensure that they are not structurally compromised. The newest spars go even further, with resin-filled nanostructures that patch and seal cracks as soon as they form.

Wheels are obviously critical, and wheel bearings have to support the entire weight of the aircraft on a surface area of only a few square inches. During a landing, wheels have to accelerate from zero to over 2,000 RPM in less than a second, and the wheel bearings must be able to resist the enormous stresses this causes. The latest ball bearings are made from new ceramic formulas, and can better resist the temperature changes and physical stresses that an aircraft landing entails.

Weather alerts are vital for safety in flight, with weather data and services providing a comprehensive information stream for pilots. Lighting alerts are particularly critical, which is why there as nationwide systems for monitoring in-cloud lightning, as well as for predicting wind shear, down bursts, and hail. Airport surface detection equipment merges data from an inbound plane’s GPA unit and the transponder signals from ground vehicles and other aircraft. This ensures that pilots and air traffic controllers are fully aware of every vehicle and aircraft operating at the airport, thereby preventing collisions. Lastly are digital cockpit maps. Paper maps will most likely always be used, but digital maps can be updated with a simple download rather than having to acquire a new printing, allowing them to reflect new obstacles and infrastructure.

At ASAP Axis, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the safety equipment for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at 1-920-785-6790.

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When birds come into land, they do so gracefully rather than crashing and tumbling into the ground. How? The answer is all in the legs. You may have noticed a bird’s legs extend out from beneath their bodies as they approach the ground, which enables the birds to channel their center of gravity and stay upright. Aircraft landing gear works more or less on the same principle. Landing gear can come in many different forms such as floats, skis and wheels. The most common type for commercial aircraft is the tricycle setup which, as the name suggests, consists of three sets of wheeled landing gear located under the nose of the plane and two at the rear of the plane, just past the aircraft’s center of gravity. The back two sets of landing gear have 4 wheels in a setup that is called the bogie landing gear.

To reduce drag, modern aircraft have retractable landing gear that is stowed in the aircraft’s fuselage during flight and is deployed during take-off and landing. To operate the landing gear, the pilot has a lever inside the cockpit. Lights inside the cockpit indicate when the landing gear is down and locked in place or stored and locked in place. Also known as the undercarriage of the aircraft, the landing gear operates on a system of hydraulics that are sometimes assisted by electronics which can be activated with the push of the lever.

The basic gear up sequence begins with a selector valve that allows pressure from the hydraulic system to enter the components of the landing gear. The locks are pressurized and unlock the doors before the gears are retracted upwards. In the same instance, an adapter cylinder on each gear receives pressurized fluid to the gear-upside of the piston through a check valve, which drives the landing gear back into the well into the fuselage well. Only after the gears have fitted back into the well can the hydraulic sequence of the door close begin. The gears mechanically trigger the sequence valves to open and allow fluid to flow into the close side of the door actuator cylinders, which closes the door.

The key to correct landing gear operation is the timing. The hydraulics need to be punctuated by various valves that stall the door opening and closing sequence to allow the gears to settle in and out of the fuselage well. Backup systems are in place in case the hydraulic system lags in any way. An auxiliary backup unit is common on larger commercial aircraft. In some cases, a manual operated ‘free drop’ of the landing gear can take place. During MROs the landing gear mechanism is tested in detail. The aircraft is lifted off the ground and a procedure called the gear swing can be carried out. Mechanics closely monitor the movement and timings of the brakes to ensure there are no hesitations, cracks, or friction in the system.

Malfunctioning landing gears can render an aircraft not airworthy therefore leading to an expensive aircraft on ground status. The FAA stipulates a specific list of landing gear inspections that must take place during a 100-hour inspection. The list includes an inspection of the hydraulic lines, wheels, tires, retracting and locking mechanism, and shock absorbing device amongst others. Only when all of these checks have taken place and no visible signs of wear or tear have been detected can the aircraft be deemed airworthy.

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Landing an aircraft is a difficult and stressful procedure for parts, as they deal with the weight of the aircraft and the friction of landing. Therefore, landing gear struts that support the aircraft must be resilient and durable. There are four main types of landing gear struts, all of them designed to take the shock out of landing.

