Why Airplane Tyres Last Less Than 500 Landings

Why Airplane Tyres Last Less Than 500 Landings

An aircraft’s tires are usually an afterthought for most airline passengers. Despite only being on the ground for brief periods of time during most flights, planes still use their tyres a great deal. Incredibly, aircraft tyres rarely blow out but have relatively short lifespans.

Planes get pushed back from the gate, taxi to the runway and take off. Most importantly, the aircraft needs to land. The physical load tyres are put through on an airliner is immense during landing. The Boeing 737 Max 9 has a maximum landing weight just under 164,000 pounds and will touch down at speeds over 130 miles per hour.

According to Air Canada, tyres fitted to the main landing gear last between 300 and 450 landings on average. The range in landing numbers is attributed to varying levels of wear and tear across different runways. Debris on the ground is always a concern for carriers and airports because everything from rocks and loose bits of pavement to excessive rubber build-up can accelerate tread deterioration. Canada’s flag carrier even mentions that nose gear tyres have an even shorter lifespan through steering the airliner on the ground.

Goodyear and Michelin have specialized divisions dedicated to producing aircraft tyres and no, their plane products aren’t scaled-up car tyres. Airline mechanics inflate tyres to pressures around 200 pounds per square inch, multiple times higher than the average tyre on a road car. The inflation process happens with the tyre placed inside a safety cage to protect mechanics on the off chance there’s a catastrophic failure.

Airlines don’t outright own the tyres fitted to their planes, so it’s in the manufacturer’s best interest that tyres last as long as possible and do not fail. Carriers lease tyres from their suppliers on a per-landing basis. Once a tire reaches the end of its lifespan, it is returned to the supplier and retreaded for be used for another lifespan by an airline. Michelin states that it can retread an aircraft tyre up to seven times before it can no longer be used.

The next time you’re on a flight, you can rest assured that a tyre company doesn’t want to eat the cost of a potential tyre blowout.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.