Oh, Those Terrible Twin Cessna Gear “Swings”

4 tire bad scalloped

It is simple to swing that gear and get it working perfectly.  Just follow the video on the Internet.  Anyone can do it and after you get it “swung” it all works perfectly and you will have three greens on the gear each time you put that gear down.  

Don’t believe that. There is more to a gear than just “swinging” the gear.  We must remember that these planes are pushing fifty years old or older.  The big problem is that mechanics do not understand these gears and their operating procedures.  The real problem is a worn-out gear with worn out bushings.

One thing we teach is that gear problems and bushing problems are visible.  How do you determine a worn-out gear system?  One is that the tires on the main gear will start to wear like an alignment problem on a car.  When you start to see the tires on the main gear of your twin Cessna wearing on one side, more than the other, this is an alignment problem.  More tread on one side than the other is either a “toe in or out” problem or a “camber” problem.  Since these gears are not able to be aligned like a car then it has to be in the support of the tire to maintaining a proper angle and alignment.  Yes, it could be a low air pressure problem but that is solvable and in other writings we talk about airing up the tires to a pressure higher than what is in the POH.

Bushings that are not checked properly are going to cause the tires to not maintain proper alignment.  Worn bushings can also cause the gear to fail. For instance, if there is “slack” in the bushings the bolt assembly going through the bushing will be “guillotined” and be cut and broken, causing the gear to fail.  

In one case, the paint facility disassembled the gear to paint part of the gear and when it was reinstalled there was bushing slack.  The bolt was cut into by the slack in the bushing during operation and gear folded up in landing.

The problem is that the twin Cessna aircraft are in a class by themselves.  Not just anyone can maintain them.  One problem is that mechanics can or will check the bushings with the “load” on the bushing.  In this case there is no slack in the bushing.  This is an improper check. Some mechanics never even consider the bushings but just put grease into the fittings.

Just a warning.  Few people understand the total gear check procedures and just swinging the gear may just be part of the problem. Take the load off the gear and do a thorough bushing “slack” test.  Worn bushings do not heal themselves.

Bad Tire wear?  Think bad gear bushings. 

Train Hard. Fly Safe.

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