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Applied Mechanics and Materials Vols 513-517 (2014) pp 4219-4222 Online: 2014-02-06

© (2014) Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland


The development of a drop test device for the performance test of the
landing gear of an unmanned aircraft
Sung Hoon Oh
Division of Mechanical system engineering, Chon-buk National University, Dukjin-dong, Jeonju city,
Jeollabuk-do, Korea 561-756 E-mail :

Keywords: landing gear, drop test device, Test Rig, Drop test and evaluation

Abstract. An unmanned aircraft as a growth engine recently emerging in the airline industry is
expanding its range from conventional military purposes into the development direction for civilian
use. As such, necessary skills, components and equipment is being developed at a rapid pace and
the testing equipment and techniques for checking the reliability and durability of the developed
technology is also needed. But so far, performance testing standards for the newly developed
product is not clear and accordingly lacks the testing equipment and techniques. In the case of
landing gear, it plays an important role for the safety of the aircraft during the take-off and landing
and such importance is becoming clear for an unmanned aircraft as well. However, the research and
development of the drop test device for testing the performance of the landing gear is yet
insufficient. As such, by developing an improved version of the drop test device from its
predecessor to inspect the safety and durability of the landing gear, we hope to increase the safety
and reliability of the landing gear as well as having a goal of developing a checking device for the
landing gear to be developed in the future.

An unmanned aircraft means the self-flying aircraft that can recognize and determine the
surrounding on its own according to the pre-programmed data without a pilot. Previously developed
unmanned aircraft was mainly used for the military purposes such as surveillance, reconnaissance
and assault. However, it is currently widening its range of usage into the civilian use and being used
in a variety of areas such as remote sensing, communications relay, environmental monitoring and
mapping, etc. An unmanned aircraft according to the given mission is required to land at a narrow
place and the risk of take-off and landing is increasing. However, there are many limitations on the
previous landing gear for operating at a narrow terrain and the moving runway with a frequent
occurrence of problems such as damages to the aircraft and the equipment during the landing. To
ensure the safe landing, new landing gears are being developed for the unmanned aircraft. The
performance and reliability of the developed landing gear should be evaluated through the drop test
and the verification on the reliability should be carried out continuously. For this purpose, to
develop more effective device than the previous drop test device, the development was centered
around increasing the reliability of the product and it was designed so that function test and impact
test was possible with an ability to perform the test on various types of landing gears with an
expectation of being able to apply the device to the landing gear of an unmanned aircraft to be
developed in the future.
Drop test device configuration overview
Data acquisition System
In order to obtain the data obtained through the test, the equipment is configured as shown in
Figure 1. For the drop test, load sensor, 3 types of displacement sensors and the pressure gauge is
used. To perform the ISO Thermal Test of the landing gear and to measure the impact load history
during the drop test, MC3232 load sensor was applied as shown in the figure below. LVDT is a
strain gauge method where the displacement data is obtained and 3 types of displacement gauge
50mm, 100mm and 200mm was applied in order to measure the Stroke of the S/A and Stroke of the
tire for the landing gear. In order to measure the pressure inside the cylinder of the landing gear, a
pressure sensor was applied. Then the LabView is used for the post-processing of the data.

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4220 Applied Science, Materials Science and Information Technologies in Industry

Test Rig
It is a test device for the smooth Iso Thermal Test and Drop Test of the landing gear, and as shown
in Figure 2, the drop test device applies a method of manually raising the specimens using the
Wintch and manually releasing the Wintch Lock device to drop. For the existing equipment (Figure
2(a), it is a method of using the shaft as a guide and moving the Teflon roller bearings up and down,
but when the deformation occurs to the shaft, it creates a significant friction causing a difficult
problem for performing the suitable drop test. The drop test device should have minimized friction
with repeatability, but the previous test device has a characteristic of being sensitive to deformation.
Thus, the supplemented drop test device as shown in Figure 2(b) was developed and applied by
supplementing the weakness of the previous equipment. First, the Jig where the specimen is
mounted moves up and down along the buff stick and in order to minimize the friction, oil-free
solid flange bearing was applied between the guide beam and the jig to minimize the friction. Also
by applying the method of manually moving the specimen up and down to the hydraulic actuator
making it able to move up and down automatically, it was developed to smoothly perform the drop
test. In addition, to prevent from a free fall that can occur during a sudden hydraulic system failure,
the dual mechanical safety device was applied.

