Importance of Mechanical Stress Testing Aircraft Wheels and Brakes

Takeoff and landing put significant thermal and mechanical stress on the plane’s landing gear, which means aircraft wheels and brakes must perform their essential functions under highly rigorous conditions. This is especially true of sport aircraft, which operate under competitive conditions and often don’t take off from or land on groomed, paved runways. Every component […]
April 20, 2023 |

Takeoff and landing put significant thermal and mechanical stress on the plane’s landing gear, which means aircraft wheels and brakes must perform their essential functions under highly rigorous conditions. This is especially true of sport aircraft, which operate under competitive conditions and often don’t take off from or land on groomed, paved runways.

Every component of the landing gear, including the wheel, must be tested and inspected to ensure that the assembly can perform as expected, every time. Aircraft wheels are prone to failure if they develop cracks, dents, or other defects, so it’s vital to examine the wheel carefully for any sign of damage or inconsistency.

Testing Aircraft Wheels

Many aircraft wheels must comply with regulatory requirements or undergo testing in a formal setting. Wheels are also subjected to periodic inspections before a flight to ensure structural integrity.

Passing a Wheel Stress Test

There are two categories of stress testing for aircraft wheels: nondestructive testing and eddy current inspection.

Nondestructive testing entails examining the wheel for issues without destroying it. The plane wheel is not subjected to any crush, rust, or impact tests. Instead, the wheel is inspected for any signs of damage, such as cracks, nicks, grooves, impact, corrosion, and other wear and tear. The wheel bearing will also be inspected for loose bolts, markets, heat damage, or other issues.

Eddy current inspection uses a forced air current to test the seat of the wheel bead. The goal is to detect any issues, flaws, or weaknesses that may impact the plane wheel’s performance and which the human eye may not be able to detect. The bead experiences high stress during takeoff and landing, so it’s crucial to ensure that the area is not damaged or cracked before takeoff.

STOL Competition & Matco Wheels

Many sport aircraft pilots build their own planes to compete in short takeoff and landing (STOL) competitions. The goal in a STOL competition is to cover as little distance as possible during takeoff and landing, often under 15 feet. Needless to say, these rigorous acceleration and braking events put significant stress on the aircraft’s wheels, which necessitates an aircraft wheel that can withstand the heat, pressure, and fatigue.

Matco Aircraft Landing Systems is proud to manufacture reliable, durable wheels and brakes that perform exceptionally well in STOL competitions and similar conditions. We understand the unique requirements of STOL aircraft and manufacture our products using feedback about those needs. Many STOL competitors choose Matco produced wheels to help them achieve their goals and do their best flying at these events.

Newly Expanded Aerospace Manufacturing Capabilities

NMG Aerospace is proud to announce that we have acquired Matco Aircraft Landing Systems. By joining forces with the experts at Matco, we can expand our aerospace manufacturing capabilities and make all our products better by cross-referencing best practices from different sectors of the aerospace industry.

Our expanded aerospace manufacturing capabilities include producing wheel and brake assemblies and components, including nose and tail wheel assemblies, tires, tubes, and countless other kits and assemblies. We also offer assembly services and custom assembly for specialized projects.

Aircraft Wheels and Brakes Produced by NMG

NMG manufactures brakes and wheels specifically for the homebuilt aircraft market. As a family-owned business, we deliver wheels, brakes, assemblies, and components much faster than one of the larger manufacturers, so you’re never waiting around for the parts you need. Our customers are achieving incredible things at STOL competitions and beyond with NMG produced wheels and brakes.

See our full product line >

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