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Seat cushion/lumbar support - yay or nay

Ektar

Brewing Pilot
pilot
My CO told us at a Captain's Call that they are banned because they are not 'Flight Certified' by NAVAIR. Apparently, anything going into the aircraft must meet certain safety requirments (makes sense...) to be used and these cushions have never been tested. The Skipper said that this is being moved up the chain quickly to try to get it resolved since it effects IPs and Students.
 

BACONATOR

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
My CO told us at a Captain's Call that they are banned because they are not 'Flight Certified' by NAVAIR. Apparently, anything going into the aircraft must meet certain safety requirments (makes sense...) to be used and these cushions have never been tested. The Skipper said that this is being moved up the chain quickly to try to get it resolved since it effects IPs and Students.
Are there not pads or cushions that ARE authorized? I know in the T-34, MANY IPs bring pads and I've even seen a very short female student bring a pad. Perhaps it was Navy-issued, but is there some sort of option?
 

phrogpilot73

Well-Known Member
Interesting. What seat cushions are you talking about? I thought that the Oregon Aero ones had a flight clearance, I do remember that HMX-1 did OT&E on them for a while - and then we got them issued to us in the fleet shortly thereafter (provided your squadron had the duckets to buy them - and Flight E owned them, not us). Did they recently get banned?
 

hscs

Registered User
pilot
I would have to look at the flight clearance, but I believe phrog is correct -- Oregon Aero is the only one authorized.

The deal with banning cushions has to deal with the fact NAVAIR has not tested them. It is possible to do more damage to you back in a crash by sitting on a cushion than not. I personally don't use them -- have never needed them, and my back got messed up numerous times before I got to flight school.
 

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
Interesting. What seat cushions are you talking about? I thought that the Oregon Aero ones had a flight clearance, I do remember that HMX-1 did OT&E on them for a while - and then we got them issued to us in the fleet shortly thereafter (provided your squadron had the duckets to buy them - and Flight E owned them, not us). Did they recently get banned?
It's a little more (needlessly) complicated than that. The OA seats that were approved were specifically for the T-34. Those cushions are different than the SERE wood planks that were in there when Phrog and I were studs. However, people (myself included) were bringing additional pads. Many were using OA pads that were in addition to the installed ones. I personally just used the thin green ones. Neither is technically certified and it was all of a sudden brought up to someone at CNATRA. That person then fired off an email to everyone else, so despite it being in use for a long time, it "just came to his attention."

Bogey, those IPs you say you were seeing are either a) from a few weeks ago when they were allowed and/or b) are just ignoring the new rule that just came out a few weeks ago.

For a while, we had really annoying straps on our CMUs. It took a little while, but we got them removed fairly quickly, thanks to pushing it up the chain, so something will change "soon" for the butt-pads.
 

phrogpilot73

Well-Known Member
So are you saying that the T-34's had/have the OA seat cushions in them?!? That would have been nice back in our day. I remember I refused to use a seat cushion so it would prepare me for the less-than-SERE-comfortable seats in the Phrog. Didn't use a seat cushion in the Phrog until I got a 'roid. That was right about when (I thought) that the OA ones got a flight clearance. Did the OA ones have a flight clearance for the T-34, and perhaps certain fleet birds? Like I said, I know for a fact that HMX-1 did the OT&E and then several months later we got them in the fleet. Although, our Flight E shop was shady at times (never unsafe, but was good at looking out for our comfort - case in point, I'm pretty sure that the "Cool Seat" that they got for us in Iraq didn't have a flight clearance).
 

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
I don't know the details of the seat that is currently in the -34, but if it's not an OA cushion, it's something similar. However, it's not a pad like you'd carry. It's a cushion that's much thicker and "sinks" into the seat well. There's still a lot of physical cushion material left when it stops becoming comfortable, but the foam doesn't give anymore, which is why it hurts. There have been a substantial increase in seat cushion MAFs, so sometimes you get a plane w/ a new cushion and that helps. For now, it's the only way to demonstrate that we had been making due before. Now they should see an increase in spending to back up our request for better comfort to reduce fatigue.
 

