Aircraft cable is a flexible plastic-coated stainless steel wire rope developed to manipulate control surfaces — flaps, ailerons, and tail rudders — on airplanes.
Aircraft cable now finds uses in bike locks, exercise machines and sailboat rigging.
Why aircraft cable for a key ring?
With a tensile strength of 890 pounds, a 1/16 inch aircraft cable may seem over-engineered for holding keys. The aircraft cable key ring was introduced in the 1970s. Some key rings manufactured back then are still in service.
This aircraft cable key ring has been in constant use since 1976. Despite fading, cracks in the plastic coating, and some play in the clasp, this key ring still works perfectly.
Get the right kind of air craft cable key ring, the twisty kind
There are three kinds of key ring cable clasps:
- threaded carabiner-style — problem: fussy screw connector; can snag
- ball in socket — problem: streamlined but disconnects too easily
- twisty lock — fast, smooth, secure but you need to know how to use it
See this brief video on How to use the twisty aircraft cable keyring
My personal recommendation comes after trying all three kinds of aircraft cable key rings.
Yes, the ball in socket type does disconnect when the ring is squeezed, if you are lucky, when the keyring is in your pocket. The threaded variety also unscrew and are fussy.
I have used a twisty lock aircraft cable key ring since about 1975. In 1976 while visiting a fair booth in San Diego, I talked with the company rep about these amazingly strong and wear-resistant key rings.
When I showed the company rep my purple aircraft cable key ring, he offered to trade me a brand new red one
I was hesitant to part with my reliable key ring. When he told me his company did research on wear and tear in used key rings, I agreed to the trade.
That red aircraft cable key ring has been in my pocket every day since 1976. Perhaps the company will offer to trade me a new one? I suspect the cable was made by the Loos Company.