If you are an aircraft enthusiast with an interest in Beechcraft, Cessna, Citation, Piper, Cirrus, or Bombardier 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.
Here are all the articles in the series so far:
Part 4 – Aircraft Landing Gear Repair and Overhaul (this article)
Be sure to subscribe to our Frequent Flyers Email Newsletter (sent monthly) so that you don’t miss any articles!
What is an airplane landing gear?
A landing gear is located on the undercarriage of an aircraft and is used for takeoff, landing and taxiing. On a small aircraft, the landing gear has three wheels: two main wheels and a third wheel located on either the front or rear of the plane.
The most common type of landing gear is a tricycle landing gear, which has several advantages and is located under the fuselage and nose of an aircraft. A landing gear is arguably one of the most important aircraft components, as it absorbs impact, provides a suspension system, and facilitates braking and steering of the aircraft.
The AAI insider’s guide to landing gears.
Despite taking extreme abuse each time a plane takes off or lands, the landing gear is often overlooked when it comes to aircraft maintenance. Smaller planes manufactured by Beechcraft, Cessna, and Piper might get repairs when there is something wrong, but scheduled maintenance is not usually top of mind. Because of this, problems with the plane’s landing gear can go unnoticed for an extended period, causing the damage to worsen.
More complex landing gears on business class aircraft from manufacturers like Citation, Bombardiers, and Embraear get inspected more often, typically every 5-10 years. These planes have a scheduled maintenance period, so they send the whole landing gear, which we at AAI break down and inspect in detail. After the inspection and any needed repairs, it is reassembled and sent back to be reinstalled.
So, how does a landing gear work? While there are many types of landing gear, we will focus on Shock struts. Often called oleo or air/oil struts, it uses a combination of nitrogen (or sometimes compressed air) and hydraulic fluid to absorb and dissipate shock loads on landing. Shock struts use two telescoping cylinders, both of which are closed at the external ends. The top cylinder is attached to the aircraft, and the bottom cylinder is attached to the landing gear wheels. The bottom cylinder, typically called the piston, can also freely slide in and out of the upper cylinder, absorbing the load of the aircraft.
Landing gears are prone to corrosion.
Like we mentioned earlier, landing gears take a lot of abuse and therefore are prone to corrosion. It is important to check for wear and make sure the inspections are detailed and nondestructive.
How can you better care for your landing gear parts? Here are some tips:
- Keep the landing gear on your aircraft lubricated in order to prevent excessive wear.
- Wipe the landing gear regularly to get rid of moisture.
- Check the landing gear regularly for any cracks, wear, or deterioration.
It is also important to pay close attention to the smaller, seemingly unimportant parts of your landing gear. When small parts like bushings and bearings wear out, the larger components start to wear out as well leading to costly repairs down the road. At AAI, we complete nondestructive and detailed inspection for damage like cracks that are impossible to see with the naked eye. AAI also has the ability to repair corrosion problems by offering replating on chrome or cadmium plated surfaces.
AAI provides FAA certified repairs and inspections on landing gears.
There’s no part too small when it comes to keeping your landing gear maintained for safe operation. Detailed, thorough, and expert work is required to get the job done the right way. At AAI, we know your ultimate goal is to get your plane fixed so you can fly. That’s why we go above and beyond to help you avoid extra costs by creating repairs and manufacturing the parts on your aircraft that are prone to corrosion and wear, like landing gear components.
When it comes to landing gear repair and overhaul, quick turnaround times are important. You don’t want a hangar full of planes propped up on jacks, creating a traffic jam for everyone trying to maneuver around them. AAI completes landing gear inspections and repairs in-house so that parts get turned around quickly and you can return your aircraft to normal operation.
Do you have questions about AAI’s process or available parts? Check out our website or contact us for more information and 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.