A wheely big job

Published on 12th January 2016 at 14:10

It’s something most of us learn when we get our first car, how to change a tyre. Weighing in at 560 tonnes, the A380 is the largest aircraft in the Qantas fleet.

It can carry 484 passengers and 24 crew.  It’s landing gear is made up of 22 wheels and cushions the weight of the aircraft as it touches down.

Upon landing the aircraft is travelling at 250km/h or 135 knots so there’s an enormous amount of pressure on the tyres to ensure the A380 comes to a safe and smooth stop.

The tyres are inflated with nitrogen – not air  like your typical car. This is because nitrogen can withstand extreme temperatures and won’t combust due to the intense friction which occurs during landing.

Each tyre is changed after approximately 180 landings and our engineering team in Sydney can change one tyre in an hour. At $5000 a pop, an A380 tyre isn’t cheap and each wheel on the main landing gear weighs almost 120 kilograms.

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