Stainless Steel Aircraft Cable
Aircraft Cable Educational Content
- Warning: Read and follow ALL instructions and warnings. Failure to do so could result in injury or death.
Learn: Galvanized vs. Stainless Steel Aircraft Cable
When selecting aircraft cable, consider the differences between galvanized and stainless steel aircraft cable. Galvanized wire rope is zinc coated for weather resistance; however, the zinc coating can be damaged from scratches or impacts which can then lead to rust. Furthermore the galvanization does not hold up well to salt water. Consequently galvanized aircraft cable is not as durable for use is environments close to oceans or in marine applications. The galvanized wire rope is therefore best suited as safety or securing lines that do not experience any wear and tears during use or for short-term applications. The galvanized wire rope cable is also available with a vinyl coating which adds a layer of protection against waether and it also guards against any scratching of the zinc coating. In comparison, the stainless steel aircraft cable will not rust even when scratched, however, it is slightly lower in capacity (breaking strength) and it is also much more expensive. This choice is ideal for long-term durability even when exposed to rubbing and scratching.
Correct Method of Installing Wire Rope Clips:
When using wire rope clips to secure aircraft cable, extreme care must be exercised to make certain they are attached correctly. Failure to do so could result in serious injury or death.
- Turn back specified length of wire rope from thimble. Put first clip one saddle width from seized "dead end" (Fig. 1 below). Seat "live end" (load carrying part) of wire rope in saddle and position U-bolt over "dead end." Remember: "Never saddle a dead horse." Tighten nuts evenly to proper torque (see tables on next two pages).
- Put second clip close to the thimble without binding it (see Fig. 1). Install nuts firmly but do not yet tighten to proper torque.
- Install all remaining clips equally spaced between the first two clips (Fig. 3). Install nuts firmly but do not yet tighten to proper torque.
- Apply light tension to wire rope assembly, and then tighten all nuts evenly to proper torque (Fig. 4).
Inspect the wire rope clip nuts before and after each use and re-torque as needed. When loads are applied to the aircraft cable, the wire rope will stretch slightly causing the rope to slip and the termination to come loose, which may cause serious injury or death. Add at least one more clip if a pulley (sheave) is used in place of a thimble. If uncertain, check with the wire rope manufacturer. If more clips are used than specified, proportionally increase the amount of wire rope that is turned back. When the required minimum number of clips is installed in accordance with these written instructions, they will develop up to 80% efficiency when used on right lay wire rope of classes 6x19, 6x36, 7x19, 8x19, 19x7, and cable laid. Drop forged wire rope clips are recommended for use only with steel core aircraft cables.
Select the right wire rope clip for your aircraft cable application:
NEVER use cast malleable wire rope clips for lifting or suspending ANY load.
Match the same size wire rope clip to the same size aircraft cable diameter. For example, use a 3/8" wire rope clip with a 3/8" wire rope aircraft cable.
When working with coated wire cable, ALWAYS:
- Match wire rope clip size to uncoated aircraft cable diameter and
- Strip coating off aircraft cable where wire rope clips will be attached.
Install wire rope clips correctly:
- Never use fewer than the minimum number of wire rope clamps.
- Wire rope clips are made for use with wire rope aircraft cable only. Never use wire rope clips on pipe, rod, chain, fiber rope, etc.
Use wire rope clips properly:
- Never connect two ends of aircraft cable with wire rope clips.
- Never shock or impact load.
Inspect and maintain wire rope clips regularly:
- Inspect wire rope clips before each use. Discard and replace wire rope clips that are worn, distorted, or damaged.
- Inspect wire rope clip nuts before and after each use and re-torque as needed.
While users often freely interchange the words aircraft cable and wire rope, professional users make the following differentiation: Wire rope is generally used for lifting, aircraft cable is not.