VariEze - Landing Gears      


The development and testing of the main landing gear was a very "painful". It started early, while no one could anticipate the huge success of the VariEze design. Burt Rutan gave us some size and load criteria as well as other parameters, like resin specifications. The resulting final versions turned out to give trouble free service. Some intermediate version had "creep" issues while parked on the hot tarmac without a restraining little chain or such. . It turned out that the resin supplier was not a reliable vendor and the materials supplied were only intermittently available and at one time almost destroyed our entire machinery due to unacceptable curing times. After we made the final changes in material, and changed vendors - at great expense - all went well. As far As I know there are no disgruntled users out there. ??

The Main gears are an airfoil shaped semi circular structure with flat segments on the bottom to facilitate wheel attachment. They were fabricated out of pre-preg S-Glass roving using a high temperature resin system (450F cure). The nose gears were fabricated from the left-over of the main gear material.

The cost of suitable Pre-Preg S-Glass roving was prohibitive from our point of view. Coupled with the storage costs it would have tripled the cost of the landing gears. I decided to design and build my own Pre-Preg machinery. Quite an undertaking  it turned out to be. The result however, was quite usable machinery that operated for several years. The resin / glass ratios could be maintained quite well at better than 55% glass.


Here are some pictures:

Roving coming from the spools "upstairs"

The "traction wheel" guiding the roving

Through the resin bath




Mold halves being "packed" Mold halves being assembled

One of four in  the oven, waiting for the 450Fcure cycle



The torture test with an hydraulic ram from here

to here - look at the extension of the ram

The steel mounting points simulated the mounting in the fuselage

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