Having the proper tire size on an airplane is crucial for safety and performance.
All aircraft regardless of it’s size will have a specific tire size designed for that airplane type.
Not all aircraft tire sizes are the same.
Every tire that is used by aircraft manufacturers is carefully built and inspected to meet the requirements of the FAA.
Here is what you need to know about airplanes and tire size.
1. How do you read airplane tire size?
The size of an aircraft tire is mounted on the sidewall of the tire. Airplane tires are typically measured in inches although that is not always the case.
On civil aircraft, there are 3 numbers shown and the first number is the width of the tire.
The second number is how wide the treads are, which can be anywhere from 6 to 11 inches.
The third number is rim size they are mounted on, which ranges from 8 to 16 inches.
For example, if you see a tire with the numbers 30 x 9.5 – 14, this would mean the tire is 30 inches wide with 9.5 inches tread, and the tire is on a 14-inch rim.
2. Why are airplane tires so small?
Actually, airplane tires are quite large on commercial airliners when compared to small aircraft. But when you consider the huge size of the aircraft, they tend to be small in size.
For example, a Boeing 737 airliner has a tire size of 27 x 7.5R 15 which means it is 27 inches in diameter, 7.5 inches wide, and fits on a 15 inch rim.
If you compare this to a semi truck tire, it is quite a bit smaller. The 737 aircraft is much larger, heavier, and faster than a semi truck, but has much smaller tires.
Aircraft tires are considerably stronger and are designed to operate under high pressure with the ability to withstand heavy impact on landings and high speeds.
3. How big are tires on a Boeing 747?
The Boeing 747-400 is one of the most popular aircraft used by commercial airlines. It is a very large passenger plane that requires a total of 18 tires to operate safely.
All 18 tires on the 747-400 are the same size which is H49 x 19.0 – 22.
4. Airplane tire size chart
|Aircraft type||Tire size|
|Cessna – 172||6.00 x 6|
|Boeing 737 – 800||27 x 7.75 – 15|
|Boeing 747-400||H49 x 19.0 – 22|
|Airbus A320||30 x 8.8 – 15|
|Boeing 787 – 800||50 x 20 – 22|
|Embraer 145||19.5 x 6.75 – 8|
|Dash 8 -300||22 x 6.50 – 10|
5. Why don’t airplane tires explode on landing?
It is very rare for an aircraft tire to blow out or explode on landing. It does happen but not very often. Even under very heavy weight and high impact on landing, the tires will not explode.
On larger aircraft like the 747-400 which has 18 tires, even if one was to blow on landing, it won’t affect the aircraft’s ability to safely land.
The reason why airplane tires don’t explode on landing is they have a high-pressure rating (200 psi) and when this high pressure is maintained, it increases the strength of the tire.
Aircraft tires are also over engineered and designed to sustain high impact and speed and hold heavy weight without failing.
If there was a blown tire, it is usually due to the tire being under pressurized.
6. How often do airliners have to replace their tires?
There are a number of factors that determine how often an airliner needs to replace their tires. Not all aircraft are the same.
But on average, tires will have to be replaced after 250 cycles. Depending on how many takeoffs and landings the airplane does each day, the tires could last 3 or 4 months before needing to be replaced.
Did you know?
Many aircraft tires are retread able and can be retreaded 4 times before being replaced.
7. What is the biggest tire size on an airliner?
The Airbus A380 aircraft uses one of the largest tire sizes which is 55 inches in diameter and is 21 inches wide. The A380 used 22 total tires.
8. Are airplane tires filled with air or nitrogen?
Aircraft tires are filled with nitrogen which minimizes expansion and contraction from extreme heat and pressure. Airplane tires are pressurized to around 200 PSI with nitrogen which can handle heavier weights.
9. What is the size of a tire on a small private airplane?
Smaller aircraft, like a single-engine Cessna 172, would have a much smaller tire size than a commercial airliner. A typical tire size for a small airplane would be 5 x 6 x 8.
The Cessna 172 has a tire size of 6 x 6.
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