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Aviation Maintenance Technician: Mastering the Gear Systems

IMG_6438Interested in becoming an aviation maintenance technician? Aviation Maintenance programs focus on teaching students the advanced and precise skills necessary to become FAA Certified Aviation Maintenance Technicians. Gear systems are one of the integral mechanisms that technicians learn to master, and they are just one of more than 40 precision technical skills MIAT graduates master during their training:

Gear Systems and Operation

A pilot uses different gear systems to operate an aircraft. Some of the gear systems in an aircraft include flight controls, navigation, landing gear, hydraulics systems, the pneumatic system, the emergency brake system, and electrical systems.

Flight Controls – used to transfer motion and force input from the pilot to the flight control surface. Flight controls include the cockpit controls, connecting linkages, and the necessary operating mechanisms to control the direction of flight

  • Cockpit Controls – includes the control yoke and center stick that governs the aircraft’s roll and pitch. The rudder pedals control the yaw. The throttle controls engine speed or thrust for powering the aircraft
  • Connecting Linkages – an assembly of links that manage the forces of movement

Navigation – the process of planning, recording, and controlling the movement of an aircraft on a route.

  • Visual Flight Rules (VFR) – uses “dead reckoning” combined with visual observation and references to maps
  • Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) – navigate exclusively using instruments and radio navigation aids or direction by radar control
  • Global Positioning System (GPS) – uses 24 U.S. Department of Defense satellites to provide precise location data, including aircraft position, track, and speed

Landing Gear – located at the undercarriage of an aircraft and used to take-off and land. Wheels are typically used, but skids, skis, and floats can also be used to land in different terrain.

  • Tail Wheel – conventional landing gear, with the main gear located forward of the center of gravity, with the tail using a third wheel assembly
  • Tandem – the main gear and tail gear are aligned on the longitudinal axis of the aircraft
  • Tricycle – includes main gear and nose gear which helps enable higher landing speeds

Hydraulics System – used on aircraft to move and actuate landing gear, flaps, and brakes. The hydraulics system transmits a very high pressure with a small volume of fluid. Hydraulic fluid is used to transmit and distribute forces to various units to be actuated. The type of hydraulic fluid that is used is based on the following variables:

  • Viscosity – increases as temperature decreases. The hydraulic system must have enough body to provide a good seal at pumps, valves, and pistons, but it must not be so thick that it offers resistance to flow
  • Chemical Stability – the ability to resist oxidation and deterioration for long periods of time
  • Flash Point – the temperature at which a liquid gives off vapor in sufficient quantity to ignite momentarily when a flame is applied
  • Fire Point – the temperature where the substance gives off enough vapor to ignite and continue to burn when exposed to a spark or flame

Pneumatics System – a system that uses pressurized air to move components on an aircraft. Pneumatic systems power instrument landing gear, flaps, windows, air conditioning, doors, and auto pilot devices.

  • Air Compressors – a pump that compresses air to establish pressure for aircraft components
  • Relief Valves – used to prevent damage. They act as a pressure limit and prevent bursting lines and blowing out seals
  • Control Valves – used to control conditions, including pressure, flow, temperature, and liquid levels
  • Check Valves – allow pressurized air to enter the system, but prevent backflow of air toward the compressor
  • Restrictors – controls the rate of airflow and the speed of operation of the actuating unit
  • Variable Restrictor – speed regulator that contains an adjustable needle valve
  • Pressure Regulator – controls the maximum pressure in the system and off-loads the compressor when the system is idle
  • Oil and Water Trap Regulator – designed to remove any water or oil which may be suspended in the air delivered by the compressor
  • Air Filters – prevents oil, vapor, dirt, or moisture from passing into the various services
  • Storage Bottles – act as a reservoir of compressed air to operate the services to pneumatic systems
  • Air Pump – the wet air pump uses engine oil to lubricate the pump internally and the dry air pump has graphite vanes inside the pump casing to self-lubricate as the pump rotates

Emergency Brake System – the pilot can operate a pneumatic valve on the instrument panel to direct compressed air or nitrogen into the brake system if the hydraulic system fails.

Electrical Systems – aircraft have some form of electrical power to operate navigation, landing, strobe lights, the COM & NAV radios, the transponder, and the intercom. The electrical system has a battery and an alternator to recharge the battery, fuses, switches, and lights for indication purposes. The electric system is connected by wire and connectors attached to the airframe with insulation materials.

  • Master Switch – switches the electrical system on or off through a heavy-duty relay. It usually has two sides – one side for the alternator and the other side for the battery
  • Bus Bar & Fuses – each device is attached to a bus bar through a circuit breaker or fuse and a switch
  • Monitoring Volts & Amps – measures how the system is operating through an ammeter or voltmeter. The ammeter indicates the amount of current from the alternator to the attached load
  • Aircraft Wiring & Ground – one wire is connected to the positive terminal and the other to the minus terminal. The metal aircraft frame can be used as ground.

Does a career in Aviation Maintenance interest you? Want to learn the professional skills needed to work in this rewarding career? The Aviation Maintenance Programs from MIAT College of Technology provide the hands-on training, practical experience, and industry support it takes to pursue a rewarding technical career.

To learn more about Aviation Maintenance Programs and to explore if MIAT is right for you, fill out the form on this page. Contact us if you are interested in becoming an aviation maintenance technician today!

For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of the students who attended this program, visit the following disclosure links:

Associate of Applied Science in Aviation Maintenance Technology Gainful Employment Disclosure – Canton

Associate of Applied Science in Aviation Maintenance Technology Gainful Employment Disclosure – Houston

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