You are on page 1of 6

Roshan Bhojwani | rbhojwani@hotmail.

com | 2012

PMDG 737NGX GroundWork

Landing Gear and Brakes

Lesson Introduction

Hello and welcome to the Landing Gear and Brakes Lesson in the PMDG 737 Next Generation
GroundWork, from Angle of Attack.

This lesson will cover the following topics:

- Landing gear system overview,

- Landing gear extension and retraction,
- Landing gear manual extension,
- Nose wheel steering on ground,
- Wheel Braking system,
- Autobrake system,
- Antiskid protection,
- Parking brakes.

Landing Gear System Overview:

The landing gear system on the 737NGX is made up of two main landing gears in the center
fuselage and one nose landing gear in the forward fuselage shaped altogether like a tricycle.
Each landing gear has a set of two wheels and all landing gears are retractable into the
aircrafts fuselage.

The landing gear is designed to sustain the weight of the aircraft when it is on ground, as well
as absorb the load forces when the aircraft touches down during landing. Each landing gear has
a series of shock absorbers that compresses when there is weight over them.

QUICK TIP: If landing gear shock absorbers were rigid, they would immediately break
when the aircraft touched down! They have to be able to compress sufficiently without
damaging themselves or any other components around them. The 737-800s maximum
landing weight is over 65 tons, all that weight must be absorbed by these shock

The landing gear is extended and retracted with the landing gear lever located in the center
forward panel. The lever has three positions:

UP: Landing gear is fully retracted and secured,

OFF: Landing gear system is free from hydraulic pressure,
DOWN: Landing gear is commanded to extend.

A lever lock prevents the landing gear lever from accidentally moving to the UP position on

Landing Gear Extension and Retraction:


When the landing gears are in the UP position, they are held in place by uplocks. In order to
extend the landing gear, normally the pilot not flying pulls the landing gear lever and brings it
down to the DOWN position. Firstly, the landing gear doors open to allow the mechanism to
come out of the fuselage.

During this process three red lights, one for each gear, located above the landing gear lever
illuminate to indicate either:

That the related landing is neither down nor locked,

That the related landing gear disagrees with the selected position in the lever.

Angle of Attack 2012
Roshan Bhojwani | | 2012

Then, Hydraulic pressure from system A is used to extend the landing gears. Aerodynamic
loads and gravity also reduce the demand for hydraulic pressure by aiding the extension
process. Once the gears are in their DOWN position, mechanical and hydraulic linkages hold it
in a locked position in order to prevent them from collapsing upward upon touchdown.

QUICK TIP: These landing gear locks must also protect the landing gear from
collapsing when the aircraft lands sideways, such as during a crosswind landing. The
maximum allowable demonstrated crosswind component for landing is partly a function
of how much side load can the landing gear absorb during a crosswind touchdown.

When the gear has come down and is fully locked in position, the red landing gear lights
extinguish and three green lights illuminate. These green lights are immediately below the red
gear lights and indicate:

The related gear is down and locked. With this, the landing gear warning horn is also
deactivated. This warning is discussed in the Caution and Warning Systems lesson.

For added redundancy, there is also an independent extra series of green lights in the
AFT overhead panel that provide a gear down and locked indication.


When the landing gear is down and locked, and the landing gear lever is moved to the UP
position, the landing gear begins to retract upwards.

After liftoff during takeoff, as soon as the pilot not flying notices a positive rate of climb and
change in altitude he informs the pilot flying who then commands to raise the gear. At this point
when the landing gear lever is selected UP, the wheels may still be rotating after being in
contact with the runway.

If rotating wheels were retracted into the landing gear wheel well they may cause damage to
components. For this reason, when the landing gear lever is selected UP, the wheel brakes
automatically stop rotation of the main gear wheels. The nose gear wheels are also suppressed
with snubbers.

If any of the 6 wheels has suffered damage during the takeoff roll, braking will be difficult. To
prevent a damaged spinning tire from damaging any component in the wheel well, the gear
stops retracting and free falls back to the down position. This gear can no longer be retracted
during that flight.

Once the landing gears have been retracted, they are held in place with uplocks, doors and

Hydraulic pressure from system A is used to retract the main and nose landing gears, however
during retraction, the hydraulic system B may also provide pressure. A landing gear transfer
valve changes the source of hydraulic pressure when:

The aircraft is in the air,

Landing gear lever is UP,
One of the main landing gears is not UP,
Left engine high-pressure compressor (N2) is < 50%,
Hydraulic system B pressure is available.

