Aircraft Pneumatic Systems and Their Benefits

As aircraft have grown increasingly large and complex since the advent of aviation, pilots are often no longer able to manage various flight controls through their own strength alone. In order to assist pilots in achieving the necessary force to actuate various processes and systems, apparatuses such as pneumatic systems have found implementation on many aircraft. Utilizing compressed air within an enclosed space, pneumatic systems can achieve upwards of 3,000 psi of force for carrying out numerous tasks.

Aircraft pneumatic systems are fairly comparable to hydraulic systems, albeit using compressed gas rather than liquids. Despite this, gases are fairly compressible and thus unit designs are determined by the air pressure requirements of the system. With a high pressure pneumatic control system, for example, compressed gases will generally be stored in metal bottles with pressures ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 psi. The air bottle will often have two valves, one which is the charging valve. By connecting a ground-operating compressor to the charge valve, more gas can be added to the system. Meanwhile, the other valve is a control valve that of which acts as a shutoff valve to maintain gas within the metal bottle until it needs to be used.

Due to the nature of pneumatic systems, gas cannot be recharged during flight. As a result, aircraft must rely on the amount of gas that they have stored within the storage cylinder. Because a total loss of pressurized gas would lead to a loss of use for many systems, such pneumatic systems are commonly reserved for emergency situations for the deployment or actuation of landing gear and brakes.

In order to achieve their standard goals, pneumatic systems are composed of various components including air compressors, relief valves, control valves, check valves, restrictors, variable restrictors, filters, moisture separators, and chemical driers. Air compressors are a permanent installation on various aircraft, allowing for air bottles to be recharged when pressure is used. With the various valves that are common to pneumatic systems, gases can be controlled to prevent damage, manage operations, and efficiently direct flow. Meanwhile, other parts such as filters and moisture separators better protect pneumatic systems by ensuring the proper removal of unwanted substances.

Electro-pneumatic control systems are a specialized type of pneumatic system, allowing for air compressors to be managed by switches and solenoid valves. As such, electrical current is used to manage actuator pneumatic parts and processes. With their implementation within an aircraft, more sophistication is achieved in system management.

When there is a pneumatic system present on a particular aircraft, it is important that all parts are regularly serviced, troubleshooted, and replaced as necessary to ensure efficient operations and high performance. Lubricating oils must be checked daily, and the oil tank must be refilled to established levels for proper functionality. Pneumatic systems also must be periodically purged for the removal of various unwanted substances, requiring pressurization to remove foreign matter with airflow. Lastly, all components should be drained to ensure that there is no remaining moisture or impurities.

Pneumatic systems are quite beneficial for the standard operations of many aircraft, allowing for increased power to be achieved for actuation and control. At Paragon Purchasing, we can help you source countless top quality pneumatic system parts and components that have come from leading global manufacturers that we trust. Take the time to explore our vast offerings at your leisure, and our team of industry experts is always readily on standby 24/7x365 to assist you through the purchasing process however necessary. At Paragon Purchasing, we are more than just a dependable parts distributor; we are your strategic sourcing partner for all your operational requirements.


November 20, 2023

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