Landing gear doors remove in-field

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by silence, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. silence

    silence Active Member

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    I just read *somewhere* that even when LW craft did have landing gear doors these doors were often removed in the field. Same with some RAF planes.

    What would be the reason for this?
     
  2. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Easier maintenance.

    And that can translate into greater plane availability. A landing gear door that is not fully retracted can cause more drag than a missing door. A jammed "inner" door can prevent the landing gear from lowering.
     
  3. Tante Ju

    Tante Ju Banned

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    + Mud and snow. You can often see aircraft with wheel doors, and sometimes even undercarriage strut covers removed in the winter. While it may have been detrimental to performance, if the mud and humidity freezes in flight, you might not able to lower the undercarriage at all, which results in a costly and dangerous landing attempt. Mud sticking in may also prevent the doors from closing, which may also lead to some pretty freaky accidents (see Mustang wing shreddings when the undercarriage doors unlocked in flight and the resulting force ripped off wings)

    Maintanance may be also a reason, missign working cylinders if those doors were hydraulically operated and the system leaked, it might have been just easier to remove them, and keep the plane operational. I wonder how these doors were operated on various designs - a simply mechanical linkage operated by wheel opening/closing, or a seperate electic/hydraulic motor? The latter was asking for trouble IMHO.
     
  4. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    They removed the "spats" surrounding the Ju-87 Stuka's fixed landing gear for much the same reasons ..... mud/slush build-up.

    MM
     

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  5. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #5 GregP, Aug 1, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2013
    In the Bf 109, the inner doors, if they were fitted, were of over-center spring lock operation. The tire hit the actuating rod and moved the inner doors up and down. The inner doors on our Bell YP-59A are the same. The Bf 109 main doors are fitted to the gear strut and move with the strut. There are two doors ... upper and lower. The lower one slides inside the upper one to account for oleo action. It is very simple and very robust.

    Our Hispano Ha.1112 doesn't have inner gear doors, only main panels on the strut.

    I can see why maybe inner gear doors would be removed but am somewhat lost for why main gear doors would be ... unless, of course, a problem with them due to mud actually developed. It could have done so and would account for their removal.
     
  6. cimmex

    cimmex Member

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    there are no inner doors at the Me109, only outer doors at some late K versions. I think you are talking about the Fw190.
    cimmex
     
  7. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    It is the lower sections of the outer doors that were typically removed for the reasons Tante Ju explained. In the case of the Luftwaffe this was done for aircraft operating off rough strips in the winter. This picture shows why it was done.

    [​IMG]

    I don't think that this was particularly common practice. At least pictures of aircraft modified like this are not common. The inner doors were not fitted to a Fw 190 with the ETC rack and fairing fitted.

    Cheers
    Steve
     
  8. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    No matter how fast the man running is he won't catch an Fw 190 at takeoff power.

    Good exercise, though ...
     
  9. Mike Williams

    Mike Williams Active Member

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    Here's a photo I had readily at hand of a Me 109 G-14 of 12./JG 53 at Kirrlach, Germany during January 1945 operating without any landing gear doors.
    [​IMG]

    That could not have helped performance...
     
  10. jim

    jim Banned

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    But.. perhaps.. could have helped the aircracft land in one piece...
    Or the germans were so stupid... and you so smart...
    By the way... excellent surface for an aircraft
    I am sure you have evidences that Spit XIV with 560 lbs of boost could ski with full landing gear doors
     
  11. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Didn't the Spitfire win the downhill event in 1938 during the winter games?
     
  12. Tante Ju

    Tante Ju Banned

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    Mechanics tired of setting a fire under aircraft to unfreeze the ice and picking the mud out of the wheel wells with frozen hands each morning might just opt to remove those f*cking panels. Four years on the Russian front tends to teach you some tricks that boys who were sipping warm beer in some nice warm hangar corner so far and being new to all this 'winter frontline operations' thing did not yet learn. ;)
     
  13. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Just think what mud might accumulate between the strut and door on takeoff.
    That could easily freeze solid at altitude, leading to a gear up landing.
     
  14. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Not fun flying from mud fields, no matter who you were. I've seen a video of a P-38 in ALaska, USA, nearly at takeoff speed hitting a large puddle of muddy water. He made a huge spray ball and slowed bown by half in about 50 feet! ... NOT good.
     
  15. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Wrong event. Spitfire Won the gold Medal for the Ski Jump.
     
  16. silence

    silence Active Member

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    The 109 won the downhill - gotta love direct fuel injection for getting out the gate quick!
     
  17. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Duhh Cimmex, that's exactly what I was thinking of. Must be old age.

    Our Hispano doesn't have what would acyually be outer doors. But it has really neat leather that gets sewn around the wheel well for a tight fit.
     
  18. cimmex

    cimmex Member

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    #18 cimmex, Aug 3, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2013
    no problem at all, indeed it is an exact description of the Fw190 gear doors.
    Additional, the inner gear doors were actuated by a cable which closes them again when the gear was fully out. Similar to the function of the door at the P-51 but here it was actuated by a hydraulic cylinder.
    cimmex
    cimmex
     
  19. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    And the tail wheel retraction system was also cable actuated. Effectively everything was driven by electric motors mounted on the wing spars. Tank and his fellow Focke-Wulf designers considered this to be less vulnerable to damage than a hydraulic system.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  20. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure it didn't. That aircraft is also operating from rough terrain (to put it mildly). I don't believe that this was common practice though obviously units operating in adverse conditions could and did resort to this method as a means of reducing the chance of undercarriage problems.
    Despite the marginal condition of this landing field I think all these aircraft have complete gear doors!


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnBbj1pQaKg

    Cheers
    Steve
     
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