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Thread: WARNING To all Meteor owners.

  1. #1
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    WARNING To all Meteor owners.

    Our Meteor main leg collapsed this week over night due to a crack in the lower fork see photos. The other legs look ok. The pin had some discolouration but was not rusty the crack appears to be old. It may be worth checking your aircrafts oleos for any signs of any damage. We intend to take all the legs off and give them a good check over and service.Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by VARSITY; 19th May 2017 at 10:34.

  2. #2
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    Sorry to hear of this and a great idea to share the information. Where is your Meteor displayed?
    "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."(Mary Baker Eddy)

  3. #3
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    Its at the Aeropark at East Midlands Airport

  4. #4
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    On that fourth photo, the entire surface is white with oxidation, so that half of the clevis has suffered a complete fracture a while ago. The other side looks like an instantaneous fracture to me, almost as if the metal is brittle. Good of you to bring this to everyone's attention, even though aircraft have been standing still for quite some time, there may still be some surprises lurking in the structure! (Something like this has happened to a VC10 in the past....)
    A Little VC10derness - A Tribute to the Vickers VC10 - www.VC10.net

  5. #5
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    Shame about that. Do you have a spare?
    What are they made of?

    At the risk of stating the obvious...after being static for 20-30-40 years in the UK climate, I would imagine the fault would be corrosion rather than a problem just of design.
    There are two sides to every story. The truth is usually somewhere between the two.

  6. #6
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    Yes, I had a similar issue with a Vampire/Venom noseleg that failed in a similar manner.

    This is going to get more common.

  7. #7
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    IIRC did not a similar problem sadly kill one of the guys who were rebuilding a Meteor T.7 at the old Yatesbury site many years ago. Something collapsed when he was working alone and trapped the unfortunate man.

    John

  8. #8
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    I believe the aircraft came off the jacks on that occasion John.


    Bruce

  9. #9
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    Thanks Bruce.

    John

  10. #10
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    I don't want to disrespect your aircraft but the pin does look a bit corroded on the bottom in the picture. I suspect that this, or maybe frozen condensation on the unloaded side, has expanded causing a hairline crack. When the second crack appears causing total failure is then a matter of time.

  11. #11
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    Is it weldable? There is a cracking aircraft welder in Long Eaton

  12. #12
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    I was under the impression that quite a lot of the 50s and 60s era legs are pretty unstable due to their chemical composition which degrade over time leading to significant weakening. I believe Lightning legs are particularly likely to be prone to sudden failure. Think it came up in discussion I had with a museum recently that it was a flagged item on their conservation agenda.

    FB

  13. #13
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    Watch out for Canberra 'Epsteins' then, they were/are known for cracking in storage! Although cracked ones could be flown with reduced g loads, but for how long I don't know.

  14. #14
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    It's quite possible that the leg could have been cracked when the aircraft had been moved in the past. Most museum aircraft are moved by tractor with unskilled and untrained personnel, as well as on grass, which can induce severe transverse loading on undercarriages, so it's quite possible the seeds were sown then for a future failure.

    It's been the case in the past that parts have failed long after the initial (rough handling) damage was done leading to failure and, in the case of flying aircraft, a serious incident or crash. Thank goodness there was no-one around when this leg broke.

    Meteor legs are particularly beefy and were not prone to failure in service. However, they (or any other aircraft part) was not intended to sit outside unserviced for 40 years and still be expected to do the job for which they were intended - without maintenance. And there's the rub; should we subject our static aircraft to regular and fairly intensive maintenance to ensure the structural integrity is maintained and discovered before, not after, an incident (which could be serious) has occurred.

    Indeed, there may be a requirement by insurance companies that a (better) system of inspection is carried out by knowledgeable persons, though how a crack would be spotted in a mainleg is anyone's guess. Perhaps there should be NDTing of critical parts?

    I may be able to help with a replacement, Varsity.

    Anon.

  15. #15
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    I would expect NDT-ing for a static aircraft might be overkill (at least in a low-slung aircraft like the Meteor....an airplane that someone could conceivably be under might be another matter) and far too expensive for most owners.

    For higher wing or large types, one day there might be restrictions for being under the thing.
    There are two sides to every story. The truth is usually somewhere between the two.

  16. #16
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    I doubt anyone will go as far as x-ray or ultrasound; but a strip of paint and a visual check (and some dye penetrant if it looks suspiscious) is easily done. I know we'll be looking at these areas on WS788 at Elvington tomorrow.

    As has been said further up- its not just Meteors. Remember my fun with Shackleton tailwheel legs a few years ago?

    Regards

    Rich

  17. #17
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    Aren't the Mk.2 tail wheels related closely with Canberra nose legs?

