Also known as the undercarriage, the landing gear is the part of an airplane that supports the weight of the aircraft while it is on the ground and during takeoff. It consists of, among other things, hydraulic systems, wheels, tires, steering devices, brakes, and retracting mechanisms. If your plane experiences a hard landing, the landing gear may be damaged. There are four signs to look out for that will tell you if the landing gear needs to be changed.
1. A Random Inspection Reveals Metal Fatigue Cracks on the Plane’s Landing Gear Because of Its Inadequate Service Life
If there are metal fatigue cracks on the plane’s landing gear, it means that the gears have reached a point where they’ve lost strength, meaning that the aircraft has been in service for several years without sufficient care and maintenance. At this point, one of these cracks will inevitably lead to a fracture sooner or later and cause even greater problems with the landing gear and the overall safety of the entire plane. As such, there is a need for replacement.
2. When the Plane Lands and the Pilot Applies Pressure on the Brakes, the Wheels Start To Emit a Screeching Sound
If an aircraft’s landing gear has been worn out, its brake disks will wear out as well, and that is when the turning of the brake disk will become wobbly. This will result in the screeching noise coming from the brakes once pressure is applied, and it becomes a telltale sign that some of the landing gear’s components need to be replaced.
3. The Aircraft Is Airborne, and the Pilot Uses His or Her Yoke To Take Control of the Plane, but at a Certain Altitude, the Nose of the Plane Suddenly Dips Down
When an aircraft’s landing gear cannot hold the entire plane’s weight, the plane’s nose may drop. This causes a sudden loss in airspeed and possible stall warnings to be triggered by the aircraft. If this happens, it shows that the plane’s landing gear needs to be replaced.
4. Landing Gear Fails To Retract
When the landing gear fails to retract, it is a sign that the hydraulic lines connecting the landing gear to the airplane have become leaky or worn out. This phenomenon is usually caused by the hydraulic lines oxidizing. When this happens, the performance of the plane is reduced considerably. Although this problem can be fixed at the destination, repeated occurrences should be addressed by replacing landing gear locks.
Replacing a plane’s landing gear is vital to maintaining its condition. If it is not replaced, the plane’s performance would be further reduced or jeopardize its safety. With the four signs explained above, an average pilot can spot a problem in his or her plane’s landing gear that signifies the need for replacement and act accordingly. If you experience any of these warning signs pertaining to a plane’s landing gear, it’s imperative that you make the effort to replace it immediately.