In modern flight test installations there is a continuing trend to move the data acquisition closer to the sensors. As a consequence the data acquisition chassis needs to be mounted in locations that are small, inaccessible and subject to harsh environmental conditions. On top of this there are an increasing number of measurements required for each new flight test campaign. This paper discusses the challenges of designing a small lightweight data acquisition chassis which can provide hundreds of channels of measurement capability while operating in tight spaces which are exposed to fluids, high vibration and extremes of temperature. The paper suggests ways of designing and installing the data acquisition chassis in order to optimize the available installation space while mitigating the effects of the harsh environmental conditions.