Safety Wire Pliers
Installing safeties with safety wire pliers is a necessary skill that aircraft mechanics use everyday. All hardware has to have some sort of locking feature, whether is it a cotter pin, locking nut or safety wire. Lockwire plays an important roll in aviation maintenance because of the high frequency vibrations that are found on running aircraft. These vibrations have found to cause bolts to come loose over a period of time. Safety wire pliers installs a safety that is more uniform and looks much more professional than a hand twisted one. Safety wire pliers are also faster in most cases, especially if you have a long run of wire.
While I was in the military, we were not allowed to use safety wire pliers because they were thought to cause kinks or nicks in the wire thereby weakening. I tend to beleive that any weakening would have been negligible, but hey, I didn’t make the rules. The Milbar safety wire pliers uses a wave type jaw that grabs the wire without nicking it kinking it.
The red portion of the pliers are a plastic and hold on to bits of safety wire when using the cutters. Without those little red plastic pieces, you would have a piece of safety wire go flying when you cut it. It helps prevent F.O.D.
How to Use Safety Wire Pliers
Using safety wire pliers is a skill takes time to learn. I just recently started getting good at using them. I always did things by hand, and no matter how hard I tried, the safeties NEVER looked as good as the ones installed with pliers. Watch my video below to learn some basic techniques. Practice makes perfect.
In the video, I show a barrel roll at the very end that gives the safety a finishing twist. This helps make everything a tad bit tighter. Be careful on the finishing barrel roll that you do not over-do this twist, you will end up breaking the wire. Do not over-stress the wire!
Make it Right
Installing safety wire is a skill that mechanics should take pride in. Take the time to install them right, because in the best case scenario, you will look like a slob mechanic, in worse case you may have caused that hardware to fall out during flight. If you see an improper safety, fix it, make it right. For more techniques, use the AC43-13 as your guide. This guide is only general in nature and all manufacture recommendations should be followed.
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