Rigid struts were the first type of landing gear struts invented. Their execution was simple at first: simply weld the wheels to the airframe. The problem with this approach, however, is that a hard landing transfers an immense amount of shock into the airframe, which can damage parts of the aircraft and is extremely uncomfortable for pilots and passengers. Inflatable tires helped soften the impact load, but other forms of wheel struts soon became more popular. They are still frequently used on helicopters, however.

Spring wheel struts are common on smaller aircraft like Cessnas. Using strong, flexible materials like steel, aluminum, and composites, they help absorb the impact of landing by flexing and bending, transferring the impact load into the airframe at an easier rate.

Bungie cords are often used on tailwheel and backcountry aircraft like the Piper Cub. Bungie cords are just as their name implies, a series of elastic cords wrapped around the airframe and flexible gear system, which allows the gear to transfer impact load to the aircraft at a rate that doesn’t hurt the fuselage. Some use a donut-type rubber cushion, while others use lots of individual strands of elastic material to dissipate the shock.

The last type is the only type that is a true shock absorber. Shock struts, or oleo or air/oil struts, use a combination of nitrogen (or sometimes compressed air) and hydraulic fluid to absorb and dissipate shock loads on landing. They are most often used on larger aircraft, like commercial airliners and business jets.

Shock struts use two telescoping cylinders, both closed at the external ends. The top cylinder is attached to the aircraft, and the bottom is attached to the adapter landing gear, called the piston. The piston can freely slide in and out of the upper cylinder. The bottom cylinder is filled with hydraulic fluid, and the top is filled with nitrogen, with a small hole connecting the two. As the aircraft lands, pressure from the wheels touching the ground, forces hydraulic fluid up through the orifice and into the nitrogen-filled top chamber. The kinetic energy is transferred into thermal energy, and the shock of landing is absorbed. 

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From the Boeing 787 to the Airbus A330, virtually all commercial aircraft are constructed with riveted joints instead of welded ones. When it comes to riveted joints, two components are connected via a fastener, known as a rivet. These support shear loads that are perpendicular to the axis of the shaft and are especially useful in situations involving limited access. They are available in a variety of styles, sizes, and materials, and can be installed using a pneumatic hammer. Rivets are cost-effective, easy to install, and provide versatile reliability. This can explain why airliners choose to use them in the manufacturing process of aircraft.

Most aircraft are constructed out of aluminum alloy and when exposed to heat, they degrade over time. Welded joints would suffer the same consequence which is why manufacturers prefer riveted joints. Riveted joints are stronger and more durable than welded ones. A rivet is able to connect two components from the inside allowing for a secure fit, whereas welded joints connect on the outside. An aircraft that is flying at 575 mph at an elevation of 35,000 feet undergoes significant stress on its joints. A rivet is capable of enduring this speed and altitude, contributing to the overall safety of the vessel.

Maintenance is also easier with riveted joints. A quick visual inspection is enough to ensure that the two connected components are fastened securely. A machine or device is required to test a welded joint which could take some time; there’s no effective or simplistic way to perform an inspection on a welded joint. A riveting machine simplify the production and maintenance processes of an aircraft. Repairability isn’t as convoluted as well; the rivet gets drilled out, replaced, then riveted together again. If you need the lowest mass for a given strength, rivets are the best choice in this application as well. Although there are countless riveted joints, welded ones do exist on planes.

Aircraft rivets are cost friendly and simplistic in design, especially in cases where large numbers are needed. They are nearly impossible to open which is beneficial to the overall safety of the vessel; you don’t have to worry about them shaking loose. Flush rivets are aerodynamic since they can be constructed flush against the fuselage—screws and bolts naturally protrude. They are also great for complex parts of the aircraft since you can apply them entirely from one side. Rivets are small in size, but they account for a large part of aircraft manufacturing.

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Aviators all over the world rely on Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to safely navigate and maneuver their aircraft. GPS allow pilots to obtain precise three-dimensional location data during all stages of flight using triangulation; GPS can also track speed, relative distance, and time. With its continuous, accurate, and comprehensive mapping capabilities, it offers seamless satellite navigation that satisfies many requirements for pilots.

