What kind of brakes do airplanes use?

Aircraft was originally designed without brake systems and were able to slow down with the use of slower airspeeds, softer airfield surfaces, and friction developed by the tail skid. Brake systems started becoming more common when aircraft became faster and more complex and are now an integral aspect of an aircraft’s design. There are many different types of brakes and supportive technology used to slow down an aircraft.

Brakes are placed in different locations based on the aircraft’s demands and requirements. There are spoilers located on the top portion of the wing. They increase drag and reduce lift which helps an aircraft slow down for landing and is usually brought up completely once on the ground to assist in decreasing speed and taking some of the pressure off of the landing gear. Landing gear brakes and reverse thrust slow an aircraft down once it has landed. Reverse thrust redirects the engines thrust in the opposite direction in order to act against the forward travel and relieve some of the pressure put on the landing gear brakes.

Landing gear brakes are usually located on the main wheels. They are activated by pressing down on the top of the rudder and are controlled by mechanical/ hydraulic linkages. Earlier aircraft used mechanical brake controls such as cables. However, larger aircraft needed something stronger, so they started using pumps that provide hydraulic fluid pressure and volume. A newer design is the electrically activated brakes; they are lighter and are used on some of the newer generations of aircraft.

Modern aircraft usually use disc brakes. There are single disc brakes, floating disk brakes, fixed-disc brakes, dual-disc brakes, multiple-disc brakes, segmented rotor-disc brakes, and carbon brakes. Single disc brakes are common on lighter aircraft and multiple-disc brakes are used on larger aircraft. Segmented rotor-disc brakes are a modern multiple-disc brake, they control and dissipate heat on large and high-performance aircraft. Carbon brakes are a newer brake that is similar to the segmented rotor-disc brake in that they are capable of withstanding higher temperatures. Since they are a newer development, they still have a higher manufacturing cost; but they are much lighter and reduce the amount of weight added to an aircraft, which is why they are commonly found on high performance and air carrier aircraft.

Maintenance and repair organizations (MROs) are used when an aircraft needs maintenance, repair, or overhaul on their brakes. It is important to follow the regulations pertaining to brakes and complete visual inspections before each flight in order to ensure safety and airworthiness.

At NSN Fulfillment, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the brakes you need, new or obsolete. As a premier supplier of 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, 24/7x365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@nsnfulfillment.com or call us at 1-914-359-2001.


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