Most people think that the most stressful moment of a landing gear is when the aircraft is taking off or landing. After all, that is when passengers realize the landing gear is their only physical connection to the ground. Indeed, taking off and landing are critical to flight safety, but the most stressful time of the landing gear is during pushback from the gate.
During pushback, the aircraft is fully loaded and a tug operator is pushing the aircraft in reverse to place it on the tarmac. Although most people do not realize this, there is an incredible amount of torque and stresses being induced by the sharp turns and sudden stops caused by the tug. Imagine this being done approximately 18,000 times before the gear comes in for an overhaul.
Overhaul, Spa Time
Of course, from time to time, we all need some time to relax. Landing gear shipsets are no different. Occasionally, these landing gear shipsets head over to a spa. Okay, it may not be as luxurious. They head over to an overhaul shop to de-stress (no massages or cucumbers included). Operators’ maintenance programs vary in the sense that they may remove complete landing gear shipsets at a time or one landing gear leg at a time based on cycles and time in service.
The landing gear overhaul process is a very delicate, rigidly sequenced-operations process that, if done improperly, can have an adverse effect on the life and the operational safety of the aircraft. At a high level, the landing gear need to be disassembled, inspected, reworked as necessary, restore the reworked areas, apply the finishing coatings, assemble, and test. At a micro level, it gets a bit more complicated with life limited parts, traceability, service bulletins, airworthiness directives, specific aircraft configuration, weight, and unique customer requirements.
At this micro level, is where having an experienced team pays off. To achieve success, the team needs to work in unison and support each other. It is critical that the engineers engage with the technicians every step of the way. At GA Telesis, our team has many years of landing gear overhaul experience. They have seen all types of landing gear shipsets during their career. More importantly, they care; they really care about quality and delivering a superb customer experience.
Next time you are sitting on an aircraft and you see the jetway in the distance, remember you just witnessed the most stressful moment of a landing gear shipset, and don’t forget about the technicians that provided the R&R to the landing gears.