Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Aircraft Applications

One of the applications that you won't see Gates support is any primary flight related aircraft application.   Sometimes requests to the Gates Power Transmission Product Application department come from homebuilt aircraft builders or designers - they see the weight and performance advantages of a belt drive and would like to incorporate that technology into their aircraft.

Our answer is always "No".   To quote the official Gates policy regarding aircraft applications:

"Primary In-Flight Aircraft Systems:  Do not use Gates belts, pulleys or sprockets on aircraft, propeller or rotor drive systems  or in-flight accessory drives.  Gates belt drive systems are not intended for aircraft use."

Belt inspections will not be able to reveal how much useable life a belt may have left.  While properly designed belt drives are extremely reliable, considering the statistical distribution of belt failures, even a single failure can have catastrophic results in an airborne application.

So - don't use belts on an airborne application.  Don't ask Gates to provide technical assistance for airborne applications.  We'll be polite in discussing the topic with you, but the message will be as discussed above.

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