Kick the Tires and Light the Fires

Maintenance practices include proper installation, inflation, and removal

Asked if he had any training tips, he recommended that they always follow the Goodyear Tire Care and Maintenance Manual and call with any questions and concerns about Goodyear Aviation Tires. He also shared his list of tire tips that he includes in his IA renewal training (see “Ten Tips”).

Tire maintenance in business aviation

It is always interesting to learn how the aircraft OEMs support their customers and staff. I asked Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. if it would give its perspective on tire care and maintenance. A team of professionals that included Mark Fulkerson, technical specialist II; and Fred Karst, director, services engineering, provided a quick response.

According to the Gulfstream team, “Tire service life in general is trending up. Increased attention to maintenance, and the manufacturers’ dedication to improve tire tread compounds and manufacturing processes, have resulted in an increase in the number of landings per tire. A vast majority of “early removals” are due to FOD, not tire wear. The increased awareness to proper care and maintenance seems to really be paying dividends for everyone.”

When asked about tire care and maintenance training for its customers and staff, it partners with FlightSafety International for both customer and staff training. FlightSafety’s Total Technical Training is an aircraft systems training program for all Gulfstream aircraft delivered at its joint Maintenance Training Center in Savannah, GA.

New maintenance issues

Asked if Gulfstream is seeing any new problems in tire care and maintenance, they stated a concern about some of the current tire cleaning practices. “Everyone likes to see shiny new looking tires on their Gulfstream. The problem is with some of the chemicals used to make them shine. The harsher cleaners actually remove waxes and oils from the outer surface of the tire, which help protect the rubber from ozone attack. In addition, these products are usually applied heavily and by spraying. The overspray can lead to corrosion on the landing gear, wheels and brakes, even affecting braking performance.”

Their final recommendation was to remember that underinflation is the No. 1 tire maintenance issue and it’s 100 percent avoidable. They presented a seven-step job-aid to help with this issue:

7 Easy Steps to Proper Inflation

1. Check pressure daily when tires are cool.

2. Use dry nitrogen.

3. Allow for a 12-hour stretch after mounting.

4. Never reduce pressure on a hot tire.

5. Equal pressure on each gear.

6. Use a quality, accurate, properly calibrated gauge.

7. Consult aircraft maintenance manuals for proper levels.

The message is clear, don’t just kick the tires, service them. If you want a safe tire and a long service life for your aircraft tires, check pressure frequently and keep tires inflated to the appropriate pressure.

If you access the Goodyear Aviation Tire home page you will find two excellent training videos: “Aircraft Tire & Maintenance Training — Tire Types, Reading a Sidewall & Proper Mounting & Inflation” and “Aircraft Tire & Maintenance Training — Operating Conditions and In-Service Inspections.” Field Editor Charles Chandler is based in Michigan.

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