The aircraft landing gear is one of the most critical components of an aircraft, which supports the weight of the aircraft during takeoff, landing, and taxiing. Due to its essential role in the aircraft, landing gear undergoes wear and tear during its lifetime. Therefore, it needs periodic maintenance and overhaul to ensure its safe operation. In this article, we will explain how an aircraft landing gear overhaul works.
What is an Aircraft Landing Gear Overhaul?
An aircraft landing gear overhaul is a process of disassembling, inspecting, repairing, and reassembling the landing gear to ensure its airworthiness. This process aims to restore the landing gear’s operational condition to meet the manufacturer’s specifications and regulatory requirements.
The landing gear overhaul process typically includes the following steps:
To commence the process of overhauling the landing gear, it is necessary to dismantle the gear into its constituent parts, which consist of the wheels, brakes, shock struts, actuators, and other related components. By doing so, it becomes possible to meticulously examine each component for indications of wear, damage, or corrosion, rendering the disassembly procedure crucial.
After disassembling the landing gear components, each component is subjected to a comprehensive inspection to identify any wear or damage. This inspection procedure incorporates non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques, such as magnetic particle inspection, ultrasonic inspection, and X-ray inspection. The purpose of the inspection process is to detect any defects that could potentially cause the landing gear to malfunction during operation, emphasizing its criticality.
Repair and Replacement
After the inspection, the landing gear components that require repair or replacement are identified. Any damaged or worn components are either repaired or replaced with new parts, depending on the severity of the damage. The repair process includes welding, plating, machining, and painting. The replacement parts used in the overhaul process must meet the manufacturer’s specifications and regulatory requirements.
Once the repairs and replacements have been carried out, the landing gear components are assembled back together. This involves fitting new seals, bearings, bushings, and other necessary parts. The process of reassembling must be done in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications to guarantee accurate alignment, torque, and clearances.
After the landing gear has been assembled, it undergoes functional testing to verify its compliance with the manufacturer’s specifications and regulatory standards. The testing encompasses hydraulic pressure testing, shock absorber testing, and load testing. The testing procedure is crucial in guaranteeing the airworthiness and secure operation of the landing gear.
Finally, the overhaul process concludes with the documentation of the entire process. This includes a detailed report of the inspection, repairs, replacements, and testing conducted during the overhaul process. The documentation provides evidence of the overhaul process’s compliance with the manufacturer’s specifications and regulatory requirements.
Why does landing gear need an overhaul?
Overhauling the landing gear is a crucial measure to guarantee the airworthiness and safe functioning of the aircraft. Since the landing gear endures a significant amount of pressure during takeoff, landing, and taxiing, the wear and tear can result in defects that jeopardize its structural integrity and lead to malfunctions during operation. With routine overhauls, the landing gear can remain in service for several years.
The landing gear is also essential for maintaining the aircraft’s stability and directional control during takeoff, landing, and taxiing. A malfunction can cause the aircraft to veer off the runway, leading to a catastrophic accident. Therefore, the landing gear overhaul is crucial to ensure the safe operation of the aircraft.