Aircraft Landing Gear Design and Manufacturing Challenges
Since 1967, NMG Aerospace was founded on the ability to machine complex aerospace parts. To this day, we still have a deep passion for working closely with our customers to manufacture and supply the highest quality aircraft landing gear components.
Aircraft landing gear systems are one of the most critical components of an aircraft. Designing and manufacturing landing gear components with minimum weight, improved lifecycle, and reducing the cycle time it takes to design and manufacture pose several challenges. Furthermore, this all has to be done while maintaining regulatory and safety requirements. These challenges have been met by employing advanced technologies, materials, and manufacturing processes.
The Purpose of Stringent Design Processes for Aircraft Landing Gear Systems
The purpose of the landing gear in an aircraft is to provide a suspension system during taxi, take-off, and landing. It is designed to absorb and dissipate the force of a landing impact which in turn reduces the stress on the airframe. The landing gear also facilitates the braking system of the aircraft and provides directional control via a steering system.
The design of the landing gear system takes into account several requirements. Strength, stability, rigidity, ground clearance, and control all come into play during the initial design process. All of these requirements must meet the Airworthiness Regulations set by the FAA for the purpose of operational safety.
The aircraft landing gear should be manufactured to a minimum volume or size in order to reduce the space requirements while the landing gear is stowed during flight. Space is one of the most important constraints to work with, especially with military aircraft. The weight of the landing gear system is also taken into consideration in order to maximize the performance of the aircraft. The challenge is to reduce the weight of the landing gear without compromising on the function, performance, and safety. Lastly, the service life of the landing gear should be equal to the service life of the aircraft. Longer service life reduces operating and maintenance costs of the end-user.
Aircraft Landing Gear Technology is Continuously Evolving
A landing gear system consists of many components, many of which NMG Aerospace designs and manufactures. The main structural components of a landing gear system are the shock absorber, axle, torque links, side braces, retraction actuators, wheels, and tires. System components consist of the brake system, anti-skid systems, retraction systems, and steering systems.
The steering systems of modern aircraft are moving towards an electronic control system, thereby replacing the older hydro-mechanical systems. The electronic control systems have the advantage of the ability to incorporate changes in technical parameters, such as steering rate and steering ratio.
As with the steering systems, electric actuation systems have been replacing the older conventional hydraulic systems. Electric systems are lighter in weight and overcome the safety issues of leaking and fire hazards.
The antiskid brake systems are now electronically controlled and the older mechanical systems are being upgraded. The newer electronic systems are more efficient and, for the most part, maintenance-free.
Summary of Aircraft Landing Gear Technologies and Manufacturing
Landing gear manufacturing involves the constant evolution of machined components from high-strength steels, titanium, and aluminum alloys. Precise tolerances are required for all aircraft landing gear components such as the actuators, axles, shock absorbers, and wheels. The heat treatment of the metal parts is most commonly performed after the initial rough machining. Then the final machining, plating, and painting are completed. The reliability of all aircraft landing gear components are enhanced through very strict quality assurance and safety requirements.
For example, NMG Aerospace produces components for the nose wheel of the Boeing 787 out of a lightweight and stronger Titanium material. Specifically, NMG uses Titanium 5553 for the landing gear material. Milling and drilling Titanium 5553 can be a very difficult process for many machine shops, but NMG has come up with a specialty tool to enable them to process the material with ease. Having that tool allows them to increase their production of landing gear components for the Boeing 787 commercial aircraft while maintaining the quality and safety requirements.
We are proud to partner with our customers, ensuring you have a safe landing time after time with products machined by NMG Aerospace. You can continue to rely on us to deliver at the highest standards of quality and performance. We will continue to test, evaluate, and implement the use of higher strength materials and technologies to steer landing gear design into the future.
Why Choose NMG Aerospace
NMG Aerospace is a privately-owned aerospace company offering engineering, design, and manufacturing services. As a mid-sized, independent company, we are able to maintain low overhead and, thus, offer highly competitive pricing.
Our relatively smaller size allows us to react quickly to changes in customer requirements and easily scale up production. We have the same experience, equipment, and full range of services as the large manufacturers but with the added flexibility to respond to customer requests quickly.
At NMG Aerospace, there is a continuous focus on improving our technology, equipment, and manufacturing processes as well as the experience, training, and expertise of our team members. We are innovators, applying the latest technology and quality improvements at every stage of engineering and production. You can depend on NMG’s 50+ years of experience in aerospace manufacturing to deliver the products that meet the standards of leading international defense and aviation organizations.