1993-09-01

Special Purpose Landing Gear -- A Survey of Historical Designs 932579

A landing gear system comprises a more compelling assembly of engineering skills than most other mechanical systems in the aircraft industry. Its importance to the successful design of an aircraft, ranks second only to the aircraft's’ wings and engines. It consists of several different engineering disciplines, and is continually in the public eye with regard to safety.
In 1986, S.A.E. Committee 5 created a panel of their members to compose a historical account of special purpose landing gear designs. Not a great deal of progress was made for quite a few years, at least not in terms of a publishable document.
In 1991, it became apparent that a historical account in itself, did not have much objectivity unless the paper provided a certain amount of technical information. Such information had to be authentic, have an indexing system, and some form of categorization of the gear system or features.
AIR 4846 was then initiated to fulfill this role, and document 932579 describes the adopted document format.
The primary objective of AIR 4846 is to establish a record of a variety of special purpose and extraordinary gears (and/or systems), discuss the pros and cons, and lessons learned, and last but by no means least, the reasons (where available) for the extraordinary design This allows the document to be not only in compliance with the Committee 5's original requirement, but to be a practical benefit to future landing gear designers
AIR 4846 would also accept the premise that an essential aircraft requirement, can often justify a gears' complexity and consequent weight. The documents' purpose is not to recommend, but to provide reliable authenticated information.. Hence, the gear designer would be better equipped to adjudicate trade studies rationally, while not restricting his/her innovative skills.

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