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Piper Arrow €1000 landing gear annual inspection - why?

I have just heard this is mandatory on a Swiss reg. How is it justified and what do they actually do?

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Sounds silly. The owner could always self-declare his/her AMP to get rid of this.

Sweden, Sweden

Peter wrote:

I have just heard this is mandatory on a Swiss reg. How is it justified and what do they actually do?

I don’t know. The landing gear in the PA-28R and PA-44 is not of the best quality, it has several weak points where it either cracks or bends. Performing proper inspections do take time.
Some years ago I worked on a PA-28R where one MLG green light was not lit. Found that on the MLG attachments, 7 of 8 mounting points had cracked. On the other side also a considereable amount where cracked. This is a very unsafe situation.

There a quite some SB’s and some AD’s on this landing gear. On this aircraft they where clearly neglicted.

Fly310 wrote:

The owner could always self-declare his/her AMP to get rid of this.

I think the basic idea is good, though one should find advice of an experianced engineer of maintenance organisation on these cases. Some of the programs seem to get rid of everything and going to the absolute minimum, this will not result in a good aircraft. In some cases it will be more expensive as well.

Some examples on what I see on N reg and what will also be the case on EU:

- Running magneto’s WITHOUT inspections for 1000-2000 Hours. On such important items, I really can not understand people want to “safe money”.
- Running altenators on condition even of IFR. On some alternators brush life under heavy loads is about 600 Hours, so not performing the 500 hours inspection is stupid, at 500 hours you only would need some brushes and new grease, at 600 hours you might have an electrical failure in IMC, and as the brushes have damaged the slip ring, you will need a need rotor, which is far more expensive. Just doesn’t make sense.
- Ignore these landing gears SB for some years, unit you have 8 cracked attachments on one side and you gear collapses. What saving have you made?

It doesn’t make sense to go if your not fully understanding what your doing, or take advise for an engineer IMHO.

JP-Avionics
EHMZ

On this aircraft they where clearly neglicted.

Well, yes, there are certain obvious correlations on the Arrow eg

  • old
  • common on rental scene ie usually neglected
  • lowest cost retractable ie usually neglected
  • less than great build quality

All these conspire to making the Arrow fleet a high maintenance proposition, in most cases I have seen.

However it was suggested that the inspection is some kind of mandatory item, perhaps dictated by ADs.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter – do you have a reference for the inspection that you are referring to?

EGTT, The London FIR

No;; just heard it from a pilot who flies one.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Jesse wrote:

I think the basic idea is good, though one should find advice of an experianced engineer of maintenance organisation on these cases.

I agree totally. I am not questioning the technical aspect of it, just the “mandatory rule” thing. That has caused a lot of problems in EU and needs to go away. On the technical aspect (which is what really matters) I totally respect that there simply are SBs that you shouldn’t disregard.

Jesse wrote:

- Running magneto’s WITHOUT inspections for 1000-2000 Hours. On such important items, I really can not understand people want to “safe money”.
- Running altenators on condition even of IFR. On some alternators brush life under heavy loads is about 600 Hours, so not performing the 500 hours inspection is stupid, at 500 hours you only would need some brushes and new grease, at 600 hours you might have an electrical failure in IMC, and as the brushes have damaged the slip ring, you will need a need rotor, which is far more expensive. Just doesn’t make sense.
- Ignore these landing gears SB for some years, unit you have 8 cracked attachments on one side and you gear collapses.

Good advice that I hope owners will listen to.

Sweden, Sweden

Jesse wrote:

The landing gear in the PA-28R and PA-44 is not of the best quality, it has several weak points where it either cracks or bends. Performing proper inspections do take time.

I almost had a serious landing accident once in a Pa44. The nose gear wouldn’t retract properly so we put the gear down again and flew to our maintenance base instead of getting on with the training. We (two students any myself) got three green lights but were suspicious of the nose gear anyway. I talked my student through a “space shuttle” landing on the main wheels with the nosewheel up in the air until the very last moment. It held but was sticking out of it’s well at a very strange angle. We were just able to get enough directional control to steer off the runway. Had this happened on takeoff, who knows if we would have been able to remain on the runway.

As it turned out, the massive aluminium casting which holds the gear strut and the steel axis upon which the assembly rotates upon retraction had developed cracks over time and finaly broke apart during our previous takeoff. The part is identical among most retractable Pa28 and Pa44 models and we were told that we had experienced a very common failure. So myself, I would feel very uneasy in any retractable light Piper whose gear has not had a thorough inspection during the last 12 months!

Last Edited by what_next at 24 Jul 11:44
EDDS - Stuttgart

Are there ADs covering this inspection?

Obviously one does inspect the gear at Annual, etc…

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

No idea why the same titled thread is locked…

It seems I have to clarify a few things to set the record straight.

Swiss reg requires an annual, in line with EASA regs. And that doesn’t seem very different from N reg. Most people would probably expect the landing gear to be inspected in a proper annual. And I’m sure most A&P/IA would consider a working landing gear a plus.

At the company I’m doing the annual, the annual costs me very roughly 1000CHF (note CHF not € – although the difference is rapidly diminishing) more than an Archer. And this is without non-time limited spares. Now that this is only due to the gear is very obviously an oversimplification to make a point, there are other differences between the two planes.

Now @Peter you seem to be pretty quick to jump to the conclusion that every other plane than the TB series is crap. But then how do you explain that the TB20 annual is even more expensive than the Arrow at the same company?

LSZK, Switzerland
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