Maintenance Matters

February 2008 Issue

Why Don’t Tires Last? Heat ‘s The Enemy

And that comes from underinflation, too-hard braking and long taxi runs. But tread depth and construction are major players, too.

In the list of the egregiously expensive stuff you have to buy to maintain an airplane, tires barely rise to the level of annoyance. But when the shop calls and says you need a new left main, if your reaction is, "didnít we just do that?" youíre hardly alone. You may very well have traded your last car before it needed new tires. Why isnít it the same with airplanes? Itís a good question and one we recently posed to several experts in the aircraft tire industry. The answer is that airplane tires are to modern car tires as apples are to kumquats. Other than both being roundóyou hopeócar tires and airplane tires donít have much in common because they perform radically different jobs. Car tires have been driven relentlessly forward by competition and technology; airplane tires, not so much.

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