Monthly Archives: May 2011

Boeing tests emergency braking on the 747, stopping the plane at max takeoff weight on a simulated aborted take-off. For the test they only use the braking system, they do not use the reverse thrust of the engines. To make this truly a “worst case” scenario, the brakes that are installed on the airplane have had their braking surfaces machined down to the point they’d need to be replaced.

That the plane is able to stop is impressive, but what makes this even better is to see what they’ve built in to the system to keep an emergency stop from becoming a disaster. The tires automatically deflate to prevent them from exploding, and the wheel and brake assembly is able to contain the tremendous heat that gets generated for five minutes while fire crews stand by.