Effective Braking Techniques – Plane & Pilot Magazine | Aviation

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Using the brakes that are fitted to our airplanes seems like a simple exercise. Most of us recognize the need to slow down, press on the toe pedals, and get the desired response. If a swerve occurs, we’ll modulate the pressures and keep the pointy end forward.

But every so often, an airplane winds up in the rough, off the pavement. We can blame it on brake failure, but all too often, it’s due to blockage in the inner-cranial space. Aircraft brakes do wear out, fade, or leak, but if given proper maintenance, they’ll do their job. We need to do our job as well.

We ask a lot of our lightweight binders, mostly hydraulic unpowered non-anti-skid designs clamping onto steel discs attached to the main gear wheels. After a 100-mph touchdown halfway down the landing surface, we expect them to make up for our ineptitude and rein in a runaway flying machine. To get the most out of their capability, we need to give them a bit of a break [sic].

We can start out by letting them rest until they’re really needed. Proper taxi technique is to restrict speed to permit slowing to a halt by simply reducing power to idle. If you’re rolling faster than that, it’s usually because you’re distracted by some task and not paying attention, not because you need to get airborne before your void time expires. Use only the power necessary to overcome the tires’ friction and pavement gradient.

If you’re stomping on the inside brake to stay on the curve’s centerline stripe, you’ve started into the turn too fast. Plan for the turn, slowing before entering, only bringing up power after nearing its exit into the straightaway. Even if you don’t have nosegear steering, you can swing the airplane around with just a starting toe-tap.

Noise-cancelling headsets are great for preserving our hearing and clarifying ATC instructions, but they mask the excess rpm left over from starting uphill on the ramp. Careless pilots frequently blast their way around the tarmac with…

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