Aircraft can cope with deflated tires

- John Cox

Question: How tricky is it to land with one or more blown tires? How many can you have and still land safely? Is it better to have the front or rear ones blow? – Anonymous

Answer: Most airliners have two or more tires in each position (left main, right main and nose). Certificat­ion standards require that a safe landing can be made with one tire deflated when there are two or more tires in that position.

I have landed with a deflated main gear tire without a problem. There have been cases of airliners landing with a deflated nose gear problem with no difficulti­es. In cases where there are more than two tires on the main gear, such as a large airplane, losing one tire would be less of an issue than one of two nose gear tires.

Q: How do pilots cope with cold/flu season? Can they take over-thecounter meds like cough syrup or Sudafed, etc., within a certain time range before a flight? How far in advance do you have to call in sick? – Anonymous

A: Colds are a challenge for all flight crew members. It is essential that pressure changes in the cabin can be equalized in the inner with clear eustachian tubes. Colds can block those tubes making impossible to equalize the pressure.

Over-the-counter medication­s can help but pilots must be careful about what medication­s are taken before a flight. There are lists of approved medication­s and any restrictio­ns that are available to passengers.

When a flight crew member knows that they will be unable to fly due to illness, including a cold, the sooner they let crew scheduling know the better. In most cases, this happens no later than the day before the trip is scheduled to begin.

John Cox is a retired airline captain with US Airways and runs his own aviation safety consulting company, Safety Operating Systems.

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