Fig. 2 Test Rig

Creating the data extraction program using the LabView

To conduct the test on this system using the LabView and to verify the extracted data in real-time
basis, the program schematics as shown in Figure 3 was created and the coding work was
performed. For the input factors, a signal for impact load output from the load cell attached to the
ground load sensor, a signal output from LVDT that measure the change value of the landing gear
shock absorber during the impact load and the data value of the strain gauge for outputting the value
for the structural load applied to the linkage attached to the major linkage was decided.
1) Result of the signal detected by the Loadcell (Fx, Fy, Fz)
(1) Each of the X / Y plane graph for the Fx, Fy, Fz
- X axis(horizontal axis) : time
- Y axis(vertical axis) : load
2) Result of the signal detected by the LVDT
(1) X / Y plane graph for LVDT displacement
- X axis(horizontal axis) : time
- Y axis(vertical axis) : displacement
Applied Mechanics and Materials Vols. 513-517 4221

3) Result of the signal detected by the Strain Guage

(Individual equal to the number used for the Strain Gauge)
(1)X / Y plane graph for the result of the Strain Gauge
- X axis(horizontal axis) : time
- Y axis(vertical axis) : stress
The signal values being inputted above are entered into the PC through SCXI of the NI Company,
and the program was created to store and display the time variation value of the parameter value.
Using the NI equipment, the data is obtained through the signal obtained from the sensors
installed/attached to the test equipment and the specimen.

Fig. 3 H/W Connection Diagram

Drop test and evaluation

Using the developed drop test device, data from the operating time of the landing gear, impact load
and the tilt angle was tested. For the condition of the drop test, a vertical drop, tilted drop to the
ground(front/back direction ±15°, left/right direction ±10°) and the extreme drop load(1.0ton) was
performed. The equipment to be tested using this development project is the landing gear with a
goal of having the landing load of 1.0ton with an ability to drop at the speed of 2.54m/s from 1m or

It was made possible to check the stress value using the strain gauge on the expected vulnerable
part of the landing gear linkage. In addition, to check the variation between the change value and
the stress value of the landing shock absorber, LabView program was used to extract the test data
and the landing gear linkage drop test was conducted.
Table 1 is for comparing the development goal with the collected data from the drop test to verify
whether the goal was achieved or not. When the test was conducted on the product, it was verified
that the actual resulting value met the development goal. Measuring the data through the drop test
using such drop test device and comparing it with the expected development goal, the reliability and
durability of the product was confirmed.
4222 Applied Science, Materials Science and Information Technologies in Industry

Table 1 Achievement of the developed landing gear.

Evaluation Item Unit Development Goal
1. Operation time sec 6 or less 5.4
2. Operation payload kg 300 or more 362
3. Impact load ton 1.0 or more 1.4
4. Weight kg 10 or less 9.7
5. Left / Right landing angle of inclination kg 10 or more 12
6. Front / Back landing angle of inclination kg 15 or more 17

The airline industry is rapidly being transformed from manned aircraft to the development of an
unmanned aircraft. Especially the fields related to defense is playing the leading role and this
belongs to the cutting edge technology even in the military sector where everything is
state-of-the-art, and securing the unmanned aircraft related technology can increase the
technological level and the industrial capabilities of the country. The unmanned aircraft industry has
the technology, research and the knowledge-intensive nature being a highly convergence industry
with an element technology using the state-of-the-art precision machinery, electronics,
communications, computers and new materials, and has much higher associated effects and
technical impacts than the other industry. Especially, the landing gear of an unmanned aircraft has a
very big size and price requiring an excellent durability and reliability of the product. The drop test
device for the performance test of such product is not a selection but an essential element where at
the time of its development, the test evaluation and the performance guarantee of the developed
product must be performed. However, the test device previously used reacts sensitively to the
deformation it revealed the problem when measuring the reliability and durability of the products.
As such, this drop test device developed by supplementing the weakness of the previous test device
to enable the function test and impact test by considering the safety during measuring is expected to
be applied to the landing gear related to the future unmanned aircraft and should significantly
contribute to increase the reliability of the new landing gear to be developed in the future.

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Applied Science, Materials Science and Information Technologies in Industry

The Development of a Drop Test Device for the Performance Test of the Landing Gear of an
Unmanned Aircraft