Aircraft cables are an important component in many areas of all types and sizes of airplane designs.
Quick links to Aircraft Cables Information
Application of Aircraft Cables
These wire ropes are necessary for many different functions of each airplane, such as regulating passenger and crew seat backs, guiding wing flap movement and controlling landing gear in aircraft equipped with analog control systems for flying. Other stranded cabling is used as outer support harness for electric wiring, security fasteners and stabilizing aids. Heavier, sturdy cabling is sometimes employed to slow aircraft landing speed in limited ground areas. This extra strong type of cable is used to actually catch the plane's tail-hook to help control and redirect the energy and movement of the aircraft during landing.
These wire strand ropes are also used in many other areas of industry as well as in the production and operation of aircraft. For example, this cabling is frequently used in marine transport, agriculture, irrigation installations, military operations and in many aerospace operations. Although larger wire cabling with a diameter measuring at least one-quarter inch is commonly used in many areas of industry, aircraft cabling must often be as small as three-sixty-fourths of an inch in diameter.
Materials Used of Aircraft Cables
The two primary varieties of aircraft cabling composition are stainless steel and galvanized cables.
- Stainless Steel Cables
- Today, steel is the material most often used to produce wire strands. These durable cables are formed by twisting, spiraling or braiding wire strands together, and each individual strand may be composed of from a couple to several dozen separate filaments of wire. The extent of the wire used is dependent on how strong or flexible the finished wire must be to stand up to the weight, pressure or conditions it will need to withstand while in use. Although wire rope cabling is also produced from copper, aluminum, nickel, titanium and sometimes bronze, stainless steel is by far the most durable and strong raw material used in the manufacturing of good industrial grade cables.
- Galvanized Cables
- Galvanized cabling has a steel core, but is dipped in zinc while hot to make it last longer and to raise its capacity to resist corrosion and deterioration. Sometimes cabling is given an extra coating of plastic or another durable surfacing compound to prolong its life and usefulness. This process is often necessary to preserve cables and keep them from fraying or breaking when connected to a pulley or other moving device. Today's cabling manufacturers understand the great importance of reinforcing cables during the production process to the extent needed to make them durable enough to outlast regular heavy-duty, rugged usage without being weakened or damaged.
Types of Aircraft Cables
- Control Cables
- Uses lubrication to ensure ultimate fatigue resistance, which the cables without lubrication used in for general commercial purposes cannot provide. Especially when used in military aircraft design, cabling undergoes extensive testing for certification of maximum fatigue life. Fatigue resistance capacity is carefully measured, and all cables are MIL-DTL-83420 and QPL Certified. For use in which abrasion is present, but high grade flexibility is not necessary, flexible control cable or stainless steel wire rope consisting of seven strands, each formed from seven wires is adequate. However, in instances where abrasion is not a strong factor, but excessive cable bending may be necessary, flexible control cable made of seven strands, each containing 19 wires, is needed. Non-flexible cabling is composed of one strand of wire that consists of 19 wires. Offering more metal area than either 7 x 19 or 7 x 7 formations offer, this single-strand construction is the strongest variety available, but it provides the least amount of flexibility. These control cables are good for bracing use or drag and anti-wiring and are frequently in usage with swage design terminals.
- Push Pull Cables
- Made up of push pull cabling that is strong and resilient enough to facilitate forceful movement of objects, many of which are heavy or bulky. The assemblies have the capacity to control multi-directional movement of materials, items or equipment as needed with use of mechanical support. Frequently used in the aircraft industry, this cabling must be flawless and durable in order to stand up to regular wear-and-tear and varied weather conditions. These control cable assemblies are helpful to aircraft acceleration, braking and many other operational functions. Galvanized steel cable or stainless steel wire roping is the typical material used for manufacturing push pull cables. Some plain steel cable is also used. Most users of these stainless steel cables prefer cables that are not coated since this bare cabling will create less friction during assembly usage. Many assemblies consist of cabling that is 7 x 19, 7 x 7 or 1 x 19.
- Aircraft Cable Assemblies
- Control cable assemblies are helpful to aircraft acceleration, braking and many other operational functions. Galvanized steel or stainless steel cabling is the typical material used for producing push pull cables. Most users of this cabling prefer stainless steel cables or steel cables that are not coated since this bare cabling will create less friction during assembly usage. Many aircraft cable assemblies consist of cabling that is 7 x 19, 7 x 7 or 1 x 19.
- Aircraft Cable Connectors
- The most commonly used type of aircraft cable connectors in use is the Adjustable Cable Connector (ACC), which supplies a positive connection that is sturdy and reliable for tensioning and optimal linear movement in interior cable installations. The ACC is compatible with three standard types of cable terminals: SA-110 Plain Ball, MS20664C Ball and Single Shank, and AN111 Cable Bushing. This includes a mix of cable-to-bracket and of cable-to-cable setups.
