What specific aircraft was the Galileo rear landing strut from?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by B.J., Dec 13, 2017.

  1. B.J.

    B.J. Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's pretty well known that the rear landing strut on the Galileo full-size exterior mockup was made from surplus aircraft landing gear struts. But does anyone know specifically what type of aircraft it came from? Looks like it would be something bigger than your typical general aviation aircraft like a Cessna 172, but not near big enough to be from a large airliner (unless it's actually a sub-component).
     
  2. alensatemybuick1

    alensatemybuick1 Captain Captain

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    Not sure even those involved in the final restoration know for sure today (perhaps they will chime in!), but in the following video, Gene Winfield describes building the mockup and also the interior set. He mentions the landing gear around time mark 6:20, though does not say what it came from specifically. I have also read that the rear gear may have been put together from pieces from more than one craft.

    On another site dedicated to props, some people have done some great sleuthing to discover for example what "off the shelf" piece was used for the "chart recorder" used in the back of the Galileo interior set (as seen in "The Galileo Seven" for example). Again not sure it is known what the landing gear came from, but if not, I suppose it's possible it will be discovered one day.

    I find it remarkable when people can piece this stuff together so many years after the fact, and after such "found" items used on the show have fallen into obscurity or are lost / nearly lost to history.
     
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  3. Search4

    Search4 Captain Captain

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    Having done the restoration... It was from a Beech circa 1954. The piece actually has a serial number. We did not trace it back but the curator from Intrepid identified the origin.
     
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  4. B.J.

    B.J. Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I've seen the comments on the restoration Facebook page saying it's from a Twin Beech, but I've seen pictures of that, and it's not even close. A Beech Twin Bonanza, however, is pretty close, but I haven't found one that's an exact match yet.
     
  5. alensatemybuick1

    alensatemybuick1 Captain Captain

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    For the upper piece, maybe an Ebay or Google image search for a nose gear "trunnion" from a small plane might turn something up; if not from a Beechcraft, maybe a Cessna or Piper or other manufacturer.

    My guess is the rear landing pad itself was a pivoting outrigger (stabilizer) pad from a piece of heavy hydraulic equipment, like a crane or backhoe for example:

    [​IMG]

    Remember too, a guy like Gene Winfield would not have hesitated modifying a found part (grinding, cutting, welding, etc), so its possible that trying to find an exact match may be a fruitless effort.

    ON EDIT: Top pic at the link below shows the landing strut during construction and indicates there were some "tabs" on the original nose gear that were ground off later. I think from this pic it also appears that the pad has not yet been attached, and has simply been placed in front of the lower gear for the photo op. It appears to me that the pivot "axle" for the pad was later welded on at 90 degrees to the original nose gear axle.


    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-m3lpO7cbr.../BuMopvpv7I8/s1600/making_of_galileo_7_04.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
  6. B.J.

    B.J. Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm not worrying myself about the pad. From the production and restoration pictures, it looks to me like the pad is just a welded-up assembly from sheet metal, unrelated to an aircraft or any other pre-existing equipment.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
  7. Spock's Barber

    Spock's Barber Commodore Commodore

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    There is a YouTube video posted by the crew that rebuilt the original Shuttlecraft. IIRC, one of the men said he located an identical landing strut at an aircraft junk yard.
     
  8. PCz911

    PCz911 Commander Red Shirt

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    I'm am also amazed that they can identify these items after so many years. I wonder if there is a web site which documents it all? You do mention a site, do you have the link?
     
  9. Search4

    Search4 Captain Captain

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    Galileo was only suspended on three points; one in the front of each nacelle and of course the landing gear. The gear was bolted directly into the internal metal frame. The gear was quite heavy, presumably steel, and definitely not a lightweight aluminum made for display.

    The nacelles however were metal tubes, likely oil pipeline, thicker at the front where it joined and very very light for about 2/3 of the rear.
     
  10. Search4

    Search4 Captain Captain

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    Spent a few moments and found the following pictures during installation and such. Damn, i need to locate that serial #.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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  11. Search4

    Search4 Captain Captain

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    Okay, i know there is a rule against back to backs, but we have a lot of picturs of the Galileo. (And a video).

    Anyway here is the serial #!

    The gent you see is Hans Mikaitis who runs Master Shipwrights and who rebuilt her for me.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. B.J.

    B.J. Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think we've found it!!!! I posted this same question in the aviation subreddit, and u/dubbltrubbl managed to come up with the answer:
    It's a nose gear strut from an F-106 Delta Dart!
    Personally, I was sure it was from a civilian aircraft, and certainly not from a century-series fighter jet.

    Here's some pics to compare against the pictures posted above:

    While I was finding the pictures to help confirm this, I also came across the site https://www.f-106deltadart.com/, which has an insane amount of information on the aircraft. They also have several manuals in PDF form, one of which has the parts list for the landing gear. The strut specifically is listed as part number 578600-501, which is close enough to the one pulled off the Galileo to either be a next higher assembly, subcomponent, or a previous/later revision. (Source: me. I've designed aircraft parts for over 20 years, so I know how part numbers usually work.)

    So, I'm happy, and geeking out quite a bit that it looks to be from a fighter jet! What do you guys think, confirmed, or needs more research?
     
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  13. alensatemybuick1

    alensatemybuick1 Captain Captain

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    B.J., that is pretty amazing; It sure looks like you've found it to me! it even has those "tabs" that were in the shots from the time the Galileo was being constructed that were later ground off.

    I had spent more hours than I care to admit last weekend after your first post looking at photos of landing gear from civilian aircraft like Pipers, Beechcraft and Cessnas, and found nothing terribly close. I started to think it would have been a military application, and that that might be more likely anyway based on Gene Winfield's recollections of visiting a surplus aircraft supplier. But I never would have known how to narrow down the field. Kudos to your approach.

    What you have done is solve a 50 year mystery, and I don't think that can be oversold. This kind of effort never ceases to amaze me. Bravo!
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
  14. Search4

    Search4 Captain Captain

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    Amazing. Really amazing. The old girl continues to surprise.

    Thank you for the research!!
     
  15. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Neato!
     
  16. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    That is great! It would be be interesting to know how a part for an interceptor in active service made its way to their hands.
     
  17. B.J.

    B.J. Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I actually have a theory on that! Looking at the restoration pics, you can see that one of the lugs where the bracing strut attaches is broken off (supposed to be three of them). I can't see that lug in the old '60s pics, but *if* that was already broken then, it's likely this is the reason the part was available to them. This is a huge cast part, and you can't just fix damage like that. It would have been sold off for scrap.
     
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  18. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    ^ Cool, my guess was it didn't pass a fatigue check or something. If it was just scrap metal, you may have found out more about it than the original shuttle builders knew!
     
  19. Search4

    Search4 Captain Captain

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    I was wondering that also - how a top of the line military aircraft part became available a decade from first flight. Sounds reasonable. Wow.
     
  20. feek61

    feek61 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Also, I believe it was built in Phoenix, AZ, which just so happens to be close to the aircraft boneyard in Tucson. Aircraft parts may have been easy to get during the time the Galileo was built.

    Great job BJ, I think you have solved the mystery; one that I have wondered about for almost 50 years!!!

    Thank you (and to Searh4 for posting such great photos of the strut)
     
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