The main instrument panel is an integral part of the flight deck. Now that it’s installed other components can be fitted to the platform base and measured correctly. I knew that the two Weber pilot seats would take a considerable amount of time to install, so decided to tackle this job over the weekend.
In my earlier posts, I mentioned that to manipulate the various levers which move the seats results in relatively large amount of stress being placed on the attachment points of the seat to the platform floor; there is reason Weber seats have 16 attachment points to the flight deck floor. To help with the attachment of the seats I incorporated a mount that sits beneath each seat. The mount, constructed from wood, is 16 mm in thickness and is bolted to the 16 mm thick platform floor (36 mm total thickness). Rather than use wood screws to attach the seats, I decided to use 55 mm length bolts with washers; my thinking is that the bolts will provide far stronger attachment points, when installed through the seat mounts and platform floor, than wood screws.
The first task was to cut and paint the seat mounts which was straightforward. I then positioned each seat on its mounting base and drilled the appropriate holes in the correct position to match the holes in the seat legs. The seat mounts were then placed on the platform floor in their correct position and the holes drilled through the platform floor. The platform floor was then removed from the base (note that the platform floor is made of three segments to allow for easy moving if necessary), and each seat was laid on its side to allow placement of the platform floor and seat mount before inserting the bolts and securing the seat. The platform floor was then positioned back onto the base with the seat attached. The biggest problem was actually lifting and manoeuvring each seat and its segment of platform floor; together, each seat and segment of flooring weighs over 50 kg.
Correct Positioning Vital
The correct positioning of the seat and seat mount is very important. Boeing specification states that the distance from the front of the seat to the MIP is 340 mm. The seats have a forward and aft movement so working out the correct position for the seat legs is a matter of meticulous measuring, double checking and then triple checking the measurement – once the holes are drilled they are there for life.
With the platform floor secured to the base it was time to trial the seats. Both seats work well and there is no movement or flexing at their attachment points. There is also no movement where the seat mounts join the platform floor.
I think it was overboard using 16 bolts and bolting through 36 mm of wood! But, I wanted to make sure the seats did not move on their base as I didn't particularly want to remove them and start over again.
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Next on the list is installing the ACE yoke and throttle quadrant.