Aviation In Canada

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Storm update, Gear problem

Last night's storm was largely uneventful. A Dash 8 departed CYSJ and told us on initial contact that they had "something they wanted to look at, but it wasn't an emergency yet". Interesting way to check in. Turned out the gear was stuck down (better than stuck "up") and they continued to destination at reduced true airspeed.

Aircraft with retractable gear have Vle, or maximum velocity with gear extended. This is not to be confused with Vlo, or maximum velocity for operating the landing gear, which means raising and lowering it. The difference is that when it's extended, it's down and locked, and many aircraft have small landing gear doors that are opened with the gear "in transit", and close again once the gear is down and locked. Exceeding Vlo might tear these doors off, perhaps damaging other aircraft components in the process, or overstress motors and hydraulic systems responsible for gear extension/retraction. Also, some aircraft have different maximum speeds for raising and lowering gear, depending on how the doors open, how the gear is extended, etc. For example, an aircraft with forward-retracting gear may have to be at a lower speed for raising the gear due to the extra drag encountered in pulling the struts forward, vs the push they get when dropping them with the wind. Some aircraft have little or no restrictions on this, such as the old, hardy Lear 25. Their gear was capable of being used at any speed as a dive break in an overspeed condition. There may be others, but that's the only one I'm aware of at the time of writing.Now if I can only get my car started after the storm...