This post is more for my mum than anyone else, she misses her daily dose of piloting for dummies “because” she says, “I’m a good writer”. Now the jury is still out on this because as she is my mother, she must complement me, it’s what mother’s do, it’s in the job description and incase you missed it, it’s in the daily memo. I like to blow my own trumpet (primarily because other people blowing it just gets saliva all over the inside and I have to clean it out) and in this case, I’m saying that I’m a damn good writer (I hope my damn good writer friends don’t read this). Studying is taking it’s toll on me and the lighter things like blogging -even if it is for studying’s sake and eating (I say this as I stuff an energy bar into my mouth) have been put on the back burner for now. I hope you’ll permit me from here on out to write once a week, and even if you won’t, I’ll probably still write once a week.

There are two main configurations of landing gears

  • Tricycle – nose wheel
  • Conventional – tail wheel, also known as the taildragger

Both of these can be either fixed or retractable

Advantages of a tricycle over a conventional gear include

  • Better forward visibility
  • Better ground handling
  • Reduced chance of nosing ove
  • Reduced chance of ground looping

Advantages of conventional over tricycle include

  • Propeller clearance is increased
  • Less parasitic drag on landing gear
  • Better suited for rough, unimproved runways as main gears take most of the load
  • Less damage to the plane if the wheel gives out


Having a retractable landing gear reduces parasitic drag and noise as the aircraft is more streamlined.

A hydraulic pump, an electrical motor or a manual lever can be used to retract the gear. However, if a hydraulic pump or an electrical motor are used, there is a manual pump available incase of emergencies.

Disadvantages include forgeting to retract the gear (I can see this happening especially after takeoff when there is so much to do) and it is also more complicated to maintain.

There are 4 types of main gears

  1. Split Axle – this uses bungee cords to absorb shock upon landing. Examples include a PA 22
  2. Tripod – This uses an oleo to absorb shock. Examples include Aeronca and Champion
  3. Single Spring leaf cantilever – The main gear flexes upon landing to absorb shock, an example of this is a cessna 152 (The aircraft that I am currently flying
  4. Single strut – This also uses an oleo to absorb shock, examples include a Cherokee

That’s all for today folks.

I should be starting  my multi IFR rating soon so I’ll need to channel more focus. My incentive is to go back to warmer and more predictable weather. It snowed on Thursday…..I really think April needs an intervention, however the main concern here is that global warming is making us pay for our sins sooner than we would have liked. So just a reminder in going green, reuse, reduce, recycle

Happy landings

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4 Responses to LANDING GEARS

  1. Apondi says:

    Four things;

    1. You WRITE very well. Kwani?! Nisha shema.
    2. What happens if you forget to retract the gear? Is it an irritation or is it life threatening?
    3. What is IFR?
    4. Blogging once a week is just being a lazy bum and choosing the easiest way out.


    • tawinyangaya says:

      Hahaha, you are right, I am choosing the easy way out, I need a few easy things in my life right now and you need to find other forms of entertainment 😀
      IFR stands for Instrument Flight Rules where you are allowed to fly with the sole use of your instruments it is the opposite of what I am doing now which is VFR (Visual flight rules)- flight with visual reference to the ground.
      If you forget to retract the landing gear, the aircraft is no longer streamlined during cruise flight and might not perform as required, also there are certain speeds you cannot fly with landing gear out and if you approach these speeds, you might damage the landing gear and then you’ll be screwed when you need to land.
      Thanks for being my biggest *read only* fan 🙂

  2. Michael says:

    I, too, would like to ba a fan.

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