The Expansion of Duncan Aviation's Landing Gear Service
Landing gear overhaul/inspection/restoration is a commodity service. Any shop that has received an OEM Maintenance Manual and follows FAA standards is free to advertise that it can inspect and overhaul aircraft landing gear. But the reality is that not all landing gear service is equal. There are many additional service and capability requirements related to landing gear maintenance that can cut expenses and downtime but that can’t be found at every aircraft landing gear shop. The landing gear is a behind-the-scenes inspection, most often scheduled alongside, but taking a backseat to, a major airframe inspection. However, it can have a huge impact on the entire project’s schedule if the landing gear restoration runs into major squawks.
Duncan Aviation’s Manager of Accessory Services Marty Lincoln has invested heavily in the landing gear customer. “I understand full well the impact a landing gear overhaul has on an airframe inspection. After all, an aircraft can’t go anywhere without its legs. Everything we do, we do it for them.” Marty is always looking for ways to improve the efficiencies in the Accessory Shop, bolstering capabilities and improving safety. These efforts translate into huge savings in labor hours, out-the-door costs and warranty claims.
DUNCAN AVIATION COMPLETES LANDING GEAR RESTORATIONS AND OVERHAULS FOR:
Scheduled to open in August of 2013, Duncan Aviation will more than double its Accessory Shop area at its Lincoln, Neb., location, with the refurbishment and expanded footprint of its service area. The company will gain approximately 6,300 square feet of Accessory service area, double its work benches and add new tooling and in-house capabilities, including an overhead crane and a new paint booth with curing room.
The overhead crane will cover approximately 1,200 square feet of shop space, allowing for better work flow. Fixed stands will be installed adjacent to the cranes, giving the technicians easier access to the larger landing gear during maintenance. Marty explains the necessity of the overhead crane and fixed stands.
"Business aircraft are getting bigger and heavier, requiring heavier equipment,” he says. “The installation of the crane is as much about the safety of our technicians as it is to protect our customers’ landing gear while it is in our shop. We want to make sure that our technicians are safe from harm while at work and that there are no concerns about property damage while we are serving our landing gear customers."
Bombardier Global gear can weigh up to 500 pounds and can be very dangerous when picked up manually. Now, these large gears are easily lifted and moved about the shop during overhaul. It also makes the shop larger by not taking up valuable production space on the floor, allowing for the accessories area to double the amount of bench space it currently has.
A new 300-square-foot dedicated paint booth and a 400-square-foot new cure room are included in the expansion. The larger paint booth and cure room will increase the work capacity of the Accessory Shop and improve the time it takes for landing gear to go through the paint process. Now, if requested, we have the ability to paint larger landing gear parts, such as those that are found on the Global.
Bombardier Global Landing Gear
With the Accessory Shop expansion, Duncan Aviation has also invested in the addition of precision tooling by adding a new Skydrol Hydraulic Test Bench. The new hydraulic test stand is capable of testing valves, hoses, accumulators, actuators and many other landing gear-related components. Jerry Cable, Duncan Aviation’s Accessories Tech Rep, is excited about this new in-house capability. "The test bench allows for function tests on all landing gear hydraulics, taking the guesswork out of troubleshooting. Now that we can perform these tests on-site, it will save the customer the extended downtime and added expense of having this test performed elsewhere." Jerry goes on to say, "It does really cool stuff!"
Prior to securing the bench, all these extra components would be sent out to a third-party vendor for testing and required repair. Now that the units remain in-house, customers are able to come to the Accessory Shop and watch first-hand while their units are being tested. And because the results are immediate, squawks and failures are identified faster, providing the customer with the most accurate quote.
When a landing gear is removed for inspection, such as with the 192-month gear restoration on a Bombardier Challenger 604/605, there are many common corrosion squawks that, through Duncan Aviation’s years of experience, are expected. Just a few of these include corrosion on the axle bore in the main landing gear (MLG) trailing link, hinge pin and side strut rod end, as well as NLG plunger tube.
The removal of this corrosion requires machining expertise and a precision CNC mill. Duncan Aviation has had the machining expertise with its in-house Machine Shop, and the company recently purchased and installed a new mill. The new Fryer Machine Systems CNC mill has the capability of handling a load nearing 3,000 pounds, a table size of 17x63 inches and position accuracy of +/-0.0002 of an inch. This increased capacity and precision accuracy increases the efficiency and safety of handling the larger gear assemblies of large airframes, including the Global.
Marty Lincoln is serious about doing all he can to support every landing gear customer. "Over the next several years, 1,255 Bombardier customers will be required to have their landing gear inspected per Chapter 5 requirements. By investing today, we will be prepared tomorrow to meet all of their needs in our house."
With the expansion of the Accessory area and the added tooling and capabilities, Marty plans to double the size of his team over the next five years.