Have you ever heard of a tire blowing out on a large jet aircraft carrying hundreds of passengers? One reason that this type of incident is rare is due to quality FOD control along with the construction and inflation of the tire. FOD is foreign objects and debris, and most airports have specialized equipment that sweeps runways and keeps them clean. A combination of construction and sweeping runways is why tire blowouts are rare.
Stress on Tires
It’s amazing that tires on aircraft have very few problems considering the load they bear. Aircraft can weigh 40,000 tons or more, and the tires hit the ground at well over 150 miles per hour. There is not a lot of mileage on these tires, but there is a lot of stress on them for a short amount of time. When a plane lands, the wheels will skid at first and then start rolling. This is why there is a puff of smoke when aircrafts land.
About the Tires
A Boeing 777 has 14 tires, and an Antonov AN-225 has 32 tires. Most commercial aircraft have something between those two extremes. The tires on a Boeing 737 are 27 inches in diameter, and 7.75 inches wide. They are mounted on a 15-inch wheel. That is smaller than the typical tractor-trailer tire.
What Makes Tires Strong
In some ways, the tires on a jet airliner are like the tires on a car. Both are made of similar materials. The difference is that aircraft tires are inflated to a very high pressure level. Typical commercial aircraft tires are inflated to 200 psi. Most cars on the road have about 30 psi in their tires. An F1 fighter jet has tires inflated to 320 psi. The high inflation makes the tires very strong.
The level of air pressure makes tires strong, and it takes a strong casing to hold that air small space. The tires have good tread, and they can be retreaded a few times to extend the life of the tire. Under the tread are nylon chords that add strength to the surface of the tire. there is also an under-tread and several layers of material that make tires as strong as possible.
The Importance of FOD Detection and Removal
While the tires are very strong, a piece of debris could still damage a tire. FOD sweepers can detect and pick up smaller pieces of debris that could cause problems for aircraft. Tires on planes are tough, but a piece of metal hitting a tire at just the right angle could cause major damage to an airplane under the stress of landing. Make sure you use a quality FOD removal system to properly detect and eliminate dangerous foreign object debris.