Aircraft Electrical Systems – Landing Gear and Flap Motors 

If you are an aircraft enthusiast with an interest in Beechcraft, Cessna, Citation, Piper, Cirrus, or Challenger aircraft, then you are in the right place. 

At AAI, we overhaul and exchange aircraft accessories (especially hard-to-find accessories) for these aircraft brands, which means we have an insider’s view that very few people in the entire world get to see. 

We get an up-close look at the wear and tear created by years of use and hours of flight time. We see the problem parts that are prone to failure, we see the high performing parts that rarely have issues, and we see everything in between. 

So, if you are an aircraft enthusiast (whether you own a private aircraft, are an aircraft mechanic, a pilot, or maybe just have dreams of flying someday) then you will find valuable information in our blog series, An Insider’s Guide to Airplane Parts and Maintenance

Part 1 – Aircraft Fuel System Parts and Maintenance  

Part 2 – Aircraft Hydraulic System Parts and Maintenance   

Part 3 – Flight Control System Maintenance: Trim Tab and Flap Actuators  

Part 4 – Aircraft Landing Gear Repair and Overhaul 

Part 5 – Pneumatic Systems – Vacuum System and De-ice System Maintenance 

Part 6 – Aircraft Electrical Systems – Landing Gear and Flap Motors (this article) 

Be sure to subscribe to our Frequent Flyers Email Newsletter (sent monthly) so that you don’t miss any articles! 

What are aircraft electrical systems? 

An aircraft’s electrical system is made up of three main components: a battery, generator or alternator, and an electrical bus to distribute electrical power. Simply put, an aircraft’s electrical system makes, supplies, and controls electrical power to an aircraft. It is one of the simplest elements of an aircraft and the most integral.  

According to Skybrary, if a plane’s electrical system fails or there is an electric fire, the aircraft could lose all or some primary power generation capability, components and systems powered by the failed bus, individual components, and there could be a loss of the aircraft entirely.  

Part of an aircraft’s electrical system is the landing gear and flap motors, which we’ll be discussing in this article. This is not to be confused with aircraft utilizing hydraulics for landing gear and flap systems, which we covered in part two of our blog series – Aircraft Hydraulic System Parts and Maintenance.  

Being vigilant about the care and maintenance of your aircraft’s electrical systems is important, as a failure could be very dangerous. There are a few reasons electrical systems fail: 

  • Overheating 
  • Wear and tear on wires 
  • Moisture 
  • Deterioration 

The AAI insider’s guide to landing gear motors.

While a hydraulic retractable landing gear utilizes pressurized hydraulic fluid, an electric retractable landing gear uses an electrically driven motor for gear operation. Electric retractable landing gear is lighter weight and requires less maintenance. It is also found on three popular Beechcraft models that use electric motors to operate the landing gear and flap: 

  • Bonanza 
  • Baron  
  • King Air 

Because landing gear on these models are powered through electrical energy, they are prone to heavy wear that breaks down the metal and electrical components. This causes wires and electric brushes to go bad, which in turn causes the armature and field assembly to break down.  

The armature is the rotating part of an electric generator or motor. It is an important part of an electrical system, as it carries the direct current.  

These parts must go through proper cleaning processes and electrical testing to ensure they are in excellent operational condition. There can’t be any shorts and they must be able to withstand the energy that goes through them when in use.  

AAI offers armature rewind so that the entire motor doesn’t have to get thrown away when it is sent in for overhaul. This is more cost effective, and you get a part that is as good as new instead of having to buy a whole new one. 

The AAI insider’s guide to flap motors. 

Aircraft landing gear and flap motors go hand in hand. Flaps are used to generate lift at a slower airspeed, which is useful during takeoff and landing. Flaps can also be controlled hydraulically or electrically.  

Flap motors are part of an electrical system, so they can fail for the same reasons the electrical system as a whole can fail. Buildup of grease or other contaminants, general wear and tear, moisture, and humidity. If the flap motor fails, the pilot will be unable to use flaps during flight and aircraft performance will be degraded.   

It is important that the time between overhaul is 1,000 and 1,500 hours, as recommended by our team at AAI. 

AAI’s maintenance methods for aircraft landing gear and flap motors. 

It is crucial that these aircraft components get the proper and extensive maintenance required to get back in the air safely. 

At AAI, we don’t just remove the parts, clean them, paint them, and then put them back on. These parts must be able to handle the load placed on them by the aircraft, which is why we put the parts through specialized load testing. That way, we know it operates within safe parameters, and you can get your plane back in the air with confidence. 

Because the parts that go inside landing gear and flap motors are so expensive and often unavailable, AAI manufactures our own parts to eliminate that problem. This keeps lead times low and costs down so you can get the parts you need quickly at a price that makes sense. 

AAI recommends a time between overhaul (TBO) of every 1,000-1,500 hours. If you wait too long, your aircraft could experience total landing gear and flap system failure.  

AAI provides FAA certified repairs on electrical landing gear and flap motors. 

There is no room for procrastination when it comes to aircraft electrical system component maintenance. Limited sources for these parts have led to long lead times and high prices. With AAI, you can avoid overpaying and having to wait while your aircraft sits in a hangar for months on end. AAI is one of the only repair stations that can work on these parts and provide a quick and affordable overhaul, but also keeps a healthy stock ready for exchange.  

In addition to landing gear and flap motors, AAI also services tach generators, starters, and alternators, which are all important components when it comes to electrical system maintenance. Regardless of the size or function of a specific part, keeping them maintained so they don’t affect other larger parts and potentially cause system failure is crucial. 

Be sure to sign up for our Frequent Flyers Email Newsletter to get our articles, updates about industry events, and links to our favorite online content delivered right to your inbox every month! 


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