Dumb Design Decisions
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Have you ever looked at something and said to yourself, "That is a really dumb idea."?

You've seen them. Someone has an idea about how something should be done and doesn't give a shit how his design interacts (interferes) with any other part. I've seen a lot of dumb design ideas. Over the years I've run into, what I think are, really dumb design decisions.  Some of the design decisions were the result of 'just-being-lazy.'  Some I'll look at and think, "This must have been designed by a first year engineering student."  Others weren't thought out very well at all. 

Either way, these decisions make the airplane more costly to produce and make maintenance more difficult.  Decisions that make maintenance difficult could affect airworthiness:  some are so bad that some might mechanics will skip them.  Decisons like these cost the owner much more than it should in the long run.  They also make the plane more expensive to produce.   I've show cased the most aggravating ones.  Maybe, just maybe, some of these items will be considered the next time a Tiger goes into production.

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction."   Albert Einstein

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, not just simpler."  Albert Einstein

Here are some of the design decisions which need to be re-thought.

Early AG5B:

Most of the AG5B was designed by committee.  I wasn't there, but, I've been in enough committees to recognize the results.
Here are a few of the things I think need to be re-thought.  

• Engine gauges that you can't see because they are behind the throttles.
. . . . plus, they are so low that in order to see them, you need to bend down to see the top of the gauge.  (Fixed in later AGs)

• Eyebrow light assemblies (just the light sockets) that cost $50-$70 each (in 1990 dollars).

• one-piece Carbon Fiber lower cowling:  in and of itself, is not such a bad idea.  But, riveting the carb air box to the side so
. . that removing and installing the lower cowling becomes nearly impossible.

• Using the same cowling latches used on the AA5x series.  Over time, the locking pins, which are a safety hazard to
. . begin with, damage the lip on the lower cowling where they hit.

• The throttle quadrant interferes with knee room.  I'm 6 feet tall and I get a terrible cramp in my right leg when
. . flying an AG5B.  The throttle quadrant intrudes into the cabin 4 inches, decreasing interior room.

• The throttle quadrant is VERY expensive to make and VERY difficult to work on.  The throttle cable in an AA5B can be
. . changed in 20 minutes.   Figure a few hours to change one in an AG5B.

• Someone decided the Tiger needed heated air to the back seat.  Not sure why.  Did anyone even consider that the
. . average number of passengers is about 1.5; INCLUDING THE PILOT? 

. . . . OK, so, I've thought about putting heated air to the back seat.  I was going to use the side kick panels.  On the AG5B,
. . . . heated air is ducted down a new fiberglass (i.e., heavier) console.  Heated air is channeled through a plenum
. . . . behind the panel into the console through 1 inch SCAT.  Again, that, in and of itself, is not a bad idea.  BUT, they
. . . . should have rotated the exit and inlet 90 degrees.  It's not properly lined up and impossible to get it on anyway. 
. . . . It is short, direct, and not in line. Fit and finish suck on this design.

• It should have been fitted with a 180 hp IO360 and constant speed prop.


Later AG5B:

• It should have been fitted with a 180 hp IO360 and constant speed prop.

• Instrument panel layout, in the age of moving map navigation, putting the avionics in front of the co-pilot instead
. . of in the middle of the panel. (see the most perfect Tiger in Restoration Projects for a practical instrument panel layout)

• The engine gauges should be horizontal in front of the pilot.

• Filling the entire side of the plane with Bondo to hide the body seams.  I can see it now (in committee, of course)
. . "Hey guys, let's kill some climb performance by adding 100 lbs of Bondo to the side of the plane.  Hell, it's usually only the
. . pilot that flies so he won't need the extra useful load. AND, it will look really cool with the flat sides."


AA5X:

• Putting a cigarette lighter in a plane is stupid anyway.  Putting in one that is impossible to remove with the console side
. . panels in place is idiodic.  Let's see. To remove the side panels, first remove the top plastic cover. To remove the top plastic
. . cover, first remove the cigarette lighter. To remove the cigarette lighter, first remove the side panels. Say what???????

• Putting the microphone jack (in the left console) where it can't be reached to remove, tighten, or reinstall, is dumb.

• Putting the flap motor and bracket in the extreme left corner so that adjusting the left flap takes 30 minutes instead
. . of the 3 minutes it takes to adjust for the right flap.  If they had notched the top of the bellcrank which actuates the flaps
. . by 1/2 inch, they could have saved hours in assembly.  WHY? Because a ratchet and socket could then be used. 
. . Over the production life , they'd have saved thousands of dollars.

• Inspection cover in baggage compartment:  The inspection panel in the Tiger under the carpet.  This adds a LOT of time to
. . inspecting that area.   On the Cheetah, the inspection cover is on the outside, so it was possible. 

• Plastic eyebrows:   This idea just wasn't thought out.  Using a plastic that warps in the sun.  DUMB. 
. . . . covering the underside of the eyebrow with more plastic.  Changing a light bulb is 30 minutes instead of 30 seconds.

• Metal exit ramps (78-79) for the cooling air.   Cheaper, yes.  Less efficient, yes.  BUT, it doesn't absorb vibration. 
. . Cracks on the lower right side of the cowling are inevitable.  Only the airplane owner loses.

• Figure this one out.  On the inside of the fuselage, just above the baggage door, is an extruded piece of aluminum that is
. . bonded and riveted into place.  What is it there for?  If they needed strength, why not install it so it doesn't protrude into
. . the channel where the plastic trim goes.  The plastic will never fit well in this area.

• Wheel pants with over 140 separate parts PER WHEEL PANT!

• Plastic main gear wheel pants that require a lead weight for balance. I mean, every plane needs to carry dead weight.  Right?

• Defroster vents with an oval mounting for a round hose with only a 3/8 inch lip to mount to.

• Not splitting the lower cowling vertically.  Removing and installing the lower cowling repeatedly damages the lower cowling
. . (especially on a Cheetah) because it requires the cowling to be bent out of the way of the exhaust pipe.

• A nose gear boot that doesn't easily slide (out-of-the-way) down the nose gear to make removing the cowling easier.

• Under-sized outboard aileron bearings.  They should be the same as the inner bearing.

• Making the hat shelf install before the rear window mouldings. It's real easy to inspect the aft fuselage/empennage
. . with the hat shelf out.  Why not install the hat rack so that it comes out first instead of last? Then, during an inspection,
. . remove the hat shelf and gain easy access. This would also eliminate the little inspection hole. 
. . This was fixed on the later AG5B TIgers.  Way to go Tiger LLC.

• AA5B Tiger:  Square openings on both ends of the carb air inlet duct. Then using a round hose to connect them.
. . Then routing it through the engine mount so that it has to be deformed to half it's useful area.