When the after takeoff checklist is run, the landing gear lever is placed in the OFF position. This
isolates all hydraulic power from the landing gear system.
Landing Gear Manual Extension:

In order to provide a safe backup for hydraulic system A power loss or system failure, the
landing gear system can also be extended manually. There are manual gear release handles

Angle of Attack 2012
Roshan Bhojwani | | 2012

guarded by an access door in the flight deck floor that allow for manual gear extension with the
landing gear lever in any position.

There are three manual gear extension handles, one for each landing gear. To actuate the
system, the manual gear handles must be pulled aft approximately 61cm.

When this occurs, the related landing gear uplock is released and the gear free-falls to a down
and locked position. Once again, the gear weight, gravity and aerodynamic forces also aid this

QUICK TIP: Manual extension of the nose and main landing gears are completely
independent from the normal extension system. In case the normal extension system is
jammed or inoperative, manual extension may be used.

After the landing gear has been extended manually, it cannot be retracted with this same
mechanism. The only way to retract it is if hydraulic system A pressure is available and:

The manual extension access door is closed,

Landing gear lever is moved to its DOWN position,
Landing gear is then moved to its UP retracted position.

Nose Wheel Steering:

The nose landing gear wheels may be used to steer the aircraft when it is on ground during taxi,
takeoff and landing and the landing gear lever is in the DOWN position. There are two ways to
steer the nose wheels:

With the rudder pedals,

With the nose wheel steering wheel.

The rudder pedals allow for a maximum nose wheel deflection of 7 left or right. The nose wheel
steering wheel allows for a maximum nose wheel deflection of 78. During taxi, the nose wheel
steering wheel is used, however, during takeoff the rudder pedals are used so that nose wheel
deflection is lesser and therefore the loads imposed over the nose gear during takeoff are

Nose wheel steering is normally powered by hydraulic system A. Alternate nose wheel steering
is available through the hydraulic system B when:

The aircraft is on ground,

There is a normal hydraulic fluid quantity in the B system reservoir,
The Nose Wheel Steering switch is placed to the ALT position.

The nose wheel steering switch is a two-position switch located in the left forward panel. It can
be selected either:

NORM: Normal position where hydraulic system A powers the steering system. This
position is guarded.
ALT: The steering system switches to obtain power from hydraulic system B.

QUICK TIP: The nose wheel steering wheel is directly linked to the steering system,
unlike the rudder pedals. This means that if both pedals and the steering wheel are
used at the same time, the steering wheel will have priority to control the nose wheel
and will override the rudder pedal input.
Wheel Braking System:

The 737NGX has multiple disc brakes on each of the wheel of the main and landing gears. The
nose landing gear does not have any braking capabilities.

Angle of Attack 2012
Roshan Bhojwani | | 2012

The upper portion of each rudder pedal controls wheel brakes. When the top part of the pedal is
pressed, the corresponding wheel brakes are actuated.

Example: When either the captain or first officers left rudder pedal top portion is
pressed, the left main landing gear brakes are actuated, similarly for the right pedal.

During normal operation, braking power is supplied by hydraulic system B pressure. Hydraulic
system A automatically powers the braking system when hydraulic system B output pressure
becomes low or is unavailable. When this happens, the brakes operate under alternate braking.

In order to provide added system redundancy, there is a way to achieve wheel braking when
both hydraulic systems pressure becomes low or unavailable. There is a system that
accumulates hydraulic system B pressure in a Brake Accumulator so that in the event of a
hydraulic failure, there is still sufficient pressure for several braking applications.

QUICK TIP: The accumulator is capable of supplying six full braking applications, or
eight full hours of parking brake application.

There is an instrument in the right forward panel that provides brake accumulator pressure

Normal brake accumulator pressure is 3000psi,

Maximum brake accumulator pressure is 3500psi.

Antiskid Protection

Both hydraulic systems A & B through normal and alternate braking provide antiskid protection

Wheel skid,
Locked wheels,
Hydroplane protection.

Under normal braking, when a skid is detected, the antiskid system reduces the related wheel
braking pressure until it is no longer skidding.

Under alternate braking, when a skid is detected, the antiskid system reduces the related pair of
wheels braking pressure until it is no longer skidding.

