Landing Gear System Maintenance (Part One)

in Aircraft Landing Gear Systems

The moving parts and dirty environment of the landing gear make this an area of regular maintenance. Because of the stresses and pressures acting on the landing gear, inspection, servicing, and other maintenance becomes a continuous process. The most important job in the maintenance of the aircraft landing gear system is thorough accurate inspections. To properly perform inspections, all surfaces should be cleaned to ensure that no trouble spots are undetected.

Periodically, it is necessary to inspect shock struts, trunnion and brace assemblies and bearings, shimmy dampers, wheels, wheel bearings, tires, and brakes. Landing gear position indicators, lights, and warning horns must also be checked for proper operation. During all inspections and visits to the wheel wells, ensure all ground safety locks are installed.


Other landing gear inspection items include checking emergency control handles and systems for proper position and condition. Inspect landing gear wheels for cleanliness, corrosion, and cracks. Check wheel tie bolts for looseness. Examine anti-skid wiring for deterioration. Check tires for wear, cuts, deterioration, presence of grease or oil, alignment of slippage marks, and proper inflation. Inspect landing gear mechanism for condition, operation, and proper adjustment. Lubricate the landing gear, including the nose wheel steering. Check steering system cables for wear, broken strands, alignment, and safetying. Inspect landing gear shock struts for such conditions as cracks, corrosion, breaks, and security. Where applicable, check brake clearances and wear.

Various types of lubricant are required to lubricate points of friction and wear on landing gear. Specific products to be used are given by the manufacturer in the maintenance manual. Lubrication may be accomplished by hand or with a grease gun. Follow manufacturer’s instructions. Before applying grease to a pressure grease fitting, be sure the fitting is wiped clean of dirt and debris, as well as old hardened grease. Dust and sand mixed with grease produce a very destructive abrasive compound. Wipe off all excess grease while greasing the gear. The piston rods of all exposed strut cylinders and actuating cylinders should be clean at all times.

Periodically, wheel bearings must be removed, cleaned, inspected, and lubricated. When cleaning a wheel bearing, use the recommended cleaning solvent. Do not use gasoline or jet fuel. Dry the bearing by directing a blast of dry air between the rollers. Do not direct the air so that it spins the bearing as without lubrication, this could cause the bearing to fly apart resulting in injury. When inspecting the bearing, check for defects that would render it unserviceable, such as cracks, flaking, broken bearing surfaces, roughness due to impact pressure or surface wear, corrosion or pitting, discoloration from excessive heat, cracked or broken bearing cages, and scored or loose bearing cups or cones that would affect proper seating on the axle or wheel. If any discrepancies are found, replace the bearing with a serviceable unit. Bearings should be lubricated immediately after cleaning and inspection to prevent corrosion.

To lubricate a tapered roller bearing, use a bearing lubrication tool or place a small amount of the approved grease on the palm of the hand. Grasp the bearing with the other hands and press the larger diameter side of the bearing into the grease to force it completely through the space between the bearing rollers and the cone. Gradually turn the bearing so that all of the rollers have been completely packed with grease. [Figure 13-45]

Figure 13-45. Packing grease into a clean, dry bearing can be done by hand in the absence of a bearing grease tool. Press the bearing into the grease on the palm of the hand until it passes completely through the gap between the rollers and the inner race all the way around the bearing.

Figure 13-45. Packing grease into a clean, dry bearing can be done by hand in the absence of a bearing grease tool. Press the bearing into the grease on the palm of the hand until it passes completely through the gap between the rollers and the inner race all the way around the bearing. [click image to enlarge]

Landing Gear Rigging and Adjustment

Occasionally, it becomes necessary to adjust the landing gear switches, doors, linkages, latches, and locks to ensure proper operation of the landing gear system and doors. When landing gear actuating cylinders are replaced and when length adjustments are made, over-travel must be checked. Over-travel is the action of the cylinder piston beyond the movement necessary for landing gear extension and retraction. The additional action operates the landing gear latch mechanisms.

A wide variety of aircraft types and landing gear system designs result in procedures for rigging and adjustment that vary from aircraft to aircraft. Uplock and downlock clearances, linkage adjustments, limit switch adjustments, and other adjustments must be confirmed by the technician in the manufacturer’s maintenance data before taking action. The following examples of various adjustments are given to convey concepts, rather than actual procedures for any particular aircraft.

Adjusting Landing Gear Latches

The adjustment of various latches is a primary concern to the aircraft technician. Latches are generally used in landing gear systems to hold the gear up or down and/or to hold the gear doors open or closed. Despite numerous variations, all latches are designed to do the same thing. They must operate automatically at the proper time, and they must hold the unit in the desired position. A typical landing gear door latch is examined below. Many gear up latches operate similarly. Clearances and dimensional measurements of rollers, shafts, bushings, pins, bolts, etc., are common.

On this particular aircraft, the landing gear door is held closed by two latches. To have the door locked securely, both latches must grip and hold the door tightly against the aircraft structure. The principle components of each latch mechanism are shown in Figure 13-46. They are a hydraulic latch cylinder, a latch hook, a spring loaded crank-and-lever linkage with sector, and the latch hook.

Figure 13-46. An example of a main landing gear door latch mechanism.

Figure 13-46. An example of a main landing gear door latch mechanism. [click image to enlarge]

When hydraulic pressure is applied, the cylinder operates the linkage to engage (or disengage) the hook with (or from) the roller on the gear door. In the gear-down sequence, the hook is disengaged by the spring load on the linkage. In the gear-up sequence, when the closing door is in contact with the latch hook, the cylinder operates the linkage to engage the latch hook with the door roller. Cables on the landing gear emergency extension system are connected to the sector to permit emergency release of the latch rollers. An uplock switch is installed on, and actuated by, each latch to provide a gear up indication in the flight deck.

Figure 13-47. Main landing gear door latch roller clearance measurement and adjustment.

Figure 13-47. Main landing gear door latch roller clearance measurement and adjustment. [click image to enlarge]

With the gear up and the door latched, inspect the latch roller for proper clearance as shown in Figure 13-47A. On this installation, the required clearance is 1⁄8 ± 3⁄32-inch. If the roller is not within tolerance, it may be adjusted by loosening its mounting bolts and raising or lowering the latch roller support. This is accomplished via the elongated holes and serrated locking surfaces of the latch roller support and serrated plate. [Figure 13-47B]