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Thread: Pilot Seats

  1. #1
    Farmboy's Avatar
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    Pilot Seats

    Is there a reason to not have a high back pilot seat? Aside from the structure weight anyhow..

    Offhand I can’t think of any typically found (or ever) in anything short of a Bonanza or Saratoga.


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  2. #2
    Bearhawk Builder's Avatar
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    Rear seat access?

  3. #3

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    Front seat in a tandem has it's quirks. Rear is no issue. In the auto industry the high back was developed for protection from a rear impact. With our needs we see little need for that protection. Heck we have little protection in forward impacts. You are one of the few who actually properly installs the belts, and unfortunately tests them as well. I have been through a 60G hit, it has not been an enjoyable period afterwards.
    As far as comfort, the use of a high back or lets call it a headrest in my mind is questionable. I have never been able to set my head back when concentrating on a task. Would love it if I could as I wear a neck collar when not in public now.
    To me a very well contoured seat, both lower and seatback is what I find important. Foam density is of the utmost importance. The seat needs multiple densities to support our body.
    In my friend's Mooney where we can sit for 7 hrs without a break the seat is rather important. And he still has 1.5 hrs in the tanks.
    FWIW, the boat I run on lakes and the airplane I am currently building have car seats in them. I want the support when it is needed.

    As for your question about structural weight, being the design needs in an aircraft do not call for rear impact absorption the added weight is negligible for the added support and comfort that would be the goal. Even spending the time and effort to get proper contouring and density variation in the cushions would have a major payback which is why I have gone the path I have.
    Regards, Charlie
    Super Coupe E-AB build in process
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  4. #4
    Farmboy's Avatar
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    Pilot Seats

    As you mentioned I never found a use or a way to use a headrest. But I’ve sat in a lot of cub seats that has a lean back that ends below my shoulders. Partially my fault at times because I’ll add a cushion to compensate for my short torso, but I prefer a taller support.
    I once put an abs molded race car seat in a boat, along with the premade vinyl cover, and was quite suprised at how comfortable it was.

    https://www.summitracing.com/parts/sum-g1100

    https://www.summitracing.com/parts/sum-g1111


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    Last edited by Farmboy; 09-20-2021 at 06:30 AM.

  5. #5

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    Yes, getting proper contour for the upper body is important, very important to me. Consider selecting the foam out of a car seat and alter the tube structure in the seat you are working with. Personally the fabrics in late model cars are more advanced safety wise than aircraft and have better flame retardancy as well. Aircraft or auto fabrics will all burn, we just need the chance to get out before they do.
    My plane being a side / side has a rear seat from a Jap sports car. The seat bottom is rather light and still needs the seat pan built which will be composite since the seat sat on the steel structure in the car. The backs are split folding, the structure can be lightened and will be addressed later if it climbs in importance. My seatbelts will be standard 6 point as I have raced with for decades. FIA spec, not Murican spec. I have proven they work. I expect there will be an FAA legit lap belt in there that will be unused. It is not what I want to die with.
    I will not drive in an ABS seat but in a boat they would be fine, Cars all get Carbon-Kevlar seats. Most expensive part of some of my builds. They allow you to walk way. My current Superboat will be getting some older race seats in it.
    Last edited by CharlieN; 09-20-2021 at 06:46 AM.
    Regards, Charlie
    Super Coupe E-AB build in process

  6. #6
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    I try and think of a time when my upper back or head was ever touching the headrests in my truck or car "high back" style seats and it's virtually zero. Seems like a waste of added material and weight in a plane with a sit up seating arrangement. I'm sure if the seating was more reclined it would be a benefit.
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  7. #7

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    My decades of working with high performance or street seating you never want the headrest in true contact, but in environments when your head can go back you do want it there.
    Most every vehicle has at least some level of harmonics that you do not want any direct transmission to your skull. Yes you can sleep with your head on a headrest but you are not needing full concentration at that point.
    Regards, Charlie
    Super Coupe E-AB build in process

  8. #8
    Charlie Longley's Avatar
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    I use the head rest on my glider quite a bit on my 6+ hour flights. It’s adjustable fore and aft. The seat is reclined. Not sure how much use it would be on an upright seat other than possible crash protection.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #9

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    You get by due to low harmonics where powered planes and devices are a higher amplitude.
    Regards, Charlie
    Super Coupe E-AB build in process

  10. #10
    stewartb's Avatar
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    Huh. I commute in a Subaru and I enjoy the tall seat and adjustable headrest every time I drive it. Same in my pickup. Don’t forget the seat heat! Would I project that to my Cub? Hell no. I never sit back in my airplanes except maybe during warm up. Different vehicles require different equipment.

  11. #11

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    The vehicles I make my living with are not as cushy and soft as as a new car which is essentially devoid of feeling and harmonics. yes today's cars shake and rattle about the same as a couch in you living room, And maybe in Stewart's case not when the earthquake let itself be known.
    I do not know of any small airplane that is considered smooth. Maybe a Cirrus but not something I will be in.
    Regards, Charlie
    Super Coupe E-AB build in process

  12. #12
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Beaver came originally with high back.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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  13. #13

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    Got the last pack load of moose meat back to the 180 in the dark two years ago and was forced to sleep in the pilot seat (only seat in the airplane) instead of the comfortable back due to the load of meat. That's about the only time a head rest would have been nice.
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