When it comes to aircraft tire maintenance, few people in the industry have visited more hangars and seen all manner of service work and maintenance procedures than Goodyear Aviation’s Rob Robson.
Robson is a Product Support Manager for The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, and for more than 10 years he’s been immersed in aircraft tire product support for everything from piston singles to helicopters and fighter jets.
By his own count, Robson has witnessed numerous aircraft tire maintenance procedures and has inspected hundreds of worn tires. He has seen firsthand the ill effects of improper maintenance. As a result, Robson can offer valuable advice for those who wish to better understand how proper aircraft tire maintenance can help to deliver more landings.
The most important factor of any aircraft tire maintenance program is maintaining proper inflation pressure.
According to Robson, the problems created by incorrect inflation can be severe. Over inflation often leads to uneven tread wear and reduced traction, makes the tread more susceptible to cutting, and places greater stress on aircraft wheels. Under inflation creates faster tread wear on the shoulders, damages the tire’s innerliner, and greatly increases the stress and flex heating in the tire that can lead to tire failure.
“Because aircraft tire/wheel assemblies can lose up to 5 percent of their pressure each day, they need to be checked daily, or before each flight, with a calibrated pressure gauge when the tire is at ambient temperature (not heated by taxiing). Any tire that’s been run more than 10 percent underinflated should be removed from service,” Robson said. The industry veteran also recommends filling tubeless assemblies with nitrogen instead of air because it’s dry and non-combustible.
Another key area of aircraft tire maintenance:
- Lookout for no harmful chemicals are used or spilled on the tires.
- Keep hangar floors clean of all debris to avoid foreign object damage to the tires.
- It is also important to inspect the tires closely, in addition to checking tire pressure, during pre-flights to check for any damage to the tires from service.