The word “hydraulics” is based on the Greek word for water and originally meant the study of the physical behavior of water at rest and in motion. Today, the meaning has been expanded to include the physical behavior of all liquids, including hydraulic fluid. Hydraulic systems are not new to aviation. Early aircraft had hydraulic brake systems. As aircraft became more sophisticated, newer systems with hydraulic power were developed.
Hydraulic systems in aircraft provide a means for the operation of aircraft components. The operation of landing gear, flaps, flight control surfaces, and brakes is largely accomplished with hydraulic power systems. Hydraulic system complexity varies from small aircraft that require fluid only for manual operation of the wheel brakes to large transport aircraft where the systems are large and complex. To achieve the necessary redundancy and reliability, the system may consist of several subsystems. Each subsystem has a power generating device (pump), reservoir, accumulator, heat exchanger, filtering system, etc. System operating pressure may vary from a couple hundred pounds per square inch (psi) in small aircraft and rotorcraft to 5,000 psi in large transports.
- Hydraulic Fluid
- Types of Hydraulic Fluids
- Basic Hydraulic Systems
- Hydraulic System Components (Part One)
- Hydraulic System Components (Part Two)
- Hydraulic Power Systems – Filters
- Hydraulic Power Systems – Pumps (Part One)
- Hydraulic Power Systems – Pumps (Part Two)
- Hydraulic Power Systems – Pumps (Part Three)
- Hydraulic Power Systems – Valves (Part One)
- Hydraulic Power Systems – Valves (Part Two)
- Hydraulic Power Systems – Valves (Part Three)
- Hydraulic Power Systems – Accumulators
- Hydraulic Power Systems – Heat Exchangers and Actuators
- Hydraulic Power Systems – Miscellaneous
- Large Aircraft Hydraulic Systems – Boeing 737 Next Generation Hydraulic System
- Large Aircraft Hydraulic Systems – Boeing 777 Hydraulic System
- Aircraft Pneumatic Systems (Part One)
- Aircraft Pneumatic Systems (Part Two)
Hydraulic systems have many advantages as power sources for operating various aircraft units; they combine the advantages of light weight, ease of installation, simplification of inspection, and minimum maintenance requirements. Hydraulic operations are also almost 100 percent efficient, with only negligible loss due to fluid friction.