I had Oregon Areo make the foam for the front seats. They make seat cushions for military and high-end corporate aircraft. Their cushions are considered to be the best you can get. But they’re a bit pricey. So that’s why they’re only doing the front seats. And their job was even more interesting since I had to… modify the left seat to accommodate my longer than average stature. 🙂
For the back seats. I made my own by purchasing raw foam from Jim and Janet Fix of Hi-Tech Foams. In the 15 years we’ve been flying our 182-RG, we’ve put over 1,200 hours on the plane. In that time, the back seat has been occupied for about 100 hours. That said, the foam cushions I made for the back seats are way better than what’s in the Cessna.
For now, when I’ve needed to sit in the seats to determine a position for the glareshield, switches, etc., I would cover the seat with plastic and install the seat. But that’s an inexact science since an upholstered seat will be a bit wider and result in a slightly higher seating position. Which means it’s long past the time for getting the seats covered. I was going to use Dave Spano. He did Brett Ferrell’s interior and the glareshield for our Cessna. But he’s not in the upholstery business anymore.
I know the owner of a local body shop and he sent me to his interior guy. Wicked expensive! I called around, asked other builders, googled and found Flightline Interiors. I called and spoke with Abby. They specialize in RV’s but Abby said that they’ve done a couple Velocity’s. So Ann and I drove up with a front and rear seat (in the middle of snowstorm) and looked at some of their previous work. They really know airplane interiors!
One of my biggest concerns is that the pilot and co-pilot seats are obviously different sizes. I was worried that it would look funny after they were upholstered. Abby said that she had an idea on how to minimize the difference in appearance. She and Ann talked about colors, patterns, etc. while I watched the snow.
For material, we would use an “Ultra Leather” product. I’ve sat in chairs that use this material and it’s really soft, breathes well and isn’t as expensive and natural leather. The pattern is based on the design that Bentley uses in their cars. Colors will be consistent with the carpet, trim and safety harnesses.
So we got on the schedule and on the appointed day I drove the seat frames and cushions up to Burlington, WI and dropped them off. It was almost lunchtime so Abby directed me to Freds. They claim to have the best burgers in Wisconsin… I can not dispute that claim.
About a month later Abby called to let me know the seats were done. So back in the Explorer and up to Wisconsin (and lunch at Fred’s!).
Here’s the pilot and co-pilot seats. They don’t look that different to me. 🙂
Here’s all four.
The color looks quite a bit… lighter than I expected. But Ann says it’s fine. And who am I to question anyone about colors?