The maximum gross take-off weight of the E-2 Hawkeye surveillance airframe and its sister C-2 Greyhound transport is more than 52,000 pounds. Combined with landings, perhaps no other part of the aircraft absorbs as much pressure as its landing gear.
Located in Building 472, the Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) landing gear shop is the sole FRC for overhauls and repairs to the Hawkeye and Greyhound nose and main landing gear.
“Landing gear are brought in for cause, like hard landings or fluid leakage, and now they are also brought in under aircrafts the planned maintenance interval (PMI) cycle,” said aircraft mechanic David Pearson.
“Whenever an aircraft (E-2/C-2) comes in from Building 460, they remove the landing gear and the drag braces and bring them here for either a repair or overhaul.”
Approximately seven years ago, the landing gear became part of the airframes PMI-2, a substantial disassembly of the aircraft which also includes removal of the wings, engines, and tail.
Landing gear are evaluated, reassembled and tested. Most are re-issued to the E-2/C-2 program in the Building 460 hangar.
Kits containing about 100 internal and external landing gear parts are used to streamline any overhaul process.
Pearson said that about 90 percent of all landing gear work is PMI, and of that, about 50 percent are repairs.
“For repairs we order the parts we need and reassemble the unit,” said aircraft mechanic Rupert Linberg. “Depending on the repair it usually takes a couple of weeks.”
Within the past three years, the landing gear shop increased its staff to 11 which includes contractor personnel.
Pearson noted that most of the repair and overhaul services to legacy F/A-18 and Super Hornet landing gear is done by private contractors and intermediate-level active duty personnel.
Meanwhile, the shop produced 20 landing gear last quarter, the highest throughput in the last two years.
“Our success is based upon the assistance we receive from our production control folks, engineering and quality assurance people and our supervisor,” Pearson said.