Here’s Why Some Air India Airbus A320s Have Extra Wheels

There are many interesting tidbits in the aviation world. A while back, someone got a little curious about the landing gear on an Air India A320, as some of Air India’s Airbus A320 aircraft have a little addition to their landing gear. You may not notice it at first, but some of Air India’s Airbus A320s have extra wheels. Take a look:

Air India A320
Some of Air India’s A320 have additional wheels on their landing gear. Photo: Steven Byles via Flickr

These additional wheels do serve a purpose. As this user on Stack Exchange found out, this is because of an infrastructure-related issue at some Indian airports. However, these are not common across A320s and only affect a small number of Airbus A320 aircraft in service.

A320 landing gear

Obviously, the aircraft gear serves a critical role. The A320 is not the heaviest aircraft in the world, but it does still carry substantial weight. During landing, taxi, or takeoff, this can cause stress on the runway pavement. As it turns out, some of India’s pavements have a lower classification number. The classification number gives details relating to the strength of the pavement and the amount of weight it can handle. Due to this lower classification number, the load of the aircraft has to be distributed across multiple wheels. Thus, some of Air India’s A320s have an additional set of wheels.

For reference, here is what the normal landing gear looks like on another Air India Airbus A320neo.

Air India
Not all of Air India’s Airbus A320s have extra wheels. Photo: Airbus

The newer A320s do not have extra wheels. This is because of infrastructure updates that have come over time. Stronger pavements can handle a heavier aircraft.

Do most A320s need extra wheels?

The answer is no. Few A320s actually have an extra set of wheels. Unlike widebodies, narrowbodies usually only have two main wheels. Furthermore, most modern-day airports are designed to handle aircraft like A320s.

Landing gear
Most aircraft do not require additional wheels. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Nowadays, widebodies are the only aircraft to have more than two main landing wheels. Naturally, widebodies are far heavier than narrowbodies due to a larger structure and additional passenger capacity.

Overall

Most people probably do not realize how many wheels their plane has. Indeed, finding an Air India A320 (or any A320, really) with extra wheels can be a little treat for avgeeks. Although, you would have to travel pretty far to find these select aircraft. If you do travel on one of these planes, you probably will not notice much of a difference in the passenger experience.

Have you ever flown on an Air India A320 with extra wheels? Have you seen extra wheels on any other airline’s A320s? Let us know in the comments!

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