Failure Analysis of Aircraft Landing Gear Components
Despite extensive aircraft landing gear design analyses and tests performed by designers and manufacturers, and the large number of trouble-free landings, aircraft users have experienced problems with and failures of landing gear components. Different data banks and over 200 failure analysis reports were surveyed to provide an overview of structural landing gear component failures as experienced by the Canadian Forces over the last 20 years on more than 20 aircraft types, and to assess trends in failure mechanisms and causes. Case histories were selected to illustrate typical problems, troublesome failure mechanisms, the role of high strength aluminum alloys and steels, and situations where fracture mechanics analyses provided insight into the failures. The two main failure mechanisms were: fatigue occurring mainly in steel components, and corrosion related problems with aluminum alloys. Very few overload failures were noted. A number of causes were identified: design deficiencies and manufacturing defects leading mainly to fatigue failures, and poor materials selection and improper maintenance as the principal causes of corrosion-related failures. The survey showed that a proper understanding of the failure mechanisms and causes, by thorough failure analysis, provides valuable feedback information to designers, operators and maintenance personnel for appropriate corrective actions to be taken.