After many years as a passenger and a considerable number of jump seat trips, I can truly say that my most enjoyable part of the flight is when the landing gears are either in the “down and locked” or the “up and locked” positions. I love the sight of three green lights and the sound of landing gears doing precisely what they are supposed to do. I have also noticed that landing gears don’t get much press until they don’t do exactly what they are supposed to.
Modern landing gear systems exemplify the concept of aircraft quality and those on regional jets flying short haul flights are probably the gold standard for reliability. These gears are in service for eight to 10 years and go through 10,000 to 15,000 cycles before coming in for overhaul. I find it amazing that all those links, actuators, and the strut perform as designed, and without fail, even during winter operations. I thought that it would be interesting to discuss this mystery with some experts in servicing aircraft landing gears and in cold winters.
Aviation Representatives Inc. (Av-Reps) is a Canadian company specializing in component repair and overhaul for regional and larger commercial aircraft. It began operations in 2000 and has grown to occupy a 27,000-square-foot complex located in Mississauga, Ontario near Pearson International Airport (YYZ). It is certified to maintain and supply components by Transport Canada, EASA, Bombardier and is FAA accepted through the U.S. and Canada bilateral agreement.
In the regional markets it supports the Canadair CRJ 100/200, CRJ 700/900, Bombardier DHC-8, ATR 42/72, and Challenger CL601/CL604. Its expertise is exchange, repair, and overhaul for DHC-8, Q400, ATR, and CRJ series aircraft landing gear systems. These include the main and nose assemblies, drag struts, yoke assemblies, stab stay, and steering components. The majority of AV-Reps’ business is from repeat customers and referrals. It has a reputation for quality service and employing top-notch technicians that save its customers money.
Av-Reps has about 35 experienced, well-trained maintenance technicians that were recruited from the military, automotive industry, airlines, and local machine shops. Av-Reps’ in-house technical training programs are recognized by Transport Canada, EASA, FAA, and the Canadian Council for Aviation & Aerospace (CCAA). The CCAA is a Canadian not-for-profit organization that helps business, labor, educators, industry associations, and government agencies address the critical human resource needs for the industry.
During an interview, Robert Takacs, vice president sales and marketing, and Paul Redkin, quality manager, commented that Transport Canada was currently in the shop conducting an audit of its training and quality programs.
I asked about EASA audits and they said, “Transport Canada auditors were dual qualified and were conducting EASA audits concurrently.” Redkin mentions that they always receive high marks from the auditors for their quality and training programs.
I asked Av-Reps if their landing gear and component overhaul business came from any particular segment of our industry or geographical location. Takacs says that they receive work from customers as far away as New Guinea and as close as next door at Pearson International. Landing gear and components are overhauled for large commercial carriers and regionals, at about a “40 to 60 percent ratio.”
The company doesn’t specialize in a certain fleet type but being located in Canada, it does a lot of Canadair CRJ 100/200, CRJ 700/900 and is beginning to get a significant amount of Q400 work. Having overhauled more than 100 sets of nose and main landing gears for the DHC-8 establishes Av-Reps as a bit of an expert for MRO on these landing gear.
Landing gear maintenance schedules
Regional operators have a variety of landing gear maintenance programs. Av-Reps works with its customers and tries to develop an annual paired removal schedule. It also has an exchange and Aircraft On the Ground (AOG) program, and when needed can get a fresh gear out to the customer quickly.
It has signed a DHC8-100 and 300 component and landing gear MOU with Skytrans located in Cairns, Australia.
It has reached a definitive agreement with SkyWest Inc. to perform all required landing gear overhaul on its entire fleet of Bombardier CRJ-200, CRJ-700 and CRJ-900 aircraft.
Under this agreement, the Montreal-based aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul company will perform this work at its Montreal Regional Jet Maintenance Facility at Pierre Elliott Trudeau...