To Travel Hopefully…..

and comfortably …. is a better thing than to arrive.

Needing to work up a seat to get everything in the cockpit area to fall to hand (and feets) and, also check that the body line is how I want it, I popped in to see a Bentley chum and took a picture of a period style bucket seat, just to use as a starting point.

Bentley racing seat

This seat – I can safely say without having sat in it – is going to be incredibly uncomfortable. Back in the mid-90’s when I was invited with the Avro to the Farnborough Airshow, all the visiting early aircraft were allocated an overnight hangar about 1/2 a mile away from the action and every morning we had to trundle the machines down to the flight line. The Shuttleworth Avro 504K was part of the display and, as someone had to sit in the cockpit whilst everyone else pushed, being the highest time 504 pilot present, I pulled rank and hopped aboard. I’d rather have pushed; the seat-back was just like the Bentley one in the picture above and by the time I’d gone 100 yards, it was very painfully squeezing my ribs together. I wouldn’t have liked to have gone any distance in the air in it. The seats in my Avro were very comfy – a couple of hours flying was no trouble at all. I’ve measured up the Bentley seat and worked up a sketch to take out the pointy bits and broaden the radius at the back.

Seat dimensions

I’ll add runners to the driver’s seat so there’s some latitude in the driving position. I’ll also have a look at the Avro seat drawing and check the dim’s on that. In fact, I’ll be sitting in the car in more or less the same position as I was in the Avro and, A.V. Roe & Co very helpfully supplied a drawing for that as well which I used for the cover of my book ‘A Standard Pilot’s Notes’ (available on Kindle if anyone’s interested).

Standard Pilot

So whilst I’m waiting for the Avro seat drawing to arrive, I’ve busied myself with a. fitting the brake shoes to the rear hubs and b. the business of extending the threads on the wheel studs to accommodate the wire wheels – the existing studs were for artillery wheels. The newly lined shoes went on a treat (although I put the handbrake shoes in the service brake position first before grasping that the heels are of different thicknesses) and I’m pleased to see that the retaining-cum-return springs still have some life left in them.

Rear brake shoes

Then, with the hubs sporting the new threads,

Rear hub

I popped a wheel on to determine the length of the wheel nut.

Rear wheel

To cut the threads, I made up a box spanner and with a 7/8 BSF die-nut, ran the thread down to a measured distance so that the shaped part of the nuts will be a snug fit in the dished recesses in the wheel centre. I’ve taken the thread down only far enough to ensure that if a nut or a number of nuts on any one wheel come loose, the wheel centre won’t chatter up against the threaded portion, causing it to shear. Once I’ve made the nuts I can cut the studs to length.

And hopefully, with all the wheel nuts nice and tight, we should, like Mr Stevenson said, arrive.


3 comments on “To Travel Hopefully…..

  1. Grant says:

    Your sketch indicates you are very much on the right track with your driver’s seat, and I would have to say that the Bentley seat looks almost faintly ridiculous. I went through the same exercise years ago with the front seats on a 30-98, not being blessed with the originals, and achieved a superb level of comfort with a blindingly close match to the original design. I like a relaxed and stretched out seating position with very nearly a straight-arm reach to the steering wheel. Your Avro sketch indicates a seat back that may be too upright for comfort in a motorcar, as in an aeroplane you are doing different things as you well know. Don’t forget to make the seat cushion long enough to give proper support under the knees, and remember to incorporate more than adequate lumbar support in the seat back, something that is often forgotten. Get it right now and you’ll be able to motor all day with nary the sign of a twinge!

    • You’re absolutely right about the lumbar support and thank you for reminding me – I would have charged ahead and had to jam the place up with cushions… The Avro drawing is really just a curiosity and in practice I think most people flying that type of machine lean slightly forward but, it has some useful dimensions to play with. When I receive the Avro seat drawing which I used, I’ll publish it because the design is fundamentally right and a good basis for a bucket seat although slightly short under the thighs. That didn’t matter so much because your legs were continually braced against the rudder bar. Thanks for your comments Grant – much appreciated.

      • Grant says:

        Think how much trouble you would have saved on mounting the steering box had you just fitted a simple rudder bar! Looking forward to the continued unfolding of the story and finding it most entertaining, one of the best little things on the web.

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