BlueJuice From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 264 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2676 times:
I'm guessing not. Not enough rubber on pavement to spread the load while keeping the wheel diameter within reason. Can't imagine such a large wheel being cost effective.
I recall the B-36 Peacemaker originally had a single 9' diameter wheel on the main landing gear. Only 3 runways at the time could support the beast. The MLG was redesigned with 4 wheels bogies and eased the problem of too much pressure on runways.
spacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3750 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 2326 times:
Yeah the issue is the runways at most airports. It's not so much the plane itself. I remember reading something about the 777 or 767 when it was being designed and how LGA's runways actually needed to be strengthened just for it - and it has bogied wheels. (LGA's runways are partially on piers.). The 777 was initially intended to operate at LGA - one of the reasons for the folding wing option - so it wouldn't be as strange as it sounds to say that now.
The issue is the weight per wheel. When you start subtracting wheels, you start adding to the weight on any given wheel, until you reach the breaking point of the runway for that little contact patch where the tire is resting on it. Runways are all designed to withstand X number of lbs. per wheel, and airliners are therefore designed to have the commensurate number of wheels to distribute that weight given the airports the airliner is intended to fly into.
So basically, unless you rebuild all the major airports' runways all around the world, then no, I don't think we'll be seeing a six wheel widebody any time soon.
[Edited 2011-10-21 19:14:37]
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