airplane rule meaning

  "airplane rule" in a sentence
<convention> "Complexity increases the possibility of failure; a twin-engine aeroplane has twice as many engine problems as a single-engine aeroplane."

By analogy, in both software and electronics, the implication is that simplicity increases robustness and that the right way to build reliable systems is to put all your eggs in one basket, after making sure that you've built a really *good* basket.

While simplicity is a useful design goal, and twin-engine aeroplanes do have twice as many engine problems, the analogy is almost entirely bogus. Commercial passenger aircraft are required to have at least two engines (on different wings or nacelles) so that the aeroplane can land safely if one engine fails. As Albert Einstein said, "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler".

See also KISS Principle.


  1. +Airplane Rule, Banana Problem.
  2. The airplane rule is another version of the old " Keep it simple, stupid ."
  3. Visual projections that pulse in time with the music are nothing new at clubs or concerts, where they have provided a sort of moving wallpaper since bands like Jefferson Airplane ruled this city.
  4. And part of what keeps hanging up the airplane rule is the desire by all parties for devices that can be taken from the family car and used on a plane and then in a rental car.

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