Enhancing Safety and Efficiency with a Custom Boeing 787 Maintenance Platform
A close-up shot of the custom work platform in use, positioned beneath the 787 aircraft landing gear. Maintenance workers are seen efficiently accessing equipment, showcasing the platform's spacious work area and sturdy handrails.


A preliminary concept 3D model generated to show the major design aspects prior to detailed design.

At Ransford Engineering, our core values of empathy, intellectual honesty, and orderly processes drive our commitment to designing innovative and customized solutions for our clients. Recently, we had the opportunity to undertake a unique project that exemplifies our dedication to safety, efficiency, and client collaboration. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the successful completion of a maintenance work access platform specially designed for the 787 Dreamliner, highlighting how our expertise in custom scaffolding design and adherence to OSHA safety standards came together to create a unique solution.

Understanding the Problem:

A preliminary design concept sketch of the scissor mechanism, one of the many concepts that were considered for the custom design.

Regular maintenance of Boeing 787 aircraft landing gear is a crucial aspect of aviation safety. However, accessing approximately 100 grease zerk locations in the landing gear presented significant challenges for maintenance workers, especially in inclimate weather situations or in busy workloads. Time wastage due to difficulty in access affected profitability, and safety concerns arose as existing platforms and ladders were not suitable for this specific purpose. Ransford Engineering was approached to develop a dedicated work platform that would reduce maintenance time, enhance safety, and optimize operational efficiency. We personally met with the maintenance team themselves to best understand their problems, and put together a plan to meet all of their requirements.

A detailed image of the work platform's handrails. The removable handrails are shown in the collapsed position, highlighting their flexibility and ease of transport to avoid interference with aircraft components during movement.

Safety Takes Center Stage:

At Ransford Engineering, safety is paramount. The very foundation of our approach to this project was to ensure compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations outlined in OSHA 1926.451 General Requirements for Scaffolding. To address this, our team meticulously designed the platform to meet OSHA requirements, including:

  • Incorporating handrails between 38 and 45 inches high, designed to withstand 200 lb horizontal force.
  • Ensuring a height to base ratio of no more than 4:1, as per OSHA guidelines.
  • Designing the platform to hold four times the intended maximum load.
  • Implementing walkways at least 18 inches wide for enhanced mobility.
  • Introducing safety bumpers on the sides facing the aircraft to prevent damage during transport.

Customization for the Perfect Fit:

A critical aspect of this project was the need for high customization. Ransford Engineering collaborated closely with maintenance workers, machine operators, and assembly personnel to gain valuable insights into their specific needs and challenges. This direct involvement allowed us to design a work platform that perfectly fit the requirements of the 787 landing gear maintenance, ensuring seamless access to grease zerk locations and other critical components. While standing under the airplane, we discovered it would be important to have removable or collapsable handrails since fixed handrails would likely result in a collision with the aircraft and cause damage.

Ransford Engineering's team conducts measurements at Denver International Airport (DIA) tarmac to ensure a perfect fit for the custom work platform with the 787 aircraft landing gear.

Real-World Measurements and Material Selection:

To achieve optimal results, our engineering team personally visited the tarmac of Denver International Airport (DIA) to take physical measurements of the 787 aircraft and understand the needs of maintenance crews. These measurements became the foundation for the platform’s design, ensuring a perfect fit and complete alignment with the aircraft’s landing gear.

The landing gear of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner presented a unique design challenge.

For long-term durability and outdoor use, we chose coated aluminum for the platform’s construction. The use of coated aluminum prevented corrosion and guaranteed reliable operation even under challenging weather conditions.

The Manual Scissor Lift Solution:

After evaluating various scissor lift mechanisms, we designed a manual scissor lift mechanism for the platform. This decision was driven by the versatility and ease of use that the manual lift offered, allowing maintenance workers to use the platform anywhere without the need for power sources. The manual scissor lift proved to be the ideal choice for enhancing efficiency and reducing operational complexities.

The photo depicts a close-up view of the platform's coated aluminum structural and extruded shapes. The corrosion-resistant coating ensures the platform's longevity, making it a reliable outdoor solution.

The Result: A Work Platform that Sets New Standards:

The culmination of meticulous design, client collaboration, and adherence to safety standards resulted in the successful completion of the 787 landing-gear maintenance work access platform. The platform’s features include:

  • A spacious work area of approximately 12 feet wide and 5 feet deep, complete with an access cutout to fit around landing gear components.
  • Compatibility with 787-8, 787-9, and 787-10 aircraft.
  • Swiveling caster wheels for easy mobility, designed to withstand the platform’s load without people.
  • A tow hook for convenient towing by a tug, with lockable caster wheels for secure transportation.
  • Removable and collapsible handrails to avoid interference with aircraft components during transport.
  • Adjustable walkway height, ensuring accessibility and convenience for maintenance personnel.
  • Soft bumpers on sides facing the aircraft for added protection during transport and storage.
A 3D model rendering of the final design.

The fabrication and assembly were performed by a fantastic local fabrication shop, CALE Engineering. Ransford Engineering’s scope of work included design, 3D modeling, engineering calculations, detailed shop drawing for all the piece parts and the weldments, and a complete bill of materials (BOM).

Empowering Safety and Efficiency – Ransford Engineering’s Commitment:

At Ransford Engineering, we take immense pride in our commitment to delivering customized solutions that prioritize safety, efficiency, and client satisfaction. Our expertise in custom scaffolding design and our dedication to meeting OSHA standards allow us to take on complex challenges and transform them into innovative opportunities.


The successful completion of the 787 landing-gear maintenance work access platform stands as a testament to Ransford Engineering’s unwavering commitment to excellence. Through empathy-driven design and a deep understanding of our clients’ needs, we have once again demonstrated our ability to exceed expectations. As we continue to evolve and embrace new challenges, our core values of empathy, intellectual honesty, and orderly processes remain the guiding force behind every project we undertake. At Ransford Engineering, we are ready to turn your engineering dreams into reality.

If you have a project that demands expert engineering solutions and a focus on safety, efficiency, and customization, look no further! Contact Ransford Engineering today and let our team of skilled engineers bring your vision to life.

Ransford Engineering

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