Aircraft Nose Wheel Assemblies: Actuation and Operations

When taxiing on a runway for various ground operations, aircraft rely on the nose wheel and actuator nose assembly in order to direct the aircraft through steering. From small general aviation aircraft to large commercial airliners, various nose wheel configurations may be used to achieve the capability of steering and each will present different components and actuating systems to ensure smooth operations. In this blog, we will provide an overview of the common nose wheel steering systems and actuator nose components that benefit various aircraft types.

For small aircraft, mechanical linkages serve as the control system for steering capability. By utilizing the rudder pedals located within the cockpit, the actuator nose gear components will cause movement in the pedal horns to be transferred to the strut posting axle and wheel assembly. Based on which pedals were depressed, the heel assembly will rotate left or right in response.

For larger aircraft that have increased mass as well as require positive control, a power source is needed to efficiently steer with the actuator nose assembly. The power source that is most commonly used is hydraulics, though other methods may be relied upon as well. Despite there being a variety of assembly designs that may be found across aircraft models, the components used in such systems will often overlap. For many assemblies, a wheel, tiller, or joystick may be used for steering in lieu of rudder pedals.

When using an aircraft that features a hydraulic assembly, the control unit transfers pressurized hydraulic fluids to one or two actuator nose components that then rotate the lower strut. Pressure is maintained with the use of an accumulator and relief valve, and this allows for the steering actuating cylinders to also serve as shimmy dampers. With the use of a follow-up mechanism, the metering valve can be returned to a neutral state upon reaching the steering angle. For many aircraft, there may also be an input system implemented for the rudder pedals, allowing for the pilot to make small turns while conducting high speed takeoff and landing procedures. In the case of a hydraulic failure, all systems will most likely have safety valves that can relieve pressure so that the nose wheel can turn as needed.

For some larger commercial aircraft, dual nose wheel mechanisms are becoming popular due to the theoretical improvements that they offer. With the dual actuator nose steering mechanism, a larger steer torque can be achieved while utilizing the same amount of hydraulic pressure as a gear-rack configuration. Electrohydraulic steering systems can also be beneficial for many uses, and they are lightweight and easy to maintain. Electrohydraulic servo systems also provide both steering and shimmy damping functionalities, and steering may be conducted with the hand wheel or the rudder pedals. The hand wheel is most often used during slow operations as its angle of steering is limited by speed. During higher speed operations, the rudder pedals are then used to steer the nose wheel.

With the various types of nose wheel assemblies and their related equipment, pilots can ensure that every ground operation is conducted safely with the ability to govern the aircraft’s direction. When you are searching for high quality actuator nose door mod parts, actuator nose door components, actuator nose gear products, and more, look no further than Aviation Gamut. On our website, customers can find countless new, used, and obsolete items that have been sourced from leading manufacturers such as Beechcraft Inc and Boeing. As you explore our inventory, we invite you to fill out and submit an Instant RFQ form for the items that you are most interested in. Upon receiving your request, a dedicated account manager will reach out to you in 15 minutes or less to provide a personalized quote that caters to your individual needs.


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September 28, 2021

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