Sunday, 5 February 2012

Seats - Flight Engineer

Flight Engineer Seat
While the Flight Engineer seat in the space between the cockpit and cabin differed in the two early 113 variants, there was no difference by the time SARCUP was completed.  For the time being, I lack photographic evidence to support my recollection that the seats once differed, however after conferring with an FE friend, I have some specifics to support my memory.

One of the things I remember well was that the Voyageur FE station was considerably less comfortable than the Labrador version. This is due to a couple of things. As can be seen in the pictures below, the Voyageur station had the rather large cabinet on the left side that the Labradors did not. The cabinet reduced the width of the space by several inches. The purpose of the cabinet is two fold. What can be seen at the top of the cabinet is the circuit breaker panel. On the Labrador the breaker panel is behind the copilot’s seat, a portion of which can be seen in the picture on the right and below.

The second purpose of the cabinet is that it housed some of the extra hydraulics the Voyageur used. Of particular note is the hydraulic hoist used in Voyageurs was situated directly above the companionway door leading to the cockpit and where the FE sat. Originally, Labradors used an electric hoist so did not need the bulky cabinet. As part of the many modification, both variants used the externally mounted, hydraulically operated hoist with an internally mounted hydraulically operated hoist as a back up. This required Labradors to be modified to accept the hydraulics and thus the new hydraulics cabinet.

Voyageur style companion way and FE station. To the left of the coiled mic cord is the  soft back of the  FE seat.
Photo courtesy Scott Hemsley

The FE seat in the folded position on the inside of the companionway. Photo courtesy of Scott Hemsley
The second reason the Labrador FE seat was more comfortable, is that the Lab seat was wider, had the same tube frame structure for not only the seat, but the seat back as well, which was sufficiently padded for at least some comfort. As can be seen in the top picture, the Voyageur seatback was basically a strap. While not a significant difference, the final difference in FE seats is that the Voyageur FE seat was stored on the right side of the companion way, the Labrador seat was folded up on the left side of the companion way.

The FE seat is in the down position in the companionway. To the right of the blackout door on the left side of the aft bulkhead is the red and green cloth seat back. Photo courtesy Jeff Wilson

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