Using its experience building patented motorcycle racing brakes, wheels and forks, French manufacturer Beringer Aero brings modern braking technology to small aircraft with a new line of bolt-on brake components and wheels.
Said to be the lightest brakes and wheels available for small aircraft, Beringers components are now used by several OEMs, including Cirrus, Diamond and Pilatus, in addition to a long list of LSA and experimental kit manufacturers. The product line is unique because it includes an anti-skid feature, plus wheels that accommodate tubeless tire installations.
We took a close look at Beringers line of brakes and wheels for LSA applications at this years U.S. Sport Aviation Expo, and also sampled its larger braking system in a new Cirrus. We think the technology represents the next generation of aircraft brakes.
Brakes and wheels significantly contribute to aircraft weight, and their manufacturing efficiency-and weight-can make the difference between exiting the runway at the first turnoff, or sailing off the end.
Beringer saves weight-while reducing rolling distance by up to 40 percent-by using corrosion-resistant anodized aluminum alloy components that are machined from solid through a CNC process. Claire Beringer said the wheel component R&D and manufacturing process begins by building a 3D model using CAD software. Once the design model is in place, Beringer conducts an optimizing process that moves weight from one part of the wheel to the other, until the perfect strength-to-weight ratio is achieved.
Using a hydraulic press, it then applies a radial and side load on the wheel and mounted tire to check the overall strength and loading of the wheel. It also conducts roll testing, where the wheel is pressed on a rotating drum for over 1000 miles at the absolute highest static load. The idea is to detect fatigue intervals and eventual failure of wheel bearings and other wear-and-tear components.
Beringer offers complete wheel and brake systems to include the wheel, brake caliper, master cylinder, parking brake and its ALIR anti-skid system. More on that in a minute.
All of the components are linked together with braided stainless steel Teflon lines and fittings, and the wheels have sealed bearings and accommodate the mounting of tubeless tires.
The two-piece wheels are equipped with floating brake discs. Floating discs are the best defense against warping and cracking because when the brake rotor is subjected to heat, it expands. But when it floats separately from the structure, it is free to expand and shrink without the constraints of the mount.
The Beringer brake calipers are housed in an alloy body to withstand high temperatures, and are fixed on the axle. Theyre also equipped with stainless steel polished pistons and utilize non-riveted metallic brake pads. The caliper/disc combination affords a chatterless and linear action, even under aggressive braking. We pushed as hard as possible during a high-speed turnoff in a Beringer-equipped Cirrus and experienced no fade or skid.
The absence of brake locking is a result of Beringers ALIR anti-skid differential braking regulator. With its adjustable pressure settings (from 290 to 725 psi), the regulator prevents wheel locking by limiting the maximum pressure in the system. The device regulates the pressure between the left and right side, allowing a differential of around 14.5 psi once the maximal pressure is reached. The pressure threshold can be set at the factory (for STC applications) or adjusted by the owner in LSA and experimental models.
The ALIR is standard in most new Beringer kits and the 11-ounce regulator is manufactured from billet, red anodized aluminum. It can be added to existing Beringer kits for $197.
Beringer offers a wide variety of wheel and brake configurations, or standalone wheels without brakes. There is even a four-inch bush tail wheel suitable for LSA models. It sells for around $400.
It also offers four-, five- and six-inch wheel configurations with complete braking systems. The six-inch HE-series wheels and brakes have TSO certification and have a static loading of 2090 pounds. It sells for around $1100 per wheel. Beringer sells individual brake components, including master cylinders, fluid reservoirs and axles at various prices.
The complete wheel and brake kit for retrofitting a Cirrus SR20 or SR22 is $7559. Beringer says it is currently working on retrofit wheel and brake systems for more common applications, including Cessna and Piper models, and hopes to have STC certification later this year.
For more on the product line, visit www.beringer-aero.com, or you can phone its Chicago-based sales office at 708-667-7891.