Aircraft component for takeoff and landing and which supports the aircraft while not in the air / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Landing gear is the undercarriage of an aircraft or spacecraft that is used for takeoff or landing. For aircraft it is generally needed for both. It was also formerly called alighting gear by some manufacturers, such as the Glenn L. Martin Company. For aircraft, Stinton makes the terminology distinction undercarriage (British) = landing gear (US).
For aircraft, the landing gear supports the craft when it is not flying, allowing it to take off, land, and taxi without damage. Wheeled landing gear is the most common, with skis or floats needed to operate from snow/ice/water and skids for vertical operation on land. Faster aircraft have retractable undercarriages, which fold away during flight to reduce drag.
Some unusual landing gear have been evaluated experimentally. These include: no landing gear (to save weight), made possible by operating from a catapult cradle and flexible landing deck: air cushion (to enable operation over a wide range of ground obstacles and water/snow/ice); tracked (to reduce runway loading).
For launch vehicles and spacecraft landers, the landing gear usually only supports the vehicle on landing, and is not used for takeoff or surface movement.
Given their varied designs and applications, there exists dozens of specialized landing gear manufacturers. The three largest are Safran Landing Systems, Collins Aerospace (part of Raytheon Technologies) and Héroux-Devtek.