Failures in Landing Gear Spring Legs
In a spring leg of a main landing gear, large brittle fracture zones indicated a predominately cleavage pattern with some ductile dimples, and a tiny fatigue segment disclosed fine striations. Factors influencing failure were surface decarburization, notch sensitivity of the modified SAE 6150 spring steel, Canada's cold weather which may have had an embrittling effect on the steel, and cumulative fatigue damage from severe landing loads during service life. Replacement with heavier-duty spring legs will probably not eliminate this type of failure, but their use has reduced the number of failures substantially. Precautionary measures recommended to preclude accidents include removal of decarburization, proper operation of main landing gears, and adequate magnetic particle inspection of the legs at the beginning and end of the ski season to detect any fatigue cracks that might develop in attachment holes.