How to land a plane?

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Tyres, Brakes and Landing Gear: Fact File!

A plane needs to build up enough speed to take-off but have you ever thought about what helps the plane come safely to a stop?


It’s called the landing gear and on large jets, it’ll be hidden inside the fuselage during flight – to help with the aerodynamics, and lowered down as a plane approaches an airport.  But on smaller aircraft, the landing gear might be rigid and fixed permanently on the outside.

The landing gear on passenger jets is made up of a number of tough tyres – as many as twenty two of them on the massive Airbus A380.  The tyres need to be incredibly strong because they have to go from zero to 150 miles per hour when they hit the runway.


And then there’s the friction – that’s the heat caused by rubbing on the tarmac – it causes them to get hotter than boiling water.

Once on the runway, three things help bring the plane to a safe stop.

1. The pilot will apply the brakes to the wheels – these work like the brakes on your bike and make it harder for the wheels to turn.

2. Large jets normally use reverse thrust.  This is where the power of the engine is pushed to the front of the plane, helping reduce speed.

3. Plates on the wings called spoilers lift up to create drag – that’s a force that helps to slow things down – all helping to make a perfect landing!

Check out this episode of Amy’s Aviation in the video above!

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Amy Aviation with support from the Royal Aeronautical Society. Click here to find out more.

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