The following figure shows the typical A320 landing gear layout.
But the picture below is somewhat surprising. Although this Air India A320 has the same three-point layout, it has 10 wheels, and its main landing gear is two groups of four-wheeled car landing gear.
People with a little knowledge of aviation will know that in civil aviation aircraft, car landing gear is usually only seen in wide-body and heavy-weight aircraft because of its stronger carrying capacity.
Multiple sets of landing gear on 747
In fact, for the vast majority of people flying over the A320 in the world, they should not have experienced such a special landing gear layout. But this model of A320 does exist. It is a special edition for India.
Nevertheless, even Indians cant experience it now, because the planes were sealed up two or three years ago. The A320 flying over India is now a normal six-wheel version.
Air Indias A320neo
The history of the Indian car landing gear A320 is interesting.
The origin of these airliners goes back to Indian Airlines.
Indian Airlines was a major domestic airline company in India. It was founded in the 1950s and merged with Air India in 2007.
In the 1980s, under the influence of government-supported monopoly policies, Indian aviation developed rapidly and sought to order a number of narrow-body jets for domestic airline operations.
At that time, India was not perfect in infrastructure construction, and runways in many places had not even been paved, which hindered the modernization of civil aviation in India.
However, Indian Airlines has found a solution. When it introduced the first A320-200 passenger aircraft that year, it asked for the A320 to be converted into a car landing gear.
Compared with the original A320 landing gear, the car landing gear has stronger load-carrying capacity and stronger adaptability to the runway. In this way, even in the future, Indian Airlines will be able to use jet airliners when it opens flights to less-constructed airports.
The order covers 31 aircraft, with delivery concentrated in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Later deliveries return to normal
However, in fact, these airliners have become out of print.
Indian Airlines wanted to launch the aircraft at the airport in northeastern India, but later switched to 737-200 for these missions. And because other airports in India are building faster than expected, the envisaged flight to unpaved runway airports has not happened.
It can be noted that other Indian Airlines A320 used the normal version of the landing gear at that time.
The main landing gear supplier stopped producing related products, and the subsequent A320 of Indian Airlines also returned to the normal version. Some of the A320, which is already the 4 + 4 version of the main landing gear, are also planned to return to the normal layout.
Following the merger of Indian Airlines and Indian Airlines, the aircraft also joined the Indian Air Fleet and served until storage. Thats why no other airline company has the opportunity to operate the aircraft.
Picture of the original Indian Airlines A320 painted by Air India: Steven Byles
In fact, it seems that Indian aviation companies at that time did a little bit of remedy. How many passengers would like to land at an airport that hasnt been perfectly built, even with a car landing gear?
Even now, Indian flights often have problems with off-track or blowout tires on the runway. When you think about it, you can see that this is not a problem that can be solved just by refitting an aircraft.
Source: Liable Editor of Netease Aviation Special Paper: Lin Zhiheng_NY9285