- Frame and Fiberglass Interior Modifications -

      One of the main reasons I bought the Exec kit helicopter was so I could custom-build the interior, to fly with greater comfort and safety. This meant a number of modifications to the frame and the fiberglass seat, floor pan and instrument console.
      You can see here where I dropped the back side of the pilot's seat 3-3/4". Using just 2 layers of foam inside the seat pan buys me another 2-1/4", for a total of 6" more head-room inside the helicopter. I will still use the standard layers of impact-foam cushion beneath the seat pan.

I also widened out the inside of both seat pockets to 15" wide on the passenger side and 16" wide on the pilot's side for a bit more hip room.

      For better ergonomics I dropped the front of the seat pan 2-1/4".
      Here is a pilot-side view of the seat. The seat bottom now tilts upward about 15 degrees for better leg support. Notice there is no longer a recess in the side for the frame's 1-1/2" curved side tube. I also pulled out the left side of the collective pocket, which was originally warped inward... you can just make out the light tan horizontal patch line along the top of the collective pocket.
      This view of the underside of the seat gives you a pretty good idea of all the modifications that had to be done. The yellow rope-looking thing across the seat bottom is... you guessed it... a piece of yellow rope. I saturated the 3/8" polyethylene rope with fiberglass resin and pulled it taut along the seat bottom, then bonded it to the bottom with additional layers of fiberglass cloth. The test piece I made first was very strong, light and rigid. It bonded very well to the fiberglass seat bottom and should make an excellent replacement for the aluminum seat stiffener, which I had to discard.
     
      The passenger-side of the seat.
      Interior view, prior to finish prep and painting. You can see how much I was able to widen out the bottom well inside the passenger seat. I still need to finish-sand and paint the interior surface to hide the new sections.
     
      Here is a pretty good shot showing the pilot-side frame and seat modifications. I cut out the frame's 1-1/2" curved side tube, dropped a support stanchion down and built a new truss below the 1-1/2" horizontal side tube. This eliminated the 1-1/2" curved side tube running through the pilot's hip area.
      Some other shots of the seat in position,
      the bottom back of the pilot's seat,
      the bottom back of the passenger's seat,
      beneath the passenger's seat,
      beneath the pilot's seat,
      and the fiberglass standoff used to bolt the forward part of the pilot's seat to the frame.
      I modified the pilot-side floor pan so I could move the directional control pedals 6" forward for more leg room. Then I enlarged the instrument console so I could relocate the 3 gauges from the front part of the floor pan into the console, and raised the console to clear my shins.
      I also widened the pilot's collective pocket, and you can see where I rebuilt the floor pan to match the lowered pilot's seat.
      I widened the left side of the instrument console about 6" and the right side of the console about 3".
      Top view of the instrument console and floor pan.
      Bottom view. The four white circles are sections of 3/4" PVC pipe fittings, fiberglassed to the floor pan to help locate it on the rubber bumpers on the frame.
Last Updated: November 10, 2003
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