Landing Gear Repair and Rework
Super Connie CF-TGE  

Main Landing Gear

Before the airplane could be reassembled and made mobile on its own landing gear, the first order of business was repairing and reworking the gear, and taking care of problematic tires and wheels.

    Main Gear at Toronto

    After arrival at Empire Aero

"Tin Man" Kevin Lacey removing corrosion.  The welds were removed.  The chrome cleaned up.  Safety collars were fabricated for all three gears.  Then they were cleaned, primed and repainted.  New trunnion caps were fabricated in Empire's machine shop.

Voila!  (Almost) new landing gear!  The original wheels were overhauled in a standard aircraft overhaul shop.  New tractor tubes were procured and installed in the tires, since this is a non-airworthy restoration.  The tires are actually 727 tires removed from our Prototype 727 airplane at Paine Field in Everett - see here.

The Story of the "new" Tires

August 30, 2005 - our 727 Tire Change Party.  We did 12 wheel changes on our 727s in two days!
 Left to Right :  T.C. Howard, Bob Bogash, Jim Munneke

Steve Huemoeller rolling one of N7001U's main wheels over to install on N124FE, our FedEx 727 hangar queen.  This same tire is now installed on our Super Connie CF-TGE.  Waste not, Want not.
  Tired, dirty, and happy wheel change crew
(L-R) T.C. Howard, Bob Bogash, Jim Munneke, John Brown, and David Capodilupo (missing Steve Huemoeller)

The 727 tires are the same size as the Connie tires.  I got this vital piece of info from my buddy Stefan Bailis in Minneapolis.  Seems the Kansas City Connie folks have been running their airplane on 727 tires for some time. Stefan is a Connie lover, and like me, an ex-Connie Flight Engineer.  

The tires were shipped at no charge from Everett to Rome, NY by FedEx.  Thank you FedEx!  Again!

As part of our restoration of the Prototype 727 to airworthy condition, they were deemed no longer suitable for flight, having sat outside supporting our 727 for 15 years.  So we swapped them with the main wheels and tires removed from parts donor airplane FedEx 727 N124FE.  When that airplane was scrapped, we salvaged the tires and wheels yet again, demounted the tires and stored them, for what reason don't ask!  Except that being a pack-rat and saving things always pays off in unexpected ways  -- that's my experience!  So here comes this Connie, which needed new  tires, and just happened to use the same size main wheel tires as the 727.  The Connie wheel rims do not support tubeless tires, so we had to add a set of tubes.

Nose Landing Gear

  Nose Gear at Toronto - Inner and Outer Cylinders welded.

The nose wheels were basket cases.  When we sent them out to the shop, they determined they were too far gone to be usable. The tires were shot as well.  We got a set of new tires and tubes from Dresser Tire, but in addition to being badly deteriorated, the wheels were single rim and, even if good,  we couldn't remove the old tires or mount replacement tires.  With an info lead from fellow Connie lover Mark Meltzer, I found a set of like-new nose wheels down in Oakland.  They were split rims and very reasonably priced.  We got a set of new hubcaps to go with the wheels in the bargain, at no extra charge.

Nose gear after arrival at Empire Aero.  As mentioned elsewhere, the inner cylinder weld was removed, and the oleo was found to still contain air and oil and was still functional as an oleo.

Nose landing gear after clean-up and prime.

A good looking Nose Landing Gear with a fresh paint job, new wheels, tires and tubes  --  ready to be installed! Quite a change, eh? The shop also fabricated new trunnion caps.  As with the Main Gear, a safety collar was manufactured for the nose gear also.

CF-TGE on her "new" landing gear!

Next - Installing the gear on the airplane

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Copyright 2007-2008  Robert Bogash.  All Rights Reserved

Revised 27 Oct 2007
                4 Nov 2007
                28 Dec 2007

                23 Feb 2008