A Case Study of Nose Landing Gear Failure Caused by Fatigue

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Abstract

The nose landing gear of a commercial turboprop airplane failed during landing. A post-occurrence examination found a fracture in the trunnion arm of the oleo strut housing. The landing gear had been installed on the aircraft after an overhaul. The laboratory investigation has established that the eventual ductile overload fracture was precipitated by a pre-existing fatigue crack. The fatigue fracture surface had two distinct zones different in macroscopic and microscopic appearances as well as chemical composition. Analysis of the results has shown that the older region of the fatigue crack pre-dated the overhaul, while the fresher fatigue zone grew during the post-overhaul operation of the aircraft.