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Re: REFLECTOR: Fuel system safety

Alan Shaw wrote:

> Dan Maher had very sound safety reasons for building Velocities with no fuel 
> off valve and only visual gauges.  Shut off valves and remote gauges have and 
> continue to hurt pilots.
> As the complexity of our aircraft increase, the probability of Murfy's law
> increases to the square of the parts count.
> I REFUSE to let bureaucrats, insurance companies and lawyers (non-pilot ones) 
> us how to design and operate our airplanes.  That's just how we got the 
> fleet of dangerous GA aircraft.


Agree with you wholeheartedly on the parts count and fuel shut-off.

I also have a fairly libertarian view of how intrusive I like my government to 
control my life.  The unfortunate reality is that government, insurance 
companies and lawyers (also include heirs and estates of careless or reckless 
pilots) do control how we build and operate our planes.  Unless you are content 
with blazing along in the evershrinking class G airspace we are beset by a 
myriad of regulations which dictate what equipment we put in our planes.  Fly 
IFR and add another layer on top of that.

Designs are to a large extent predicated by economics.  First planes must be 
desirable to potential purchasers. Unfortunately they must also be safe.  SOme 
of the planes which are the most romanticized are some of the most unstable. The 
concepts simply fade away; witness the GeeBee. Unless we're prepared to lay out 
every dollar that it takes to build our planes, forget about getting financing 
or insurance on a design that is "unsafe" or perceived as unsafe.  The 
definition of unsafe is not determined by we builders, debating whether or not 
to install fuel vents, but in practical application.  What causes airplanes to 
crash and what causes manufacturers to be sued by the previously mentioned 
lawyers, decedents, heirs and estates.  For proof of this concept, just take a 
look at the new Cessna 172 with its 13 separate fuel sumps!

Safe planes equal attractive planes, which leads to volume sales which leads to 
the ability to employ high volume high quality production techniques which 
lowers costs which makes the planes more attractive, repeat the cycle.  Lack of 
volume leads to lack of funding which leads to bankrupt plane manufacturers.

We're not going to sue or regulate our way to safety.  The market and darwinism 
will dictate what planes and what pilots survive.