Composite landing gear braces fly on test 787

A 787 Dreamliner equipped with Messier-Dowty’s composite braces on the main landing gear completed a successful takeoff and landing in late July, marking the first commercial flight of such equipment.

Messier-Dowty (Vélizy-Villacoublay, France) reports that a 787 Dreamliner equipped with Messier-Dowty’s composite braces on the main landing gear completed a successful takeoff and landing in late July, marking the first commercial flight of such equipment.

This test flight, which took place on July 20 on airplane ZA001 over Boeing Field, is the culmination of major design and development efforts to introduce composite technologies on key structural landing gear components for the 787 program.

The use of composite materials, in conjunction with the expanded use of titanium on other major structural components, including the inner cylinder, significantly reduces the weight of the landing gear versus previous generation steel gears. In addition, composites provide higher resistance to corrosion and fatigue than UHTS steel parts, contributing to greater in-service reliability and greater time between overhauls.

The composite development work for the braces, designed and managed by Messier-Dowty, in conjunction with technical expertise from The Boeing Co. (Seattle, Wash., USA), leveraged the company’s expertise in the development of woven composite technologies and resin transfer molding (RTM). Aircelle is responsible for the manufacture of the braces in its Le Havre facility in France.

Selected in 2004, Messier-Dowty is responsible for the design, development and manufacture of the main and nose landing gears for the 787 program.