How Do The Brakes Of An Airplane Work? (VI)

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Pablo Edronkin

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In these extreme landing conditions there are some techniques that expert aviators use, like the controlled ground loop that is possible with taildragger type planes operating over ice or some types of snow: The pilot in command, on touchdown, steps on the left side pedal as the aircraft still carries considerable kinetic energy.

hen, the plane will start to loop, and this has to be controlled so that its orientation reverses in 180 degrees regarding its direction of movement. Then, the tail will be in front of the moving vehicle, so to speak, and the propeller on the rear. By applying full throttle under such conditions, the propeller will act as if it had been reversed and the plane will stop.

And if this sounds a little exaggerated, bear in mind that it is not; so, there is yet another technique used to take advantage of braking surfaces an fuel economy: Some floatplane aviators have been able to land directly with their pontoons attached to the landing gear over snow, uphill, and then at the end of their landing run turn their planes ninety degrees to stop and hold them in place for a while, much like skiers that want to wait a little before skiing downhill.

Then, with a little help of the engine, they turn ninety degrees more until they face downhill and take off with their floatplanes over snow. One guy in Alaska even managed many times to do this without even turning the engine on, and so glided down to the lake and into his floatplane base that was below the mountain.


Tail wheels on conventional-gear airplanes usually carry no brakes; some may have locking devices, but those are not brakes and instead, serve to stabilise the plane as it rapidly runs on the runway.
Tail wheels on conventional-gear airplanes usually carry no brakes; some may have locking devices, but those are not brakes and instead, serve to stabilise the plane as it rapidly runs on the runway.



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