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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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