Example: When alternate braking is in place through hydraulic system A pressure and a
skid is detected in one of the wheels of the left main landing gear, the antiskid system
reduces braking pressure to both wheels of the left main landing gear.

When the speed difference between two wheels is 8 knots or greater, the system treats it as a
skid. When the speed difference between two wheels is 25 knots or greater, the system treats it
as a locked wheel. In both cases the antiskid protection activates.

For added system reliability, antiskid protection is also available when both hydraulic systems
have failed.

There is an antiskid inoperative light in the center forward panel that illuminates when a fault is
detected in the antiskid operation system.
Autobrake System:

Not only can wheel brakes be operated with the rudder pedals but also automatically through
the autobrake system. This system uses hydraulic system B pressure to provide deceleration
during a rejected takeoff (RTO) or after touchdown during landing.

Angle of Attack 2012
Roshan Bhojwani | | 2012

During rejected takeoffs, maximum deceleration is provided by this system when thrust
levers are retarded to idle above 90 knots. If a rejected takeoff occurs below 90 knots,
autobraking will remain armed but will not activate and manual braking will be

During landings, deceleration rates are selectable by the pilots with the AUTOBRAKE
Selector in the center forward panel. Autobrakes only activate when both thrust levers
are at the IDLE position and the main wheels start to spin due to ground contact. If
necessary, autobrakes may also be selected when on ground and at above 30 knots of
ground speed, however, this practice is not recommended.

QUICK TIP: The maximum achievable autobrake deceleration rate on a dry runway is
lower than the maximum possible manual braking.

The autobrake selector has six positions:


There is also an AUTOBRAKE DISARM LIGHT above the autobrake selector. This light comes
on when the autobrake system is switches from armed to disarmed when either:

The Speed Brake lever is moved to a DOWN detent,

Manual braking is applied during an RTO,
Thrust levers are advanced during an RTO,
There is a fault in the autobrake system.

This light also comes on briefly when the RTO mode is selected on ground because the
system performs checks to test the autobrakes.

The autobrake system is designed to bring the airplane to a complete stop, unless the pilot
disarms it by either switching the autobrake selector switch to the OFF position, or:

Moving the speedbrake lever to the DOWN detent,

Advancing the thrust levers,
Applying manual braking.

Each autobrake position has a specific target deceleration rate, outlined in the following table:

Deceleration Rate (ft/s )
1 4
2 5
3 7.2
MAX/RTO 14>80knots, 12<80knots
Source: B737NG Aircraft Maintenance Manual

Parking Brakes

Parking brakes are used to retain the aircrafts position when it is stationary on ground.

Hydraulic systems A or B may pressurize the parking brakes. When one hydraulic system fails,
the other takes command, however, when both hydraulic systems fail, the hydraulic system B
accumulated pressure in the brake accumulator pressurizes parking brakes.

Angle of Attack 2012
Roshan Bhojwani | | 2012

To set parking brakes, both pedals must be fully depressed and the parking brake lever must be
pulled. To release parking brakes, both pedals must be pushed until the parking brake lever

QUICK TIP: Parking brakes should never be set after a high performance stop, such as
after a rejected takeoff or any form of strong braking. A period of 40 to 60 minutes must
be allowed for the hot brake surfaces to fully cool down before attempting to set parking

The parking brake lever is located on the control stand. There is a red warning light next to the
lever to alert the crew that parking brakes are set. This light may also be pushed to test its

When parking brakes are on and takeoff is attempted by advancing either thrust lever forward, a
takeoff configuration warning horn alerts the pilots of this condition.

Lesson Summary

In this lesson we discussed how the landing gear and braking systems work on the 737NGX.
Once again, we saw that most critical systems have splendid redundancy systems to allow
control during any hydraulic power loss or other significant failures.

We also discussed nose wheel steering on ground, as well as the many different protections
available for wheel skid.

It is important to understand the braking systems thoroughly. You dont want to find yourself
hoping that your aircraft will brake in time before encountering a surprise in the end of the

This lesson covered the following topics:

- Landing gear system overview,

- Landing gear extension and retraction,
- Landing gear manual extension,
- Nose wheel steering on ground,
- Wheel Braking system,
- Autobrake system,
- Antiskid protection,
- Parking brakes.

This was the last lesson in the Controls section. Stay tuned for the next lesson on Air Systems,
until then Throttle On!

Angle of Attack 2012