A typical GPS system is composed of three integral systems: the ground control segment, the user segment, and the space (satellite) segment. The control segment is comprised of a series of ground stations that are used to interpret and relay satellite signals to various receivers. These ground stations have a master control station, twelve ground antennas, and sixteen monitoring posts. The user segment of the GPS system involves different receivers from various industries such as national security, agriculture, space, surveying, and mapping. A pilot is typically considered the user component in aviation GPS; however, autopilot systems can also utilize data provided by GPS. The last component is space, which consists of 31 satellites. A minimum of 24 satellites are in operation at any given moment, ensuring that at least four satellites are in view from any point on Earth. This complete coverage makes GPS technology the most reliable navigation system in modern aeronautics.

Satellites that communicate with GPS systems orbit approximately 12,000 miles above the Earth. They are solar powered and transmit radio signals to receivers that are stationed on the ground. The GPS system receives the signals and uses triangulation— data from at least three satellites— to calculate its precise location two dimensionally. With the needed satellites in view, a three-dimensional location can be obtained.

Advancements in GPS technology have led to the discovery of new and more efficient air routes, leading to savings in time and costs. Aircraft flying over data-sparse areas, such as oceans, have been able to safely navigate to their intended destinations. Airports in remote locations are receiving upgraded satellite augmentations and ground-based services to allow for the possibility of GPS technology. It is also possible for pilots to rely on GPS in emergency situations. Some versions of a GPS database will allow them to search for the closest airport, calculate travel time, account for the amount of fuel onboard, the time of sunset/sunrise, and many more vital features.

At ASAP Axis, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the GPS parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at +1-920-785-6790.

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In completing pilot training, it is important that a pilot has a comprehensive understanding of various aspects of flight. A pilot must be well versed on the hundreds of components featured on an aircraft, how they might differ in the many types of aircraft, and the various stressors an aircraft can encounter in its flight cycle— including systems malfunction and adverse weather conditions. In addition, the pilot must be able to simultaneously monitor RPM, altitude factors, navigation, and more. So how can they realistically prepare for complex conditions that are so difficult to replicate in real-time?  Nowadays, a virtual reality (VR) flight simulator is often used to prepare pilots for circumstances they might encounter.

A typical flight simulator is a cockpit replica that is modeled after a specific aircraft and its flying performance. The replicated control room is mounted on a hydraulically or electronically operated platform, allowing the simulator to replicate movements of the cockpit based on acceleration and G-force that a pilot might encounter on a real flight. The acoustics are also designed to simulate what a pilot might hear during flight; the sound design factors in acoustic elements associated with pressurization cycles, weather, and the sound of aircraft mechanisms. Most flight simulators will feature replicated manufacture grade hardware or are equipped with real parts.

Flight simulators differ in what they can offer for malfunction systems, avionics, and cockpit variation. Most will have the capacity to replicate airspeed controls, landing nuances, RPM controls, altitude level monitors, sensor malfunctions, adverse weather conditions, navigation systems, and more. There are 3 types of flight simulator used today: Aviation Training Device (ATD), Flight Training Device (FTD), and Full Flight Simulators (FFS).

An ATD is a simulation used for general aviation. General aviation pilots are tested every 12 months to maintain their license. This simulator is helpful in providing a space for pilots to practice their basic skills and is often used in preparation to earn their private pilot certificate.

An FTD is more advanced than an ATD. It features levels that test a pilot based on knowledge of aerodynamics, programming and avionics, and other requirements.

An FFS is used frequently to help prepare pilots for civil aviation. It involves four specified levels that fully replicate sound, movement, and visual effects the pilot would encounter on a standard commercial flight. These simulators have a full interactive world view that is visible to the pilot through the cockpit windshield.

Altogether, a VR flight simulator can create a remarkably realistic environment, that can help a pilot prepare for flight in differentiating aircraft. This aids in preparing pilots for situations that are difficult to replicate in real time, such as extreme weather, engine failure, or avionics malfunction. As each type of aircraft has specific features, and integrated systems, this preparation is key in ensuring pilot preparedness in flight.

