Aviation Maintenance Real Life

World of Plastic

I am really getting tired of plastic. It seems that everything these days is made of plastic. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great uses for the material. But companies are really starting to cheap out on parts to drive down the cost of manufacturing at the cost of longevity. The old saying “they don’t make em like they used too” is so true.

I was extremely annoyed today when I broke the plastic back plate of a $700 directional gyro:

Lets be honest here, these plates used to be made from aluminum. Light weight and strong enough to take some damage. Why? because you have to install aluminum fittings into the plate, so that vacuum can be applied to the gyro inside to make it spin. This requires an air tight seal, so the fittings need to be tight. So what happened here?

I was installing the last fitting, and was not even up to finger tight pressure, when I heard a snap! Which was the plastic t back plate splitting. I mean…I wasn’t even using a wrench yet. It was simple hand pressure and I was not even close to making a proper air tight seal when the CHEAP PLASTIC PART broke. So now I had to reverse all my work and send the now broken part back to the avionics shop to get repaired…again.