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Aircraft Brake System Overview

Aircraft Brake System Overview

The way an aircraft’s brake system is assembled is necessary to the passenger’s safety as it is responsible for safe take-off and landing. Learning about the assembly, system and other safety notes is important to prevent personal injuries as well as aircraft damage. Below is an overview of an aircraft’s brake system and composition.


Like a vehicle’s brake system, the aircraft’s system also makes use of the standard parts including steel rotors, housings and aluminum pistons. These are made of aluminum, magnesium and other materials that can withstand heavy pressure. Often smaller aircraft have simpler assembly including a fluid reservoir, master cylinders and the brake itself whereas huge aircraft have more complex assemblies as they need to withstand stronger pressure due to the aircraft’s size. Large aircraft like military planes and commercial airlines use power brake metering valves, anti-skid, isolation valves, pressure transducers and anti-spin transducers in their braking system to ensure that the plane will take off and land safely.

Types of Systems

The system type depends on the size of the aircraft. Commercial airliners, military jets or business planes often utilize the power brake system as it requires substantial power to handle the pressure that the weight it carries to be able to land or take-off safely. Larger planes also have an emergency backup system in place in the rare instances that the primary system fails.

Another type would be the hydraulic system which is used by many companies in the industry as it provides reliability and redundancy. The system works by using the isolation, shuttle and selector valves which are three of the power sources for brakes. Since rubber hoses often fail when used regularly, shuttle valves and fuses are used because they are more resistant and reliable. The shuttle valves separate the flow of pressure whereas the fuses measure the flow volume and shut it off automatically when the determined volume is reached.

An anti-skid system is also an integral part of the brake system as it is used to ensure safe take-off and landing. The system allows the pilot to apply maximum force for safe take-off or landing. Wheel speed detectors, anti-skid valves, processor and fault indication are some components of the anti-skid system as well as different modes for protection including locked wheel, touchdown and pressure dump. These modes ensure that the different types of protection are in place when needed.

Safety Features

An aircraft’s brake system depends on its own weight and as such, the bigger the aircraft is, the more complex the system is. Huge airline companies install a backup braking system to their aircraft to ensure that additional pressure sources are handled accordingly. Regular maintenance is also in place to ensure that the system is working properly.

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