Landing gear is essential for all types of airplanes. As you may know, it consists of a set of wheels — along with other components — that allow airplanes to roll on the runway. Pilots will use the landing gear to take off and land. There are different types of landing gear systems, however, one of which is tailwheel. Tailwheel-type landing gear still consists of wheels, but it features a unique design that distinguishes it from other types of landing gear systems. What is tailwheel-type landing gear exactly?
Overview of Tailwheel-Type Landing Gear
Also known as conventional landing gear, tailwheel-type landing gear consists of three wheels. Airplanes with a tailwheel-type landing gear system are equipped with a pair of wheels near the front, followed by a single rear in the back. The pair of wheels are specifically placed ahead of the airplane’s center of gravity. The third “tail” wheel, on the other hand, is placed behind the airplane’s center of gravity. Tailwheel-type landing gear systems are designed with three wheels in these areas, which allows pilots to safely perform takeoffs and landings.
Benefits of Tailwheel-Type Landing Gear
When compared to other types of landing gear systems, tailwheel-type offers several benefits. It creates less drag, for instance, when extended. Landing gear systems typically create some drag. When an airplane’s landing gear is extended, it will block the wind while creating drag that acts as a resistive force against the airplane. Tailwheel-type landing gear systems have a tail wheel that’s placed behind the airplane’s center of gravity, resulting in less drag being created.
Tail-wheel type landing gear systems are better suited for rough and uneven runways than other types of landing gear systems. With their three-point design, they distribute the weight of the airplane more evenly. This means the airplane’s frame will be exposed to less physical stress when taking off and landing. Tailwheel-type landing gear systems offer a few other benefits, such as a slimmer fit that allows airplanes to fit into hangers. Their main benefits, though, are less drag and even weight distribution.
Other Types of Landing Gear Systems
Tailwheel is just one of several types of landing gear systems. While it’s undoubtedly common, some airplanes use a different type of landing gear system. Other types of landing gear systems include tandem and tricycle undercarriage. Nonetheless, tailwheel is a popular type of landing gear system because it creates less drag while also distributing the weight of the airplane more evenly.