phrogpilot73

Well-Known Member
I don't know the details of the seat that is currently in the -34, but if it's not an OA cushion, it's something similar. However, it's not a pad like you'd carry. It's a cushion that's much thicker and "sinks" into the seat well. There's still a lot of physical cushion material left when it stops becoming comfortable, but the foam doesn't give anymore, which is why it hurts. There have been a substantial increase in seat cushion MAFs, so sometimes you get a plane w/ a new cushion and that helps. For now, it's the only way to demonstrate that we had been making due before. Now they should see an increase in spending to back up our request for better comfort to reduce fatigue.
Ahh, ok. That makes sense. I was talking about the OA seats that you carried, those were the ones that HMX tested and we used. Cushiony seats in a T-34?? What's happening to Naval Aviation?!? :D
 

xj220

Will fly for food.
pilot
Contributor
So the T-34 used to be MORE uncomfortable than it already is? Wow, never thought that was possible...
 

kmac

FLIP Maker
pilot
Super Moderator
Contributor
Bogey, those IPs you say you were seeing are either a) from a few weeks ago when they were allowed and/or b) are just ignoring the new rule that just came out a few weeks ago.
What rule is this?! I haven't seen any e-mails related to it.
 

Harrier Dude

Living the dream
My CO told us at a Captain's Call that they are banned because they are not 'Flight Certified' by NAVAIR. Apparently, anything going into the aircraft must meet certain safety requirments (makes sense...) to be used and these cushions have never been tested. The Skipper said that this is being moved up the chain quickly to try to get it resolved since it effects IPs and Students.
When was my pencil certified by NAVAIR? How about my 9g kneeboard? My socks? Skivvies? Where the hell does this end?

IMHO.....NAVAIR has a real tendency to get certification crazy and drunk with power. Far be it from me to stand in the way of job justification for some fatass GS worker, but at somepoint the operators of equipment need to have a say in their own personal safety and operational requirements.

Like always, "safer" in the eyes of an engineer does not always equate to safer from a pilots perspective. I realize this is "just a TRACOM issue", but to put a point on it, which is the bigger risk? Breaking your back from a seat cushion? Or crashing your chopper because you were distracted by the pain in your legs/ass? Who gets to make that decision?

I say pilots.

BTW....OA had several seat cushion sets for various TACAIR bubbas. Most of them are NOT NAVAIR certified, contrary to popular belief. Getting them certified would take millions of dollars and several years for sled tests and all sorts of bullshit. It ain't gonna happen.

Meanwhile intrepid pilots everywhere make do however they can. Legally or not.
 

phrogpilot73

Well-Known Member
IMHO.....NAVAIR has a real tendency to get certification crazy and drunk with power. Far be it from me to stand in the way of job justification for some fatass GS worker, but at somepoint the operators of equipment need to have a say in their own personal safety and operational requirements.

Like always, "safer" in the eyes of an engineer does not always equate to safer from a pilots perspective. I realize this is "just a TRACOM issue", but to put a point on it, which is the bigger risk? Breaking your back from a seat cushion? Or crashing your chopper because you were distracted by the pain in your legs/ass? Who gets to make that decision?

I say pilots.
For what it's worth, I've met one or two NAVAIR guys that I have respect for and are working hard because they think it's the right thing - and want to get a good product to the fleet. Not surprisingly, those are the guys in Flight Test and Human Factors. There are a lot of guys down here who it seems like their sole task/goal is to justify their position. It's sad.

---PREPARE TO BE PISSED---
I once heard an engineer in a TIM say "We shouldn't rely on fleet pilots input, they don't know how to build a helicopter." I was only 1 month past my EAS - and I seriously almost jumped over the table to choke him.
 

Harrier Dude

Living the dream
For what it's worth, I've met one or two NAVAIR guys that I have respect for and are working hard because they think it's the right thing - and want to get a good product to the fleet. Not surprisingly, those are the guys in Flight Test and Human Factors. There are a lot of guys down here who it seems like their sole task/goal is to justify their position. It's sad.

---PREPARE TO BE PISSED---
I once heard an engineer in a TIM say "We shouldn't rely on fleet pilots input, they don't know how to build a helicopter." I was only 1 month past my EAS - and I seriously almost jumped over the table to choke him.
I don't know how to build a helicopter.....or a jet for that matter. I DO, however know how to use a seat cushion, kneeboard, or pencil. They should stay in their lanes and only "certify" shit that affects more than just my little pink behind.
 

MasterBates

Well-Known Member
As an engineer that used to work for a LARGE DOD supplier in college, I am pissed. I probably would have choked them as well. I don't have as much self restraint as Phrogger.
 
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