Seat cushions to improve vision over console

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Salty, Mar 27, 2020.

  1. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    Ok, so I'm short. I can't really see over the console during landing or takeoff in much of any plane I fly. Up to now I've just accepted it and adapted, and it really hasn't been a huge problem.

    But, just for fun I sat on a cushion the other day, and HOLY CRAP landing was SOOO much easier. It was like somebody took a blindfold off me.

    Here's the problem though. I'm not comfortable on it. I feel like I'm balanced precariously. It is helping me do a better job of keeping coordinated, because any lack of coordination is very noticeable, I feel like I"m going to fall off the seat. It's also not cushioned as well and my arse doesn't like it as well as the real seat.

    If I'm going to bother with a cushion I want to get at least 2" higher, or I'd rather not use one at all. Any recommendations on something that conforms to the seat better and feels more stable? I actually get a little anxiety when sitting on the cushion due to the feeling of instability, otherwise it's awesome.
     
  2. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Do you own the plane? If so I'd take it to a local upholsterer and see if they can add two inches to the bottom while retaining the overall shape of the seat. Shouldn't cost that much.
     
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  3. lancie00

    lancie00 Line Up and Wait

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    What kind of plane do you fly most? The pilot's seat in our Arrow has height adjustment. Could you use a 4" piece of memory foam?
     
  4. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    In my 172 I had a custom cushion made with high density foam. What airplane are you flying?
     
  5. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    I own a mooney and fly a skycatcher quite a lot also.
     
  6. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    What kind of cushion did you use? A random pillow or one contoured to hold your butt in place?
     
  7. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    You can spend $$$$ for portable aviation seat cushions. I recommend patio furniture seat cushions - get the ones with the back and the bottom. The bottom part raises you up, and the back moves you a bit more forward. Together, this eliminates the apprehensive/uncoordinated feeling you're gonna fall off. Add a couple bungee straps around the airplane seat, and that eliminates any feeling that the cushions will slide off.
     
  8. Everskyward

    Everskyward Experimenter

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    I remember using a flotation cushion like ones you might find on a small boat.
     
  9. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    I have a boat cushion and a custom made leather cushion that matches my mooney leather. They both feel the same way. They are both pretty dense foam.
     
  10. bluesideup

    bluesideup Pre-takeoff checklist

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    When I fly with someone, take a C172 as an example, that cannot see the top of the cowl and the wing tips, and have full control of rudder pedals travel, which in my opinion are necessary to conduct and learn safe flight, I make them use the adjustment needed to get the proper position. I always carry a couple of cushions / pillows with me for just that purpose.
    A couple of outdoor chair cushions work well in most cases, you can use one for your back and one for your butt.
    Note:
    1-Make sure they are wide enough to extend past the edge of your seats, this way when you sit on them they will likely pull back from the edges and give you enough support to feel stable.
    2-A more important point is to make sure the supports / pillows are secured to your acft seats, attach some belts that you can connect from outside before you get in the plane. Velcro ends work well.
    There have been occasions when using the small pillows and one does an unusual / harder landing, the support slides off and the pilot loses control of the aircraft.
    Summary: Secure and Large enough to make you feel / be stable.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
  11. Adam Weiss

    Adam Weiss Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Get one of those broken tailbone cushions.
    They don’t compress too much.
     
  12. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    You and I are close to the same height, so I'm not surprised the cushion made a difference. It wasn't until I got a good cushion that my landings started to become decent. The difference in sight over the cowling makes all the difference in the world.

    In the Tecnam LSA I use one of Sporty's cushions. See https://www.sportys.com/pilotshop/p...VGm6GCh2uRQ9aEAQYASABEgKa4fD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds .

    That cushion isn't quite high enough for me in the Cherokee. In that plane I'm using something similar to this: https://www.amazon.com/Duro-Med-Del...1381&sprefix=seat+height+cush,aps,251&sr=8-14

    It's a little bit too high, and it doesn't fit the seat well, so I'm looking for something better. If you find something good, let me know.
     
  13. MacFlier

    MacFlier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I got the one from costco.com and it works great.
     
  14. Jumpmaster

    Jumpmaster Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I use one in my Tiger made by Oregon Aero. I use it not because of the height issue (even short people can see well over the Tiger’s dash) but because the seats are so damn uncomfortable. And that’s even after I had the bottoms redone with memory foam. Oregon Aero makes a great product but they are not cheap. With their seat cushion and lumbar support I can fly 3 hours or so in my Tiger and still get out and walk.
     
  15. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    We've got one of those too. Thankfully we didn't have to pay for it because I'm sure it would have been spendy. They work great and make questionable seats so much better to sit on for long distances.
     
