By Cory Graff
This little fastener changed aviation. Ukrainian-born toolmaker and inventor William Dzus (pronounced “Zeus”) witnessed all sorts of unusual and inefficient connecting systems while working for Fairchild Aircraft Company in the 1930s. This mix of difficult pins, latches, and buckles — used to attach metal aircraft cowls and fairings to aircraft — were all rendered obsolete by the fastener Dzus created. The new system quickly and firmly locked or unlocked aircraft components with a simple quarter turn. Dzus fasteners are used on nearly every aircraft in service today.