Aircraft landing gear is a hugely important component of any aircraft. Aside from landing, it is also necessary for taxiing and take off. The three main functioning components of aircraft landing gear are the shock-absorber cylinders, shock-absorber pistons, and tires. Unsurprisingly, the shock-absorbers undergo extreme stress as the aircraft touches down, but it’s not always clear how much. Determining the wear on your landing gear is important, as it will inform you when it’s time to repair or replace it.
The shock-absorber cylinder and piston are connected by a joint. This joint has one degree of freedom, meaning it can move in only one direction. To provide passengers with more comfort and ensure the mechanical integrity of the landing gear, the joint is designed with a spring and damper to absorb the brunt of the forces exerted on the landing gear upon touchdown. The shock-absorbers and cylinders work relative to each other, meaning that when the cylinder is at its most displaced position, the stress on the piston is at its highest. As you would guess, the center of the piston is under the greatest stress during landing. When the shock absorbers work to control the stress of landing, the landing components inevitably heat up, with the highest temperatures being present at the connection of the piston and cylinder.
Your aircraft landing gear needs to withstand extreme conditions, so cutting corners on maintenance will only be harmful in the long run. Although proper maintenance may be an annoying cost, it is much cheaper than a massive overhaul. One of the simplest things you can do to maintain your landing gear is to lubricate it. Improper lubrication can make the landing components, already under extreme stress, deteriorate even faster. Another step worth taking is protecting the landing gear from corrosive agents. Products like paint strippers can have hydrogen and other acidic properties which react poorly with the high tensile steel landing gear is made of.
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