- Aircraft Cable Fittings
- A frequently used variety of cable fitting used in the aircraft business today is the Cable Adjuster Bulkhead Fitting. The thread measures around one inch, or 25.38 mm, in length. It is sold with a jam nut, and the hex measures 3/8 of an inch (9.5 mm) when measured across the flats. This particular type of aircraft cable fittings is structured to be used on coaxial control cabling. Its double-piece design enables its placement over the cabling, which is entered via the firewall and secured for a positive lock. Many fittings are made of top-quality anodized blue aluminum.
Things to Consider When Choosing Aircraft Cables
Aircraft cables are listed for sale by the materials composing them and also by the strand counts per rope as well as the number or wires composing a strand. Frequently sold cabling has configurations such as 7 x 19, 7 x 7, 3 x 7, 1 x 19 or 1 x 7. Other important descriptive details include cable core composition and workload capacity. Suitable corresponding cabling hardware such as pulleys, fittings, connectors or fasteners are often listed along with different cable types and strengths to ensure proper pairing by buyers.
As all experienced, reputable cable providers make clear to their new customers and regular client base, cable types features like size, rust resistance, flexibility, weight capacity and expected lifetime should all be part of the final purchasing decision for industrial strength wire strand cabling. Strong, durable cables are necessary to the ultimate security and safety of many different industry sites and uses. For this reason, these cables must be inspected for any weakness or damage on a regular schedule. Even signs of slight wear-and-tear in industry cabling should be noted and carefully monitored to ensure safe work sites and operations.
The sophisticated design of stainless steel wire rope enables excessively weighty loads to be lifted and supported due to the equal sharing of the load by all strands. As a primary component of these cables, the inner core serves as a sturdy base for the wire strands. This core can be composed of diverse metals or fibers. In cables manufactured for heavy or demanding usage, the cores may be fashioned from another strand of wiring referred to as an independent wire roping core (IWRC) that is strong and flexible. Actually, upwards of 7.5 percent of wire roping’s increased endurance can be due to its IWRC.
Future Demands for Aircraft Cabling
Today, the production volumes of the commercial aircraft industry plus constant advancements in the aerospace industry continue to drive high demand for aircraft cabling. Wire varied strand cabling and stainless steel wire roping are high in demand and expected to continue to be at high production volumes to supply the thriving market. Approximately 50 percent of commercial airframes production companies report new and growing demand for high grade wire cabling. Owners and operators of military and general purpose aircraft report around 35 percent supply needed for this reliable and versatile cabling. Third are the private and business-owned aviation operations, reporting a demand of about 14 percent for a constant supply of new wire cables.
- Advancements in the design of modern aircraft engines is also responsible for the continuous demand for high production rates of new wire cabling for aircraft. This cabling must have the capacity to withstand high temperatures during aircraft operation. The leading international airline companies are currently spending billions of dollars on the design and manufacturing of new sophisticated airframes for commercial, military and general flight use.
- All require sturdy, durable wire cables that support extreme temperature variations plus heavy-duty use on a regular, ongoing basis. A single modern aircraft may contain from 70 to 300 miles of wire cabling, and this demand for cable supplies is expected to keep the wire cabling production industry quite active and lucrative for the present and the future.
- Over 80 percent of aviation industry leaders directly involved with the production of new aircraft today report their preference for smaller and lighter weight cable with higher performance capacities and endurance levels that that offered by previous airframe wiring. New wiring designs today are carefully tested to prevent any weakness in production standards or performance levels.
- Newly manufactured stranded wire aircraft cables that are now smaller and lighter have higher grades of strength, durability, flexibility and in general, a longer lifespan than earlier designs, some of which are still in use. The more streamlined and highly functional aircraft body designs now being produced require smaller, more compact and versatile wire strand cabling that is limber and bendable enough to accommodate these sleeker, more functional plane structures.
- Standards and Safety
- Stainless steel and other stranded wire aircraft cabling of manufacturers and suppliers now often offer new commercial airline industry customers the advice of a resident or consultant engineer to ensure that each buyer makes the right decision when selecting new wire cabling for the latest aircraft designs and operational needs. Data gathered from specific design features, cable testing results along with aviation industry and government standards are all considered when advising both new customers and ongoing clients about the features and functions of new cabling now on the market. Safety is at the forefront as a major aspect to be upheld in all areas of new cable designs and production today.
- Wire cabling size, construction, weight, durability, flexibility, reliability and lifetime are all of major importance to the production of modern aircraft cabling. However, the safety and security of pilots, aircraft crew members, passengers, or cargo are of primary importance and value to everyone involved in the design, production, sales and use of advanced aircraft cabling today.