What Is the Impact of Extreme Environmental Conditions on Aircraft?

Aircraft systems are designed to withstand a wide range of environmental conditions during their operational lifespan. However, extreme environmental conditions can pose significant challenges to the performance and safety of aircraft. In this blog, we will explore the impact of these various conditions on aircraft, specifically discussing their effects on ground support equipment (GSE), hydraulic systems and components, landing gear, rivet stems, gaskets, and rubber clamps.

Ground Support Equipment (GSE)

Extreme environmental conditions, such as high temperatures, humidity, or corrosive environments, can have a detrimental effect on ground support equipment. GSE includes various vehicles and machinery used to support aircraft while they are on the ground, allowing personnel to carry out tasks like refueling, maintenance, and more. Exposure to extreme heat can lead to the overheating and damage of electronic components, affecting the overall efficiency of equipment. Similarly, corrosive environments, like coastal areas with high salt content in the air, can cause accelerated corrosion on metal surfaces, reducing the lifespan of GSE. With this in mind, having protection for GSE can be very useful to reduce maintenance time and costs.

Hydraulic Systems and Components

Hydraulic systems are crucial for the operation of various aircraft components, such as landing gear, brakes, and control surfaces. To operate, hydraulic systems take advantage of the incompressible nature of fluids, allowing for the optimal transfer of force for actuation and operations. Extreme temperature fluctuations, especially in freezing conditions, can impact the performance of hydraulic fluids, leading to reduced viscosity and increased risk of system malfunctions. Additionally, extreme heat can cause thermal expansion, potentially damaging seals and gaskets, which could result in leaks and loss of hydraulic fluid.

Landing Gear

Landing gear is subject to significant stress and strain during takeoff, landing, and taxiing operations. While this is typical, extreme environmental conditions can exacerbate the wear and tear on these components. For example, exposure to extreme cold temperatures can cause the contraction of metal parts, potentially leading to cracks or other structural issues which can lead to hazardous situations and costly repairs. Similarly, intense heat can accelerate the degradation of lubricants and elastomeric materials, affecting the smooth operation and reliability of landing gear.

Rivet Stems, Gaskets, and Rubber Clamps

Rivet stems, gaskets, and rubber clamps play a vital role in maintaining the structural integrity and sealing properties of an aircraft. Like other various parts and systems, extreme environmental conditions can affect these components in different ways. For instance, excessive heat can cause rivet stems to expand, potentially compromising their reliability and strength. Meanwhile, freezing temperatures can make products like gaskets brittle, leading to seal failures and potential leaks. Rubber clamps, used for securing various hoses and cables, can also harden and lose their elasticity under extreme temperature conditions, making them less effective in maintaining proper fastening and vibration damping.


As we have discussed, extreme environmental conditions can significantly impact the performance, safety, and longevity of aircraft systems and components. From ground support equipment to hydraulic systems, landing gear, rivet stems, gaskets, and rubber clamps, each component can be affected differently by extreme temperatures, humidity, and corrosive environments. As a result, it is essential for aircraft manufacturers, operators, and maintenance teams to be aware of these potential impacts and take appropriate measures to mitigate them.

Proactive maintenance, regular inspections, and adherence to recommended maintenance procedures are all crucial to ensuring the continued airworthiness of aircraft in extreme environmental conditions. Nevertheless, all parts will eventually need to be replaced, necessitating the need for a reliable source for procurement. Luckily for you, Sourcing Streamlined is an unrivaled source with over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find products ready for purchase at any time. Take the time to explore our expansive set of offerings as you see fit, and you may always take advantage of our online RFQ service to quickly and easily request quotes for your comparisons. Once we have a chance to receive and review a completed form, a member of our staff will contact you in 15 minutes or less to present a tailored solution for your comparisons. Kick off procurement with us today and see why so many customers steadily depend on Sourcing Streamlined for all their operational requirements. 


November 2, 2022

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