Avionics News February 2013 - 29
S T O R Y
S C O T T
S P A N G L E R
connectors than the electrical wiring interconnecbeloved comedian, Rodney Dangerfield’s
tion system. The EWIS can be defined as any wire,
signature line, the connective theme of
wiring device, or combination of these, including
his monologues, was, “I don’t get no
termination devices, installed in any area of the
respect.” In the field of aircraft electronics, hidairplane for the purpose of transmitting electrical
den in the shadows cast by gee-whiz capabilities
energy, including data and signals, between two or
of digital avionics, the same is true of wire, cable
more intended terminaand connectors. But
tion points…. This
where would these
cables, coaxial cables,
be without a source
Perhaps there is no better proof
ribbon cables, power
of power, a way to
feeders and databuses.
deliver and distribute
of how little respect the aviation
EWIS was contheir data, and the
industry has for wire, cable and
ceived July 17, 1996,
connectors that feed
when TWA Flight 800
signals to the apconnectors than the electrical
fell into the Atlanpropriate channels?
tic 12 minutes after
What would they be?
wiring interconnection system.
takeoff. The National
Useless dead weight
in a fair weather flyer
Board never found the
seems about right.
fuel tank ignition source, but it did find a numMany may protest and proclaim their respect
ber of opened-ended splices, cracked insulation
for wire, cable and connectors with supporting
and other nonstandard repairs. In 1998, during its
demonstrations of always using each of them as
gestation, arcing in-flight entertainment system
specified by the manufacturer of the electronic
cables downed Swissair Flight 111. In 1999, loss
equipment they are repairing or replacing. But
of pressurization claimed golfer Payne Stewart.
respect demands more. Often in the same breath,
The NTSB couldn’t find why the Lear lost presmany in this same group bemoan their too frequent
surization, so logic suggested it likely involved the
discovery of rat’s nests of free-range wires and
wires, cables and connectors that united the cockpit
cables and connectors of other than aviation grade.
control with the system’s components.
Some bear witness with boxes full of evidence they
Until this time, wiring rarely received any
have removed from aircraft before installing a new
special maintenance or inspections, even though
Perhaps there is no better proof of how little reContinued on following page
spect the aviation industry has for wire, cable and