What is NW on Airbus A320? (Nose Wheel)

The nose wheel, also known as the NW, is an essential component of the Airbus A320 aircraft. It is a crucial part of the landing gear system and plays a vital role in supporting the weight of the aircraft during ground operations, taxiing, takeoff, and landing. The nose wheel is located at the front of the aircraft and is responsible for steering the aircraft while on the ground. In this article, we will take an in-depth look into the nose wheel system of the Airbus A320 and its significance in flight operations.

Functions of the Nose Wheel

The nose wheel of the Airbus A320 serves several important functions that are crucial for the safe and efficient operation of the aircraft. Let’s explore these functions in detail:

Supporting Weight

One of the primary functions of the nose wheel is to support the weight of the aircraft. The Airbus A320, like most commercial aircraft, has a tricycle landing gear configuration, consisting of one nose wheel and two main wheels. During the landing and takeoff phases, the majority of the aircraft’s weight rests on the nose wheel. It is designed to withstand high loads and distribute the weight evenly, ensuring stability and balance.

The weight supported by the nose wheel varies depending on factors such as fuel load, payload, and the distribution of weight within the aircraft. On average, the nose wheel of an Airbus A320 can bear a weight ranging from 20,000 to 25,000 pounds.

Steering and Directional Control

Another critical function of the nose wheel is to enable steering and directional control of the aircraft while it is on the ground. The nose wheel can be turned to the left or right, allowing the pilot to maneuver the aircraft during taxiing, parking, and when aligning with the runway for takeoff or landing.

The steering of the nose wheel is achieved through the use of a hydraulic system, which is controlled by the pilot through the aircraft’s cockpit controls. The pilot’s input is transmitted to the nose wheel, allowing it to pivot and change direction as required.

Absorbing Impact and Enhancing Comfort

The nose wheel plays a significant role in absorbing the impact during landing, especially during the nose wheel touchdown. As the aircraft touches down, the nose wheel first makes contact with the runway, followed by the main landing gears. The nose wheel’s shock absorption capabilities help minimize the impact forces and provide a smoother landing experience for passengers and crew.

Additionally, the nose wheel contributes to enhancing the overall comfort of the aircraft during taxiing. It helps in reducing vibrations and unevenness of the runway surface, ensuring a more comfortable experience for everyone on board.

Maintenance and Safety Considerations

Ensuring the proper maintenance and safety of the nose wheel is crucial for the overall performance and safety of the Airbus A320 aircraft. Regular inspections, maintenance checks, and adherence to manufacturer guidelines are essential in this regard.

Inspections and Maintenance

The nose wheel, along with the rest of the landing gear system, undergoes routine inspections and maintenance checks as part of the aircraft’s maintenance program. These inspections include visual inspections, lubrication checks, tire condition checks, and torque checks on various components of the nose wheel assembly.

Certain components of the nose wheel system, such as the steering mechanism and hydraulic lines, require periodic inspections for leakage, wear, and proper functioning. Any anomalies or discrepancies discovered during these inspections are rectified according to the maintenance procedures specified by the aircraft manufacturer.

Safety Considerations

The safety of the nose wheel system is of utmost importance to ensure the overall safety of the aircraft and its occupants. Safety considerations related to the nose wheel of the Airbus A320 include:

1. Tire Pressure: Proper tire pressure is vital for safe ground operations. Monitoring and maintaining the correct tire pressure help prevent tire failures and ensure optimal performance of the nose wheel.

2. Steering System: The steering system of the nose wheel must be regularly inspected and tested for proper functioning. Malfunctions or failures in the steering system can compromise the pilot’s ability to control the aircraft on the ground, leading to safety risks.

3. Brake System: The nose wheel is equipped with brakes that aid in bringing the aircraft to a stop during landing and provide additional control during deceleration. Regular inspections and maintenance of the brake system are essential to ensure its reliability and effectiveness.

4. Runway Surface Conditions: The condition of the runway surface directly affects the performance of the nose wheel during taxiing and landing. It is crucial for pilots to be aware of any runway surface irregularities, such as debris, standing water, or snow, that may impact the safe operation of the nose wheel.


The nose wheel is a critical component of the Airbus A320 aircraft, providing weight support, steering capabilities, and shock absorption during landing. Its maintenance and safety considerations are essential for ensuring the overall performance and safety of the aircraft. By understanding the functions and importance of the nose wheel, pilots, maintenance crews, and passengers can appreciate the role it plays in the smooth operation of the Airbus A320.

To learn more about the Airbus A320 and its nose wheel system, visit the official Airbus website here.

For More: What is ZFCG on Airbus A320? (Zero Fuel Center Of Gravity)