Seat Fabrication

NOTE:  photos link to full size image

The seat pan is drawn out on a sheet of 0.025". It is pretty simple - a rectangle with two cutouts for the control sticks and one in the center for the seat belt attachments.
The cutouts for the sticks are constructed with three radiuses in a triangular arrangement. Because the seat is way too big for my drill press, I used my fly cutter in my handheld drill. Seeing as how I have never done this before, I conducted a test on some scrap along the side of the seat. This worked great!
Cutting the first hole for the stick.
Second hole. This method worked very well, and actually surprised me as to how easy and efficiently it worked.
All 6 holes in the seat pan. The next step is to remove the material between the holes for a perfect cutout.
To make the seat pan more manageable, I cut it free from the rest of the 4' x 4' sheet using the 12" Andy Snips.
Then, using my Wiss snips I removed the center material from the control stick cutouts.
Another shot of the scrap removed.
The seat belt slot was made by first drilling 1/2" diameter holes in each of the 4 corners. This is another great place for a Unibit.
With the holes to start from, the nibbler removed the rest of the material to complete the slot.
All that is needed from this point is some minor touch up with a file and scotchbrite pad.
The cutouts are complete and the pan is now ready to bend.
I used the edge of my workbench and some scrap 2x4 wood to serve as a makeshift bending brake. It actually worked fine, and was much easier than I anticipated.
After the pan was bent, I drilled and fitted the hinges that serve to attach the seat to the fuselage.
One trick I have been using it to fit the piano hinge with the other half and hinge pin in place. This really helps keep the hinge straight and allows the pin to slide right in with no binding.
Isaac just had to test out the seat. I think he would have rather it been in the plane though...
I decided early on that I was not going to buy the Sonex upholstery set. I figured I could easily make my own seat, and I really wanted something more comfortable that the stock (too thin) seat. I found everything I was looking for online at They offer a large variety of foam types, hardness, and shapes, and will custom cut it to your specifications. Here is my order invoice if you want to see exactly what I ordered.
To build my seat, I wanted a layer of firm foam on the very bottom for support, topped with a layer of memory foam for comfort. For the back, I settled on medium foam with a tapered lumbar support. Everything arrived as ordered, and I am pleased with the quality of the foam. The shipping price ($32) was another story, however.
Memory foam is cool stuff!
I look forward to planting by backside in this for real! The next step is to have the seat upholstered.
With the seat pan completed, I fitted the piano hinges to the spar carry thru tunnel and the seat back stiffener box.
More hinge fitting.
Seat pan installed!


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Updated: 13 Aug 05