By Aaron Harper
The concepts of quality, research and development amortization, simplification, and reuseability can get obscured by hype and a “new must be better” mentality.
Let’s look at an example we can all relate to: Buying a car… Two people buy cars.
One buys a new Kia, the other buys a 1984 Mercedes Benz 300TD wagon.
Is there anything wrong with purchasing a Kia or any other new car? No, there isn’t.
At the end of 10 years, who has spent more, and who has more car for the money?
The Mercedes gets the same gas mileage as the Kia. The Kia has a decent warranty, and while breakdowns are to be expected with a 20 year old Mercedes, the extra cost of AAA and preventative maintenance is factored in.
Between insurance, payments, interest, and maintenance, over ten years of ownership, the Kia will cost nearly $60,000.00 more than the Mercedes. At that time, what do you have? Either $60,000.00 and a classic Mercedes, or a ten year old Kia.
What does this have to do with aerospace?
A corollary to Murphy’s law states “the more complex a system, the more can go wrong.” Simple logic dictates that we should seek not to complicate, but rather to simplify systems, especially those critical to safety.
We tip our hats to the outstanding quality and safety records of aerospace programs and their contractors, but what if it was all simpler? What if we chose not to reinvent the wheel every time? What if we really got our money’s worth out of old, “tried and true” technology on critical systems, and then leveraged modern technology in the non-critical areas where it really excels?