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Safety Question - Seats with Headrests

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PagoBay

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One guy in a crash never upgraded his Cessna's old style, across the lap only seatbelts, to proper shoulder harnesses. Nearly cost him and his wife their lives.

Now. three point harnesses and four point harnesses are the usual for even older homebuilt aircraft that I have seen.

Related to this and a safety question I have wanted to ask .... I see a lot of airplanes that have seats with backs that only come to well below the pilot's shoulders. Guaranteed whiplash?

-1-
So why don't more homebuilts have seats with headrests?
The weight added is not so much in return for the safety factor gained. No rear passengers to look back at. Plenty of angle to see the runway at 45 on the downwind.

-2-
What are the best modern seats with headrests for an E-AB that are cheap, light weight, and easy to fit to a kit plane like the Zenith 701 and 750.

Thanks
RMM @ PGUM
 

Bigshu

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"Cheap, lightweight , and easy to fit" reminds me of the sign at the mechanic's shop "We can do it fast, we can do it cheap, and we can do it well. Pick two!"
 

D Hillberg

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A seat head rest that raised higher then the head keeps the flexing airframe from crushing the head.
If all you have is plexi above then the head rest will stop a nose over from being a headache if you have no roll bar

Just a thought.
 

wsimpso1

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The things you call head rests in cars are not headrests, but part of the crash protection system, specifically to protect your neck from effects of being rear ended. By the way, that is the most common accident we have in cars, so it was fitting that it be one of the early crash protections in cars.

Now go to airplanes. Can not say as I have ever seen an airplane crumpled up from behind. I have seen a few chopped up from behind, but that rarely results in accelerating the plane out from under the crew.

We do see airplanes upside down, usually after a forced landing or runway loss-of-control, and these results are common enough that we should do something to protect the pilot's neck. We lost Charlie Hilliard that way. Sad day...

Rollover structure can be built into the airframe itself, built into the seatback bulkhead, or even built into the seat. Of the three, putting it on an adjustable seat sounds like the heaviest way to achieve it. WITE, so look for the designer to have it in by a lighter means or accpet that you will be implementing it yourself.

Certain WWII PT's had to have the ugliest one, with that draggy tube structure sticking up.

Bill
 

Riggerrob

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Another risk is sliding backwards after a forced landing.

For example, a dozen years ago, I was riding in the back of a Beechcraft King Air when both engines quit. The pilot was professional enough to belly-land (wheels up) a kilometre short of the asphalt runway. We touched down with wings level and close to the stall speed. Initially, we slid forward smoothly, but a wing struck a dike, flipping us to slide backwards.
Later that evening, the emergency room doctor diagnosed me with two damaged spinal discs in my neck, etc. My neck never completely healed.

Lesson learned, seat-belts and head-rests would probably have reduced injuries.
 

Pops

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Mid- air at night on final. Another airplane came from behind and above. Prop started slicing about 6" from my left shoulder and in the corner of the instrument panel and down the side of the engine and also took out the center part of the left wing. (low wing)
With all the injuries, also had a bad whiplash where they stopped the swelling in my neck that is closing my windpipe just before getting a thoracotomy. Like Riggerrob, never completely healed with very little movement to the left.
 

PagoBay

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Seems that if in the midst of an emergency and likely hard landing, with the harness snugged up, having the head well supported can only be a good thing.

I see lots of high priced LSA's with full height seats. But most homebuilt aircraft that I see have the typical low cut seats.

Thanks for the discussion. Even if retro from a Ferrari supercar (not cheap), or a Hummer (heavy as lead), or a Armored Personnel Carrier (hard as hell to fit). Should have used "or" instead of "and" in the cheap,lightweight,easy fit series, I guess. So trying to recover from that now. :cool:

For those who like the "idea" of full height seats, are there any suggestions? I am nearing a make or break point on my next HBA.
Thanks
 

Pops

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The FAA inspector doing the inspection of the JMR suggested a net be installed in front of the baggage area behind the seat. I had one that I could snap in for the SSSC and will install one in the JMR before anything go's in the baggage area.
 

rv7charlie

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I'd bet the net suggestion was for the same purpose as the ones supplied in hatchback & SUV type cars. It keeps the cargo from taking your head off in a crash.

I have no desire to add headrests; way too little chance of needing them to give up payload, space and cargo loading convenience in a low wing slider a/c. Plus, many automotive headrests give me a neck/head ache in about 5 minutes; they force my head forward. I have the driver's headrest in my daily driver turned around backward, so I can keep my head/neck in line with my spine.

But I've seen a few homebuilders use aftermarket racing seats that have integral headrests. They'll be a lot lighter than most 'factory' seats.

Charlie
 

Bigshu

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Seems that if in the midst of an emergency and likely hard landing, with the harness snugged up, having the head well supported can only be a good thing.

I see lots of high priced LSA's with full height seats. But most homebuilt aircraft that I see have the typical low cut seats.

Thanks for the discussion. Even if retro from a Ferrari supercar (not cheap), or a Hummer (heavy as lead), or a Armored Personnel Carrier (hard as hell to fit). Should have used "or" instead of "and" in the cheap,lightweight,easy fit series, I guess. So trying to recover from that now. :cool:

For those who like the "idea" of full height seats, are there any suggestions? I am nearing a make or break point on my next HBA.
Thanks
Lots of light, full height racing seats for cars. Check out Summit racing. Most are set up for 4 or 5 point harnesses as well. Typically FRP or aluminum. Cheap ones aren't light, light ones aren't cheap!
 

Bigshu

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Racing seats are not designed for typical aircraft impacts. Cars don't fall from the sky.
No, but racing cars have lots of weird angle high speed impacts. Rollovers and such, rear ended, hit the wall, etc. I'm much more confident in something engineered to protect the occupant than anything I've seen in light aircraft plans or kits. Lots of plans skip it entirely and show it as "builder preference".
 

Bigshu

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Racing seats are not designed for typical aircraft impacts. Cars don't fall from the sky.
Actually, I've seen plenty of races, from F1 to NASCAR, where cars do go airborne and fall from the sky! Not typical, but I bet the seats didn't fail...
 

Brünner

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How often does an airplane get hit by a car from behind?

Apparently the stop lights didn't work.
 

Bigshu

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Not trying to re-invent the wheel here. If a builder thinks a racing seat meets his needs, that's likely to be a safer alternative than some bent aluminum with foam over it, which is typical of lots of homebuilts. With proper mounting and the right cushion layup, it is likely to be much safer than what the plans show for my H5, or the Graham Lee Nieuport, Or the Volksplane VP1, or the Flybaby. Just sayin...
 
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