Safety cables function much like a safety line for a climber. For many years, aircraft designers realized that the vibrations from the operation of an airplane caused bolts and other forms of connectors and fasteners to loosen. In an attempt to overcome the problem, they joined connectors with wires that were tightly stretched between fasteners to prevent movement. The process worked, on the surface, but had several issues.
Regardless of the gauge of wire used, it broke from the vibration of the aircraft and had to be constantly repaired or replaced. To be proactive, the wires were constantly checked for possible problems, which caused delays and slowed operations. Also, wires had the added danger of snapping or disconnecting.
In the mid-80’s, aircraft manufacturers realized they had to devise a more secure method to keep fasteners from failing. After experimenting with various designs, they developed the concept of the safety cable, which is made from several strands of tightly wound wire. The initial concept fulfilled several of the criteria that producers required, which included excellent tension control, safety, and little need for repair or monitoring.
The introduction of safety cables has led to peak performance of aircraft and the avoidance of delays due to a broken wire or the need for wire replacement. Today, safety cables are an essential part of aircraft production and safety.
Much like their wire counterparts, safety cables are designed to create tension between fasteners to prevent them from loosening during flight operations. The multiple strands take the strength of a single wire and increase it with the strength of several. It is much like having multiple hands doing a job instead of one.
The safety cable is another of those small pieces that serve an important part in keeping aircraft safe. Their introduction has offered extra insurance of efficient and smooth flight operations.