by Jonathan M. Stern
Depending on the environment of planned use for an airplane, the landing gear can consist of floats, skis, or, as in the case with Flight Simulator, wheels. There are basically two types of wheel landing gear:
- Tricycle gear, where there are two main wheels and a nose wheel. This is the most common arrangement on modern airplanes.
- Conventional gear, or tail-dragger gear, which by today's standards is a misnomer because it is the more unconventional of the two. A conventional gear airplane has two main wheels and a tail wheel.
Flight Simulator's Sopwith Camel is an example of a conventional gear airplane while the Lear 35 and Cessna 182 are tricycle-gear airplanes (see Figure 2.8).
Figure 2.8. The Sopwith Camel is one example of a tail-dragger.
Tricycle landing gear offers several advantages over conventional gear:
- The visibility during takeoff and landing is far better with a tricycle gear equipped airplane.
- Tricycle gear airplanes have less of a tendency to ground loop, which is where the airplane unexpectedly swerves to one side or the other.
- A tricycle gear airplane permits more vigorous use of brakes without threatening to pitch forward onto the nose or the propeller.