Tire blow outs can happen either when a plane takes off or when it lands. What is the most dangerous? The latest aircraft accident that has happened, when a United Airlines Boeing 757-224 landed at Newark Liberty International Airport recently, underlined the fact that aircraft tires are important and when they blow, they can badly damage the plane itself and threaten the lives of passengers and crew.
Flight UA 627, that nearly ran right off the designated runway at Newark, apparently experienced multiple tire punctures. Fortunately, no-one was physically injured as a result of the rather wild ride the plane had on landing. All passengers and crew were reportedly safely evacuated from the plane to the airport arrival lounge.
Aircraft tires are designed for tough use
Some observers say that the landing is the most dangerous for tire blow outs as the plane hits the tarmac hard and fast and then needs to decelerate as it travels down the runway. Most planes hit the runway at or around 180 mph and the tires actually skid on landing before they start to roll. They are built with special grooves to channel the heat released and a mixture of aramid and nylon walls to help make the tires tougher. The tires, of which there may be up to 20 or more per aircraft, are relatively small, but pumped to air pressures far higher than those used on automobile tires.
Other observers say that the greatest danger is not when planes land, like the United Airlines plane, but on taking off. It is at the point of take off that the tires are at their maximum temperature, as they have been rolled on for the length of the runway. Tires on landing, on the other hand, are at their coolest, as the plane has been in the air before hitting the ground.
Tires should not blow out on commercial flights
Whatever the real truth about tire blow outs, the reality is that they can cause potential injuries, and even loss of life if the airplane behaves in an unpredictable manner. Aircraft tires are designed to take the weight of a fully loaded aircraft and the pressure and friction caused when a plane takes off or lands. Airlines are responsible for making sure that every part of their fleet is meticulously maintained to eliminate the possibility of an accident.
Despite the fact that automobile, bus and train travel has consistently proven to be far more dangerous per passenger mile than air travel, aircraft accidents still occur. Sometimes they may be due to new infrastructure which has been introduced too soon, as might be the case with the recent Boeing Max 8 recalls. At other times, it is simple, yet important, components that let the airline down and fail, potentially putting passengers and crew at risk. Aircraft tires may last for 500 take offs and landings, but at what exact point do they become ready for replacement? Is it the 499th take-off or landing or the 510th? How old were UA 627’s tires when they hit the ground at Newark Airport a few days ago?
Tire blow outs may not be as dangerous as other aircraft malfunctions, but they can still cause injuries and even fatalities if the plane is not handled appropriately and skillfully when the blow out is noticed.
Plane accidents may be relatively rare, but they have the potential to be catastrophic when they do occur. Hundreds of people travel on individual planes. When an airline’s plane infrastructure is not up to scratch as appeared to be the case in the recent Boeing Max 8 disasters in Indonesia and Ethiopia, then those hundreds of people may very well end up dead.
You may need an experienced aviation attorney
If you, or a loved one, have been involved in an aviation accident anywhere, you may be entitled to compensation from the airline if you have suffered from a physical injury or even affected psychologically or emotionally. Many passengers who have survived an aircraft crash have experienced symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This disorder is very real and the symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, flashbacks and nightmares can last a long time. Contact renowned aviation accident attorney, Keith Williams, at the Nashville TN based Keith Williams Law Group at (615) 444-2900.