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In nautical navigation, lighthouses are used to inform sailors of upcoming ports or to warn them of dangerous rocky coastlines, reefs, or sandy shoals that may be difficult to see in high tide. The iconic rotating flashlight on a high tower warns maritime sailors or ship captains of the environmental dangers, allowing them to avoid collision and possible damages. The same principles apply for aviation navigation. Tall buildings and large telecommunication towers pose as serious safety hazards to pilots the same way a rocky cliff would to a sailor. Therefore, there is a distinct need for some sort of warning system for pilots and navigators of the skies. This is where aircraft warning lights come into play. Essentially, the warning lights are put in place in order to notify the pilots that there is an object that could be in their way.

Aircraft warning lights are affixed to the tops of tall buildings and telecommunication towers. The higher the structure, brighter the lights have to be in order to meet regulations. This is completed by increasing the number of lights used as well as the intensity of each light. These regulations are monitored and measured by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). These two organizations work together to make sure that structures that could be potential hazards to aircraft display the proper warning lights, according to both federal and international regulations.

The number of lights on the sides of the building is dependent on the area that the base of the building covers. The higher the building the more warning lights there needs to be and higher intensity they need to be. Buildings over 150 meters tall need to be affixed with high intensity lights that are visible during both day and night. Buildings over 45 meters tall are required to have a white LED strobe light, and buildings under 45 meters tall are required to have a fixed red light that only needs to be visible at night.

Imagine if on a cloudy night with low visibility, a Boeing 747 needs to do an emergency landing in a field, unaware that there are a multitude of telecommunication towers nearby; consequently, the plane crashes into the towers, causing an electrical fire amongst all else. Although the reality of this situation is extremely unlikely, there needs to be a failsafe for if and when a situation like this occurs.

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a helicopter? Fixed-Wing Vertical Take-Off and Landing Aircrafts (Fixed-Wing VTOLs) are the fusion created to fill the void that previous aircrafts created. There are two distinct types of aircrafts, each with their own of advantages and disadvantages. Fixed-wing aircrafts are exactly as they sound; they have wings that are locked into place and cannot move. Because of their structure, they resemble the shape of a bird during flight. Typical airplanes like the Airbus A300 Beluga and the Boeing 777 are fixed wing aircrafts, they require landing strips in order to take off/land and are typically used for commercial air travel. On the other hand, rotorcraft relies on rotary wings positioned on a mast in order to achieve take off. Helicopters and drones are examples of the vertical take-off capability of rotorcraft. Fixed wings have larger capacities and are able to achieve higher speeds, while rotorcrafts are able to stay hovering in the air, making them more practical for emergency scenarios or for dramatic action movie scenes.

Aside from having airborne capabilities, it seems as though there are no similarities between the two. What one lacks, the other makes up for. They are a Yin-Yang duo that seem to me immiscible. This has created a market for a vessel that can carry out the functionalities of both a fixed-wing and a rotorcraft. The solution for this is the fixed-wing vertical take-off and landing aircraft (fixed-wing VTOL).

The fixed-wing VTOL is a hybrid between a fixed-wing and a rotorcraft. It has rotary wings that allow it to hover but has the capability to switch to horizontal flight mid-air in fixed-wing fashion. The hover functionality allows it to be used for emergency rescues from disasters like earthquake or tsunami. In most applications, fixed-wing VTOL technology is used in military applications. As unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), fixed-Wing VTOLs can be controlled remotely the same way drones can. Because of this Fixed-Wing VTOL UAVs have characteristics that make them suitable for inspection, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), making them a major defense investment.

Other foreseeable applications for this technology include law enforcement, travel, and agriculture. In 2016 the revenue for this market was reported to be $1.98 billion. Manufacturers of fixed-wing VTOL UAVs are working towards increasing the durability of these vessels as well as creating electric powered variants in order to appeal to a civilian market.

Fixed-Wing VTOLs are an exciting new innovation to the field of aerospace. They are perfect examples of our capabilities of building upon existing technologies in order to create advancements that will propel us into the future.

At ASAP AXIS, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can fulfill all your fixed-wing aircraft parts and assembly needs, new or obsolete. As a premier supplier of parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries, we’re always ready and available to help you find all the parts you need 24/7x365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at, or call us at +1-920-785-6790. 

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