Starting Main Landing Gear

On Sunday I finished riveting the port side fuselage skin, so now the fuselage is finally a structure that can carry some load. My next goal is to get the fuselage on wheels, so I started looking into the work required for the main landing gear assembly.

Port side fuselage skin riveted in place

The main gear wheels are very much like the nose wheel, but larger and include the disc brake assemblies. The mains wheels are made by Matco, just like the nose wheel. They also share a similar split-hub design, so to install a tube and tire I had to disassemble the wheel. The bolts on the wheels have 1/4″ hex sockets, which is not a common size. Luckily, I had a bit for this. The wheel/brake hub assembly attaches to the wheel with T27 Torx-head bolts – another unusual size – but luckily I also had a set of 1/4″ socket-drive Torx bits from previous woodworking and automotive projects.

Main gear components.

The wheels are attached to a large composite leg, made up of many layers of fiberglass. The layers act as a spring, to absorb the bumps from landing. The leg is quite heavy, likely the single heaviest part that goes onto this plane. I haven’t put it on a scale, but it feels ~30 pounds.

My initial plan is to lift up the fuselage while it’s still sitting on the work table, slide the leg into the gear channel, bolt the leg to the fuselage, and then attach the wheels to the leg. I’ve read on other blogs that I will need to shave some material off the top of the leg, to make some room for the hardware that sticks down into the gear channel on the fuselage. So, I might have to slide the leg in and out a few times until I get the fit just right.

Main Gear Leg
Close-up view of the leg , it’s very thick laminate

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