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Abstract

After several failed attempts to lower their starboard wheels for landing, pilots engaged the help of gravity through g-force maneuvers and managed to coax the wheels into place. An inspection following the incident revealed a broken universal joint in one of the linkages that opens and closes the doors to the undercarriage compartment. The failed component was removed from the aircraft and examined using optical and electron microscopes. Under low magnification, the fracture surface appeared jagged except for one corner that was relatively smooth. SEM fractography revealed the presence of fatigue striations in the smooth region and dimpling elsewhere. Based on their findings, investigators concluded that fatigue loading initiated a crack in the universal joint that progressed with time and that the final fracture occurred due to bending tensile overload.

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Failure of a Universal Joint in an Undercarriage in an Aircraft, Failure Analysis of Engineering Structures: Methodology and Case Histories, By V. Ramachandran, A.C. Raghuram, R.V. Krishnan, S.K. Bhaumik, ASM International, 2005, p 100–101, https://doi.org/10.31399/asm.tb.faesmch.t51270100

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