Which Type of Braking System Is Used on Aircraft?

There are several types of aircraft braking systems, those of which consist of single disc brakes, duel-disc brakes, multiple-disc brakes, segmented rotor-disc brakes, and carbon brakes. In most cases, aircraft braking control is achieved through toe-brakes or a single brake lever, and a parking brake that can be applied via a switch. Furthermore, aircraft also have wing spoilers, but their main braking mechanism includes disc brakes.

Airplane disc brakes are similar to braking systems in automobiles. They consist of a pair of calipers that, when engaged, squeeze braking pads against the rotors of an aircraft’s landing gear. It is important to note that disc brakes are designed to remain static at all times. Generally, when the wheels touch the ground, a set of spoilers quickly raise up, reducing the lift produced by the wings. Prior to landing, when the landing gear is lowered, the pilots employ ground spoilers to automatically deploy upon touchdown.

How Does an Aircraft Brake Work?

The aircraft braking system also contains aircraft disc brakes in the landing gear that aid in slowing down the wheels while touching the ground. Meanwhile, thrust reversers use the thrust from the engines to slow the aircraft by redirecting it. Additionally, air brakes and other flight control surfaces are utilized to increase drag. Despite this, how do planes stop so fast? Within large turboprop aircraft, for example, propellers can be adjusted to produce rearward thrust after touchdown to rapidly slow the aircraft. In commercial jet transport aircraft, a combination of brakes, spoilers, and thrust reversers increase wing drag, producing the same effect.

Aircraft brakes stop moving aircraft by converting kinetic energy to heat energy through the friction generated between rotating and stationary discs located in the brake assemblies in the wheels. They also work in conjunction with other brake mechanisms such as the thrust reversers, air brakes, and spoilers, as previously mentioned. For larger aircraft, other brake system components include power brake and slave brake metering valves, isolation valves, hydraulic fuses, accumulators, swivel joints, and many others.

What Are Aircraft Brakes Made Of?

Similar to other aircraft components and systems, aircraft brakes and their related parts are made of durable materials. For instance, the rotors are made from iron or steel, though recently, carbon fiber brakes are being utilized. This shift is due to the fact that fiber composites are lightweight and promote aerodynamic efficiency. Efficiency is especially critical because larger aircraft weigh more, meaning that the brakes must be capable of dissipating more energy. Furthermore, carbon brakes are also beneficial as they retain the ability to absorb energy and slow the aircraft with more ease when compared to steel brakes.


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