Again with the self proclaimed accolades....some of the most educated people I know are the biggest knuckleheads. The smartest guy I knew as a kid, zero college, top notch welder, I used to go down to his shop and look at the Salt Flat cars he'd build from scratch. He did everything, engines, compound transmissions pieced together from scratch, rear end housing, did it all no computers, no formal engineering training.
What you describe is an anomaly - I too have one close friend who dropped out of university yet he has fifty-plus patents all related to very complex miniaturized electro-mechanical devices that operate under high pressure in austere environments. But the remainder of all my amazingly talented friends are graduates with degrees in engineering, mathematics, astrophysics, etc.. The people who discredit formalized education are normally those who have not set aside the time and effort to achieve that goal in life.
And the true benefit of undergraduate education centered around science, technology, engineering, or math, is that it introduces you to others who themselves have not only put in the additional time and energy, but continue to do so. If you have five engineers as your closest friends, you will most likely become the sixth. Conversely, if you are good but hang around five drug-addicts, you most likely will become the sixth.
I digress....hey, if you get airplanes you get factor of safety better than most I am surprised you are pushing back. You think flight mechanics / pilots are pushing MTBO, HP ratings in engines, payload capacities, airframe hours, fuel capacity?
Actually, you are incorrect - aircraft and spacecraft design routinely utilize one of the lowest factors of safety. Remember, additional safety includes unnecessary weight. I completed all of the coursework for an MS in Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, was a Naval Aviator, and also worked at NASA Langley Research Center - I am familiar with aircraft and spacecraft design.
But as you can imagine, this very slim safety margin coupled with a dangerous vehicle results in significantly more engineering, testing, manufacturing, training, maintenance, inspection, etc. costs. For automotive applications, the factor of safety is usually around double when compared to aircraft or spacecraft.
I read Tom Sheppard's book, "Quite for a Tuesday", he looks at expedition driving like flying a plane, never overloaded, fuel reserves, streamlined setup, less is more.
This is a brilliant strategy which I support 100%. Too many folks stumble into this sort of adventure with zero mental effort aside from, "wow, everyone is using that and man, that looks cool!" I don't have any sympathy when it comes to a grown man making yet another poor decision. Setting up an adventure rig is not rocket science but the common results are: over GVWR, limited fuel, and carrying junk that will never be used.
I am sure this guy has add-a-leafs or air bags so he is just fine...
Here is my one-ton AEV Prospector on OEM springs for comparison. Fully loaded I still have 2,000 pounds of payload remaining: