So quite a while back, I had some interesting shower thoughts. I think they are innovative enough (if I do say so myself) to have a topic about.
We all know about tire smoke upon landing, and that it’s caused by the friction between the ground and the tires as the tires aren’t moving while the ground races by below at 140 knts. It like doing a burnout in your car, except the wheels on the car aren’t moving but the…umm…globe is…
This obviously leads to faster wear and tear of the tires, and airlines have to keep replacing the tires. Many airlines have contracts with, say, Goodyear, and each tire can be retooled and reused about seven times before it can’t be used anymore (https://www.cntraveler.com/stories/2016-05-27/old-airplane-tires-are-turned-into-what).
Obviously the airlines lose money through this, having to continuously buy new tires, and of course, there’s a lot of good rubber going to waste.
That got me thinking whether there would be a way to preserve these tires. Soo…how about if before touchdown, using the power from the engines, a motor spins the wheels to match the ground speed of the aircraft, therefore once it touches down, there is no friction, and the tires won’t wear as fast, saving airlines (especially ones with big fleets) a lot of money.
There would need to be changes in the entire gear design, as having a motor or something to spin the wheels could get in the way of the brakes and could affect how smoothly the wheels roll when taxiing. Perhaps there could be an addition of a clutch of some type, but we also don’t want to complicate the overall design of this.
Edit: as an after thought, maybe the motor can be disengaged at say 20-30 feet to prevent damage to the motor after touch down.
While there would definitely be flaws to be ironed out, I honestly think it shouldn’t be too difficult. @Maxmustang recently made a post regarding some thing of this sort, where a motor is utilized for pushback.
Using this similar technology, I think spinning the wheels before touchdown will have multiple benefits. The obvious benefits would be longer lasting tires, meaning less tires need to be bought by airlines. Another major benefit would be the fact that runways wouldn’t need to be cleaned free of rubber. This is especially beneficial to the busier airports, such as London Heathrow, where any disruption to the flow of traffic can result in a chain reaction delays, and closing a runway for cleaning is definitely a disruption.
Tell me what you guys think about this, as I think it would be great to put into practice. :)