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Muirhead Aerospace partners with Messier-Dowty
Article Type: News and views From: Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology: An International Journal, Volume 81, Issue 6
Messier-Dowty International, a major company in aircraft landing gear systems, has contracted with Muirhead Aerospace, a unit of AMETEK Aerospace & Defense, to develop an electromechanical replacement for hydraulic landing gear systems for Airbus aircraft. The electric landing gear (ELGEAR) is expected to reduce weight, lower maintenance costs and be more environmentally friendly than the hydraulic systems now used by Airbus and other aircraft manufacturers.
The project is funded in part by the UK Department of Trade and Industry and involves a consortium of aerospace manufacturers that includes Messier-Dowty, Goodrich Landing Gear Division and GE Aviation (Smiths Aerospace). Messier-Dowty is in competition with Goodrich to develop the electromagnetic actuators for the landing gear retraction and sidestay unlock as well as respective control systems. GE (Smiths) will provide the nose-landing gear.
Muirhead Aerospace was awarded a contract to build two sets of actuators for the Airbus A320 ELGEAR along with a test facility and comprehensive set of test and assembly instructions for the actuators. The actuators are complex electromechanical assemblies that make up the retract and lock stays on the landing gear. Each actuator consists of a pair of compact, powerful brushless motors, a gear box and a ball screw capable of extending up to 1.3 m in length and designed to deliver the 300 kN of force needed to deploy and lock the landing gear in place.
Messier-Dowty selected Muirhead to build the actuators because of its long-standing experience with the design and manufacture of aerospace sensor motors and actuators. Muirhead expects to have its dedicated actuator test facility completed by the end of July 2009 in time to test the first set of actuators in the third-quarter of 2009. Muirhead also will support Airbus as it tests the new landing gear design on the A320 test rig at its large-scale test facility in Filton, Bristol, UK.