  16. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    If its yours get a custom cushion...

    thats what im going to do for my 14 yr old who's a regular copilot, he's short but wont sit in a booster out of shame... in my old cessna 140 the seat bottoms slip into a little pan, no adjustment. So I'm getting an extra seat bottom frame and going to build up some nice High resilience 70 foam an extra few inches, cover it the same as i did the other seats and it wont stick out like a booster. I get my design helps me there with interchangeability of a reasonably priced seat frame. But the principle could be adapted if its your bird.
     
  17. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    Lifting the seat to improve view is SOP in STOL airplanes. Just beware of how close your head gets to structure. There’s a reason lots of Cub drivers wear helmets.
     
  18. Pugs

    Pugs Line Up and Wait

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    My wife has one of these - https://www.sportys.com/pilotshop/pilot-s-elevator-cushion.html. Works well for $50 and she can use it in a variety of configurations. In the Archer she doesn't need it, in the 182 she needs the thick one on the bottom and on the 172 the thin one. Since she doesn't fly she rarely uses the back cushion that some might need to reach the controls.
     
  19. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    Ok, so here’s what I’ve tried so far.

    Cheap boat flotation cushion
    IMG_3260.jpeg

    Nice custom leather cushion:
    IMG_3261.jpeg

    And today I tried this, and much to my surprise it felt much better both from stability and comfort aspects, even though I think it's actually less stable....
    I put a memory foam cushion on top of the custom leather cushion

    IMG_3262.jpeg

    The memory foam compresses to almost nothing, but it felt more stable, and a lot more comfortable.
     
  20. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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  21. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I fly a lot of 12-18 year olds in 182s and 206s. Those have big panels. The first question is always “can you see pavement in front of the plane?” If the answer is no, I keep two firm Goodwill pillows in each plane. I spent less than $3 apiece on those. If you can’t see pavement in front of the plane, you’re going to have a lot of trouble, even for straight and level flight.

    There is very seldom a fore/aft problem on these planes, though there could be in principle. But height is a common problem, even sometimes for adults.

    Go to Goodwill and squeeze all the pillows. You want something firm or it won’t make much difference.
     
  22. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Only pavement you gonna see is to the side...
     
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  23. sarangan

    sarangan Cleared for Takeoff

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    Although sitting higher will you to see more of the runway in front, that is not necessarily the correct technique to overcome this common problem. Even if your head is against the ceiling, you will lose visibility of the runway during a proper flare. Every pilot should learn how to transition their gaze from straight ahead to sideways during landing. I would recommend watching this video:
     
  24. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    If you read my post you’ll see that landing has never been an issue. I have several thousand landings day and night without being able to see the runway in front of me. But it’s foolish not to improve your visibility and make it easier if you can.
     
  25. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I can't see over the glareshield of a 182. So you're telling me I shouldn't use a phone book so I can see out the window?

    update: I forget... many people don't know what a phone book is.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
  26. bluesideup

    bluesideup Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I agree that pilots should learn to gaze.. to sideways.. for a short while, and in some cases with some acft you will have to land where the only ground reference is from side view, that is Not the case for most GA acft in use presently.
    With the proper view setup from the start, in most acft like the C152---206, where you see the top of the cowl you do not need to land in a configuration where you lose view of the end of the rwy. The proper technique, during flare, if you want to use that term, which I do not think it's a separate phase just a continuation of the Round out in my opinion, should be to look way down the rwy and raise the top of cowl to just the end of the runway, short gaze to side and closer to the front, back to end, and wait for the touch down. If everything else was done correctly before that it will give you a good landing.
    I think that most people have a misunderstanding as to why you look at the end of the rwy, there are multiple reasons but the most important is that when you do that your peripheral vision gets much better, activated, the further down the runway you look the wider your field of view is, which helps with the side ground view, perception.
    There are some acft, like the Flight design and others, where there is no top of cowl view and the top of cowl does not help, and it takes longer to learn the proper landing technique because you cannot see the alignment and the end of rwy reference, you just have to memorize it, but looking down the rwy still helps with the ground reference perception.
     
  27. SkyChaser

    SkyChaser Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I am short, too. When I fly, I have to pull the seat full forward and crank it up pretty much to full height, and then put pillows behind my back. That way, I am tall enough to see over the panel and far enough forward I can still reach the rudder pedals. I tried the pillow underneath, but it felt unstable to me, too. I don't know if something similar might work for you or not, since I am probably a lot shorter than you. But I agree that it is definitely amazing when you can actually see over the console, and it makes it a whole lot easier to fly! :)
     
  28. lowtimer

    lowtimer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Get with the times...... It's vertically challenged not short. ;)
     
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  29. lowtimer

    lowtimer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Just try not to call a lady horizontally challenged, it won't end well.
     
  30. woodchucker

    woodchucker Pattern Altitude

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    You maybe posted a picture of something like this above:
    4ED1D476-AC85-4536-A6B0-13BE613DB029.jpeg

    I got that for the wife for long car trips. She loves it.

    Something like it anyways. Looks a bit like what you posted above so if it works that’s great!