What is Tailwheel-Type Landing Gear in Aircrafts?

Landing gear enables aircraft to safely take off and land, also allowing the vehicle to traverse a taxiway or runway surface with ease. Landing gear may vary in design depending upon the aircraft model, its intended application, and other various factors. Tailwheel-type landing gear, also known as conventional landing gear, is a common undercarriage configuration that is commonly found on numerous light aircraft models. In this blog, we will discuss the tailwheel-type landing gear design, allowing you to better understand how it affects the flight operations of various aircraft.

In general, tailwheel-type landing gear consists of two main wheels that are situated forward of the center of gravity, while a small wheel is placed near the back to support the tail. If there is a skid in place of the tail wheel, the undercarriage may be called a taildragger. While some refer to tailwheel-type landing gear as conventional landing gear, a majority of modern piston-powered aircraft have since moved on to utilize tricycle gear.

In the early days of aviation, the tail of an aircraft was often supported with the use of a metallic or wooden tail skid. Since then, the tail wheel assembly has replaced the skid, ensuring that the rearmost part of the airframe is supported. Generally, the tail wheel may be steered with the rudder pedals located within the cockpit, enabling the pilot to manage the rudder and tailwheel simultaneously. 

As compared to other forms of landing gear systems, the tailwheel-type undercarriage has various benefits. One major advantage of tailwheel-type landing gear is the low amount of drag that they create while extended. As air is a fluid, solid objects moving through the atmosphere will experience drag as they block the wind. As such resistive force can decrease overall efficiency and speed, the reduction of drag is paramount. With tailwheel-type gear, the tail wheel assembly is placed behind the center of gravity for the means of reducing the amount of generated drag. 

Beyond flight operations themselves, the placement of aircraft wheels also ensures better functionality while on uneven runways. Due to the three-point design of such landing gear components, tailwheel-type landing gear is well suited for rough and uneven runways due to more even distribution of weight, well surpassing the capabilities of alternative gear types such as tricycle and tandem gear. Additionally, the airframe is also faced with much less stress during takeoff and landing, ensuring that components last longer. There are other various benefits as well, including the fact that they can fit into hangers easier with their slim construction. 

While very common on older piston-powered aircraft and some modern jets, tailwheel-type landing gear is not the only choice that one may use. Tricycle landing gear is quite popular for many piston-powered aircraft that are more modern, though such options often lack the lower drag, weight distribution, and other benefits of the tailwheel-type undercarriage. When it comes time to begin sourcing the take off gear components, aircraft wheels, and other landing gear components that you require for your standard operations, let the experts at Aviation Parts Circuit help you secure everything you need quickly and easily. 

Aviation Parts Circuit is a website owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, serving as an online distributor of aircraft parts that have been sourced from leading global manufacturers that we trust. As an AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B certified and accredited enterprise, we guarantee the quality of our offerings with our NO CHINA SOURCING pledge and rigorous quality assurance initiatives. If you find particular items on our website that you wish to procure, fill out and submit an Instant RFQ form and a dedicated account manager will reach out to you in just 15 minutes or less.


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