Why Does the Aviation Industry Use Hydraulic Systems?

Aircraft feature numerous structures that regulate different components necessary for their operation. For example, aviation hydraulic systems assist planes while they take off, fly, and land. Though pneumatic systems may also be used, aviation hydraulic systems tend to be popular because they are far more reliable than any alternative, and they offer an ideal amount of pressure for particular aircraft operations. As such, they are used to operate aircraft equipment like the brakes, thrust reversers, flight controls, and landing gear. Moreover, hydraulic systems are preferred for their tendency to use non-compressible liquids, meaning that they do not cause a delay in movement, as is the case for pneumatic systems. The following article will explore hydraulic systems and the advantages of using them.

Hydraulic systems feature a number of basic components. To start, a pump works to generate the power that pressurizes the system, while a reservoir stores the fluids used within the structure. Next, one of the most important components is the actuating cylinder, which is where the system’s work is performed by converting fluid pressure and flow into mechanical force. The pressure relief valve protects the entire system from becoming over-pressurized, while various flow control devices direct the movement of fluids in and out of the cylinder. Finally, a heat exchanger helps to maintain hydraulic fluids at their proper operating temperature.

Used to maintain the functionality of hydraulic systems, hydraulic fluids tend to be found in three main variations: mineral-based fluids, vegetable-based fluids, and synthetic-based fluids. Mineral-based fluids are kerosene petrochemical products that have been dyed red, and they efficiently prevent foaming and corrosion by providing excellent lubrication. These types of fluids are often used because they are stable and can withstand temperature changes, meaning they are most compatible with smaller aircraft hydraulics systems. As the next material, vegetable-based fluids are often blue-dyed castor oils. Despite their effectiveness, vegetable-based fluids also have the potential to cause sludge and corrosion, which is why they have been slowly phased out of use over the years. Next, synthetic-based fluids are often dyed purple and composed of a man-made phosphate called ester. Although it tends to be used on larger transport aircraft, synthetic-based fluid degrades plastics, insulation, and wiring over time.

There are numerous benefits to using aviation hydraulics, including their cost-effectiveness and reliability. These systems are inexpensive to install and maintain while also being energy efficient since they run continuously at a constant speed to generate enough power to operate. One of the top benefits is that they are dependable; this is because their mechanics are simple, making repairs and usage easy. Hydraulics systems also provide a fast response to control inputs which is essential to achieving safe flight, especially in poor weather conditions. A final plus to using aviation hydraulics systems is that the fluid is not susceptible to compression, meaning that pressure transmission during takeoff and landing is significant.

It is also important to note that hydraulic equipment is essential for certain aircraft’s ability to use its landing gear. They work to control landing gear retraction systems by using pressurized hydraulic fluid to actuate the linkages meant to raise and lower the assembly. Once the landing gear is initiated, hydraulic fluid is sent to the ‘gear-up’ line through sequenced valves and down to the gear actuating cylinders, thereby triggering the landing gear to go up.

If you are in the market for high-quality aircraft hydraulic system parts and other aerospace components, you can rely on Just Parts Unlimited to meet your operational requirements. With more than 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find products available for your immediate purchase in our inventory, we have what you need to restore the airworthiness of your aircraft. Regardless of your needs, our dedicated team members will assist you through any stage of the parts procurement process, so do not hesitate to call us to get started today!


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