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Bits and Pieces

KISS - Keep It Simple and Safe!

By Ian Brown, Editor – Bits and Pieces, EAA #657159

The KISS acronym is very appropriate to all stages of building an aircraft. That is not to say that the only good aircraft are simple ones. But if there are two ways to do something, and one of them is simpler, and the result is the same, pick simple. The following is based on your editor's experience and not intended to be anything other than his own examples. Please contribute freely to the newsletter by commenting on your own homebuilding experiences.

Let us have a look at a couple of KISS examples.

Buy a harness versus build your own. Often when you look at a manufacturer's harness pricing, you can convince yourself that building your own is the way to go, but unless you're a very experienced avionics technician, you'll find significant payback in buying a ready-made harness. You'll save time, have a more reliable product, and you'll know that all the connections are correct the first time.

Adding a "convenience" connector. If you are tempted to put in an extra connector in the path of an electronic device to make it easier to service, consider whether a couple of extra loops of wiring might not achieve the same objective more cheaply and with greater reliability. Wire doesn't fail unless it's allowed to chafe. Connectors fail in several ways including loose pins, loose clips, poor crimps, and mis-wires. Your reliability is directly affected by the total number of connectors in your aircraft.

Making everything as uncomplicated as possible is a good mantra whether you're laying out your workshop, cockpit, instrument panel, or circuit diagram. Having good routines while you are building your project will pay off, and if you really want to find out some great ideas speak to a repeat offender! The difference between people who take 10 years or 2 years to finish an aircraft often has to do with them knowing what they are going to do ahead of time, and of course, keeping it simple. The people who build more than one aircraft are generally more organized each time and more skillful too. More than anything, people who build multiple aircraft know how to keep it simple.


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