Monday, 26 April 2010

Brakes And Undercarriage

Due to a high average takeoff speed of 250 miles per hour (400 km/h), Concorde needed upgraded brakes. Like most airliners, Concorde has anti-skid braking – a system which prevents the tyres from losing traction when the brakes are applied for greater control during roll-out. The brakes, developed by Dunlop, were the first carbon-based brakes used on an airliner. They could bring Concorde to a stop from an aborted takeoff within one mile (1600 m), when weighing up to 185 tons (188 tonnes) and travelling at 190 miles per hour (310 km/h). This braking manoeuvre brought the brakes to temperatures of 300–500 °C, requiring several hours for cooling.

Another issue uncovered during development was the undercarriage. Because of the way Concorde's delta-wing generated lift, the undercarriage had to be unusually strong. At rotation, Concorde would rise to a high angle of attack, about 18 degrees. Prior to rotation the wing generated almost no lift, unlike typical aircraft wings. Combined with the high airspeed at rotation (199 KIAS), this significantly increased the stress on the rear undercarriage and later required a major redesign.

The rear undercarriages swing towards each other to be stowed but due to their great height also need to retract telescopically before swinging, in order to clear each other when stowed.

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