Even The Maintenance Experts Do Not Understand Aircraft Tires, Brakes, and Usage


The following is a quote from the FAA. I do not know what it is going to take to teach pilots how to handle braking because even Mike Busch, listed as a maintenance expert, does not understand how to brake an aircraft. There are so many factors in stopping an aircraft. These factors are weight, runway surface, caliper design and brake pads and finally, besides others, AIR PRESSURE WHERE IT SHOULD BE and not what the POH says.

Here is the statement:

Nothing is more frustrating for an aircraft owner than a disabling mechanical problem that occurs far from home in the middle of an important trip. Nothing is more embarrassing if the problem was the owner’s fault. That’s exactly what happened to maintenance expert Mike Busch one Saturday evening in July as he was flying his Cessna 310 from California to Air Venture 2023. Mike got on the brakes too early during what should have been an easy-peasy crosswind landing at Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The resulting blowout of the right main gear tire and tube disabled the aircraft and closed the runway for more than an hour. The remarkable series of fortuitous events that followed, allowing Mike and his two passengers to get to Oshkosh on schedule, is the subject of this webinar.

One thing we teach on larger airplanes (but it can apply to smaller aircraft), is to use ALL THE RUNWAY. We call it landing long. If you have a 5,000-foot runway then what is the problem to using the full length of the runway. One, you keep the engine cooler as you keep the speed up and slowing while BRINGING AIR INTO THE NOSE BOWLS. In a turbocharged aircraft this saves the “sitting time” allowing the turbocharger to cool down while sitting at the ramp with no air coming in. This builds up heat where continuing the motion of the aircraft to the ramp at an idle makes the cylinders cooler. You also save the tires and brakes.

Second, you should “brake on, brake off, brake on, brake off” and you should do this after the lift starts to settle as you slow. If you get on the brakes hard while lift is still being developed your tire surface is “light” and you end up with the problem like Mr. Busch, that being a destroyed tire. If the tire is also low in air, and you brake hard the tire locks up because the brakes lock up. Result, just what happened above in the narrative. As I teach in class if you lose a tire, and it is destroyed at a control field, I will guarantee the FAA will visit. So, what do you tell the FAA happened? You should take our course as I cover a lot of legal with the FAA. Yes, a simple tire problem will bring a bad result in a FAA investigation. 

There is another training article on this “braking” and tire problem on our website. I wrote it several years ago. Same problem as Mr. Busch but with a serous aircraft accident, a Cessna 414 being destroyed. 

We cover the tires, brakes, and braking methods in class. We are more than happy to teach you the correct methods of using everything on the “gear” that causes problems. Also, what are my credentials. I worked for a major tire manufacturer as well as owning a large tire and maintenance facility. I did studies for the several large manufacturers on tire usage. I know tires and brakes and I know how to teach proper braking techniques as well as the proper maintenance of tires and tire assemblies. 

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