An Overview of the Inspection and Repair
The Phenom series first hit the industry in 2008, so there are a number of Phenoms that have been flying for 12 years and counting. Each of these aircraft are required to undergo a “landing gear restoration” maintenance event at certain intervals, which restores the landing gear to a new condition.
In 2007, I was in Brazil as part of the Maintenance Planning Steering Committee. Our team was able to “crawl-over-under-through” the prototype Phenom 100 and were asked by the engineers if what they had done was acceptable to us A&Ps to be able to maintain the aircraft. That spoke volumes about the design team’s philosophy.
Embraer has gained a great deal of experience with the aircraft over the years. From observations made during the restoration events, Embraer decided to increase the interval from 5 years to 7 years and now a 10-year/12,000 landings event interval.
So, what does this restoration event entail? Embraer contracted a vendor to work alongside service centers to jointly perform this maintenance action. A second facility is expected to be approved soon (if this hasn’t already happened).
The Landing Gear Restoration Event Involves the Following:
- Complete disassembly
- Paint completely stripped
- All bushings removed and replaced
- Non-destructive inspection
- Dimensional Inspection
- Parts repair, or replacement, as necessary
- Surface protection, such as chrome/cadmium plating
- Reassembly and test
The event planning schedule (not considering any other activity) shows as a 49+ day event from the time the landing gear is removed, restored, re-installed, tested and aircraft ready. Note that I show this as a 49+ day event. The “+” is to account for unexpected delays as we are all dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, causing various ripple effects throughout, and not just for our industry.
In the course of the restorations, Embraer has been able to reduce the “over and above” costs significantly.
Known Nose Gear Issues
There were several cases where the nose landing gear would not hold nitrogen pressure after the restoration event. This caused Embraer to find and approve a solution for the problem, and the result is a modification to the restoration process to include some additional re-chroming and parts replacement of the nose landing gear strut, as well as a part redesign. Therefore, the issue has now been resolved.
Innovative Solution for Service Centers
When we first looked at the landing gear restoration timeline, Eagle Creek Aviation recognized that having one or more aircraft trapped, up on jacks, in one location in the hangar was not something that any service center would want. So, we designed a temporary “mobility” landing gear kit. Then, when the Phenom 300s approached their 10-year restoration event, we designed a heavier mobility gear kit to account for a greater aircraft weight and different shaped installation for them, thus allowing us to keep the aircraft mobile and keeping the aircraft jacks freed up for other aircraft use.
Unparalleled Phenom Expertise
We are very proud of our long-standing relationship with Embraer’s senior management and key support staff. We were directly involved in the design of the first Phenoms more than 13 years ago, even before their introduction into the U.S. market. We have purchased more than 30 new Phenoms from the factory for our clients and ourselves, including the very first Phenom 100 and Phenom 300. We also have had the pleasure of working with our customers on more than 50 pre-owned Phenom sales and acquisitions.
We know these planes inside and out and have been leading the market on both the mandated items, including ADS-B, landing gear overhauls and the large 120-month Phenom inspections, but also system upgrades and refurbishment.
We have built our reputation for excellence by treating owners as well as we treat their aircraft and have assembled the finest team of maintenance and avionics technicians in the country. We feature one-stop maintenance and refurbishment solutions with in-house avionics, interior, airframe and structural departments backed by our extensive parts inventory. We also offer in-field repair, technical services and support to help keep you flying.
At Eagle Creek, I serve as our own in-house Quality Assurance and Training manager and a Phenom support specialist. Contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit eagle-creek.com to learn more about our Phenom capabilities.