Although certainly one the easiest, least-difficult tasks in building this airplane, the Seat Core Butt Test, or SCBT (I just made that up…ha!) is something that requires a good chunk of time to be allowed for…
Well, I started off this morning with a goal of completing a long-overdue email reply to my buddy Dave Berenholtz. He was discussing his seat cores when it dawned on me that I should finish my email to him while actually sitting in –and testing– the latest Oregon Aero mods to my seat cores.
One of many issues Dave is having with his Oregon Aero seat cores is clearance between his head and the canopy while sitting in the front seat with the cores in place. Here I’m showing that I have about 4 inches of clearance above my head while sitting in my front seat (obviously with seat core in place).
One of my issues with the initial version of my seat cores –both front and back– is that the upper seat pad did NOT follow the “curve” of the seat where there was 4″ vertical section on the front seat at the top (and ~6″ vertical section on the back seat).
Well, Oregon Aero corrected this on my latest version 2 seat cores, as can be seen below through the canopy (and in my previous blog post) . . .
With the uppermost portion of the front seat pad now in place, it pushes my shoulders both up and forward in the seat. Lending itself to the first definite reason I needed to check head-to-canopy clearance with the new seat core.
The second verification check was with visibility, which there is a noticeable improvement for the better. Not much, but definitely better vs worse, both to the front and sides. In fact, I can almost see the top line of my nose hatch while sitting in my normal position inside the cockpit on the version 2 seat core pads.
Clearly (as in contrast to my dirty canopy) the visibility is excellent. This is due in part to my having moved my seat almost an inch forward at the very early stages of fuselage construction.
I have a very old MacBook Air that has terrible battery life, but it’s small so I was using that to pen my reply email to Dave for about the first half hour sitting on the front seat core.
Well, as the laptop battery was getting to it’s last breath, my daughter serendipitously called which gave me something to do for another 45 minutes!
Thus, for this “Butt-in-Seat” test I spent over 1 hour and 20 minutes sitting on the version 2 seat cores. Honestly, I could have used a little bit more lumbar support, but upon exiting the plane my hips didn’t feel as they did somewhat after the first seat core check (at least a few hours later).
Speaking of exiting, with the new lower profile front edge of the front seat it was very noticeably easier entering the plane with these modified seat cores. I still caught my right heel on the way out, but I don’t have my seat cores secured/velcro’d to the thigh support as I will when the bird is flying.
Exiting is still not optimum, but it gives me some much-needed thigh support while still much easier to exit than version 1 of the seat cores, so I can definitely live with this setup. And not to be snotty about it, but the majority of my buddies that are telling me to whittle that front seat edge thigh support down to a razor’s edge for easier egressing are notably shorter than I am… and I think their requirement for thigh support is an inherently different configuration than with me and my longer legs.
Bottom line, I would say that I’ll look at a bit more for lumbar support for longer flights, but I consider this seat core version 2 butt test a successful one!