    John

  18. #18
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    Canberra nose leg and Shackleton tail leg are identical, thankfully, and it saved our bacon when we had a massive crack develop on WR963's unit. The only differnces were the mudguards fitted on the Canberra, and the gear door actuator mechanism is slightly different on the Shackleton.

  19. #19
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Another place to look for cracks on Meteor U/D.

    (Found during restoration of WS774)

  20. #20
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    '224 - Poor old girl. She's been out doors since the early 70's!
    Its a fact of life that old castings will eventially fail, due to corrosion, and being under constant strain. Notwithstanding that an airframe like this that has been moved around a lot in its life.

    I used to help look after her at North Weald in the 80's. One story that comes to mind were the events that took place on the night of the mid-October gales in 1987. '224 used to be kept on the Southern side of the airfield, and the night of the strong gales, she took a trip across the airfield, mainly backwards! The aircraft did not have any of the nose weights fitted due to the forward structure being mid-refurbishment, and the gales pushed the tail down and moved it right across to the western side of the airfield. It didn't touch anything else fortunately, and somehow managed to stay on the perimiter track. Underneath the tail, there used to be a small triangular aerial fitted, that due to the tail scraping was pretty much worn away. Only the rubber skid prevented it from making more damage.

    How complete is the airframe now?
    David Collins
    The de Havilland Hornet Project

  21. #21
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    We have moved it with no undue force around the taxiway to the museum it appears to be old the other side has failed on the fork due to I guess stress. It's a clean failure with no marks or corrosion. The aircraft is fairly complete we now have a winch but need a pylon a rear seat stolen at North Weald I believe and a stick top. We need 2 catches for the centre fuel tank cover. I wondered why the bottom aerial at the back was filed off the tacan shark fin one. We would like to get 2 under wing tanks if possible.

  22. #22
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    Glad to hear no one got hurt, the problematic Valiant spec was DTD683 - is this of that composition or is it just plain magnesium?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyT
    Is it weldable? There is a cracking aircraft welder in Long Eaton
    er....
    If anybody ever tells you anything about an aeroplane which is so bloody complicated you can't understand it, take it from me: It's all balls. RJM.

  24. #24
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    Reminds me of a few occurrences on F27 Dowty NLG where a similar thing happens on the wheel lever shock absorber mounting lugs, see here for a report on one such instance
    http://rnsa.is/media/1433/2008-05-21...nal_report.pdf

    With the F27 there was a mandatory modification to carry out a heat treatment to the main aluminium parts that basically changed the specification from DTD5024 to DTD5104 due to instances of stress corrosion (and also extended the safe life of a number of compoents); although the gear subject in the report should've been modified by that time it maybe other landing gears produced in that era by Dowty are susceptible to stress corrosion.

    As far as I'm aware the NLG on the F27 are still subject to regular NDT inspection on the shock absorber mounting lugs on the wheel lever amongst other parts.

  25. #25
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    Being as they are displayed outdoors I wonder how often water ingress in the joint freezes over the years. Water expands when it freezes and can cause internal stress loading.

  26. #26
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    Also, steel pivot pin in Ali casting equals dissimilar thermal expansion rates (and if not lubricated dissimilar metal corrosion), so these things will crack.
    How long before we see museum pieces with trestles permanently supporting them?

  27. #27
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    The pin appears to be located inside an aluminium bronze (spec DTD197A in old money but now B23) bushing which is a shrink fit into the aluminium casting/forging, so the pin will rotate within the bush.

    Lack of lubrication may well be some of the issue, as not only does it lubricate the joint it also keeps moisture at bay if done on a regular basis. There is a reason why a re-greasing of landing gear is called up after a pressure wash (if it is allowed at all, depends on operator and advice from gear manufacturer).

  28. #28
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    Isn't this just time expired magnesium - square grain structure causes a clean, rapid break from a micro crack. Owners of fancy race cars just replace it after a certain amount of cycles/hours. WW2 aircraft never lasted long enough for it to be an original issue in the 40's. It is today, if the WW2 component is nudging 75 years old, with a history of hard landings and then keen volunteers looping towing cable from leg to tractor.

    Folks want to replace original mag castings with aluminium these days, but it is probably the mag casting acting as a sacrificial anode that preserved the larger aluminium structure over the decades. I can understand if a mag casting is deeply buried within a structure, but if it bolts on, it can be replaced after a certain number of hours, if you invest in the casting pattern. If the aluminium has higher mechanical strength than the magnesium it replaces, it might add a factor of safety, or it might change the way force is transmitted through a structure. The world divides into magnesiumphobes and magnesiumphiles.

    You have to be German to know and love magnesium and bratwurst. An old goat of a thing like a Meteor would have DTD285 magnesium castings, basically prewar German Elektron, same as half the mass of the Luftwaffe.

    What to do with the Museum static with low budget kept out in the weather? Maybe steel stands under the jacking points? The maggie is just slowly fizzing away...

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