Constructive Criticism (Best Letter)

I always enjoy your publication. It contains a lot of good articles. Now that the atta boys have been extended, let me sprinkle on your parade. (I said sprinkle not rain.) Im a retired aerospace engineer with extensive aircraft experience. Here are my sprinkles:

1. Troy Woodland [Mission Ready, February 2010] made the statement that he felt that in some cases non-AN hardware might provide the required strength for less weight and cost. Might? In my aerospace work we used a flight standards manual for all flight hardware. All components were designed, tested and qualified for flight. No exceptions. A builder can save weight in other areas and not put lives at risk by using unknown hardware.

2. For Bob Fritz regarding tools for cutting open oil filters [Cut the Can, Man, February 2010]. Im an A&P/IA and have experience with cutting open oil filters. The tools shown are OK. I have tried a number of different cutters but always go back to my tried, tested and proven Champion. Regarding the foldable finger thumb device, Im a veteran of WW-II and have had experience with that little jewel. I have carried one on my key chain since my Army days, and Im in my 80s. Now, I don’t know which other armies use K-rations, but I know the ones I ate came in a small package that didn’t require the foldable finger. C-rations came in cans. You opened one can with the key opener fastened to the bottom of one can. The key type was similar to the keys used on sardine tins. You opened the can, and behold, there was the foldable finger. Never heard it called a John Wayne. We called it a P-38 because that was stamped on the finger.

Thomas W. Kallos

The Big Cut

I enjoyed Bob Fritzs article on oil filter cutters. I do not remember who suggested the oversize tube cutter that I have used for the past 10 years, but it works perfectly. It is inexpensive and readily available.

J. Job Faber

Conti Costs

I get it-airplane engines are expensive and there doesn’t seem to be a Moores Law-type phenomenon driving down the prices, as is the case with our avionics. At the risk of beating a dead horse, I need to toss in my two cents. I took Econ 101 and I understand that the economies of scale are nowhere near that of the auto industry. But cmon, $20,000 for a Continental O-200? Its a derivative of the C-90 produced since the 1940s, and Continental has to have recouped its R&D costs by now. For LSA and Experimental applications, you can bypass the expensive and extensive certification process, so what gives? It weighs in at 200 pounds, (sorry, 199) and puts out 100 hp. Compare the power-to-weight and price with the Jabiru and the Rotax, and one quickly sees this comes in at third place. This engine really needs to be priced below $15,000 to make it competitive, especially when (and if) the U.S. dollar starts to recover and the prices of the Austrian and Australian products drop.

James Cameron

Connector Chat

I have spent my adult life as an electronics type person, hardware, software, ham radio and so on-30 years as a career. I love your electronic articles, and enjoyed the latest All About Avionics by Stein Bruch on connectors. Just a couple of observations from a lifetime of dealing with bad connectors; your mileage may vary.

D connectors and Cannon plugs are on the top of the list if you use the premium machined pins and sockets. I don’t think you put enough emphasis on the choice of crimp tool for the machined connectors. Also, in a vibration environment, solder is not the best choice without strain relief. Cheap crimp D pins are junk. I wonder how many people doing their own connectors can solder? Ill bet not a lot.

Molex and Mate-n-Lock. These are only good for five or 10 plug/unplug cycles. Best thing about them? Cheap.

Fast-On and Handshake connectors. With these, its really hard to get a proper crimp. Good with (again) the proper crimp tool. Oh, and there’s an easy way to pick the crimp tool: If it costs less than $60 or $80, its junk. Im also not a big fan of trying to make a proper crimp through an insulated connector. Just never felt good about them.

You did miss one connector, again needing a proper crimp tool, this one for current carrying applications. Anderson Power Pole. Until you’ve played with them for a while they seem a bit of a gimmick, but wow. Lots of current, wiping, self cleaning contact. Loads of silver, low loss. Almost vibration proof.

Seems Im all about the crimp tool. Yup, even the lowly Molex can be usable if the cycle count is kept down and a good tool is used to install the contacts.

W. Keith Griffith


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