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Most and least comfortable pilot seats

Posted: Wed Jul 28, 2021 10:02 pm
by convair880mfan
I don't know how much attention the commercial airliner manufacturers devote to providing pilots with comfortable seats, but I wonder if pilots and former pilots, both military and civilian, have opinions on the seats of the aircraft they have flown.

I would guess that there are differences between seat comfort perception and whether an airliner is purposed for long haul, medium haul or short haul use. But short haul pilots often fly many short hops per day and so spend a lot of time in their seats.

A former TWA pilot [now deceased] told me that he thought the Lockheed L-1011 Tristar had the most comfortable seats he had experienced. Perhaps the C-5 also had very comfortable seats. I have no idea.

Obviously comfort has a sizable subjective dimension, but I am interested in what pilots and former pilots think. Thanks to one and all for your responses.

Re: Most and least comfortable pilot seats

Posted: Wed Jul 28, 2021 10:21 pm
by GalaxyFlyer
C-5 seats were aged out and only okay. Now, the ACES II seat was uncomfortable, esp for 8-10 hour flights, no padding, no adjustments in tilt, recline or fore-aft position, but when I needed, I needed it very badly. It worked and will forever be my bestie.

Re: Most and least comfortable pilot seats

Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 4:34 am
by Max Q
The pilot seats on the SF340 were truly awful, incredibly uncomfortable, could barely move after a long day in those things


The 727 pilot seats were very comfortable


The older Pilot seats in our MD80’s were pretty crummy, they were the same as the DC9 and the backrest was really badly designed, I found I could make it tolerable with creative use of cabin seat cushions


The later MD80 seats were just fine, 757 and 767 seats were all good but I think that old 727 seat was the best, especially the front facing ones !

Re: Most and least comfortable pilot seats

Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 4:40 am
by Aaron747
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
C-5 seats were aged out and only okay. Now, the ACES II seat was uncomfortable, esp for 8-10 hour flights, no padding, no adjustments in tilt, recline or fore-aft position, but when I needed, I needed it very badly. It worked and will forever be my bestie.


It sounds like you have a punch-out story for us...??

Re: Most and least comfortable pilot seats

Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 2:44 pm
by GalaxyFlyer
Yeah, A-10 mid-air, at about 500’, nearly head-on.

Re: Most and least comfortable pilot seats

Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 4:17 pm
by Aaron747
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Yeah, A-10 mid-air, at about 500’, nearly head-on.


Holy shit...what happened to the other guy?

Re: Most and least comfortable pilot seats

Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 5:08 pm
by GalaxyFlyer
Killed instantly, basically flew thru the right wing and out the left engine. Flying one moment, fireball and in pieces the next. Broken vertebrae, some minor burns and cuts for me, six months recuperation.

Re: Most and least comfortable pilot seats

Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 5:43 pm
by Aaron747
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Killed instantly, basically flew thru the right wing and out the left engine. Flying one moment, fireball and in pieces the next. Broken vertebrae, some minor burns and cuts for me, six months recuperation.


Maaan, what an ordeal. I don’t wish six months of rehab on anyone. What a difference a couple feet to the left/right makes huh? How did the guy manage not to see an A-10??

Re: Most and least comfortable pilot seats

Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 6:06 pm
by GalaxyFlyer
He was down low, against the foliage in European One camo, I was in the sun to him. The board even flew it in the planes after the geometry was established from the wreckage and my lead’s view. With some vertical separation, of course. Neither of the pilots saw each other despite foreknowledge of what they were doing. I had lunch with the guy who flew “as me” recently and laughed about how weird it was to fly the tests.

Three weeks in hospital, three months with my parents, mom was an RN, then home on my own all with back brace, a carapace, really.

Funny story, a year later I was back as a 727 plumber at EA. Captain boards using a wheelie cart for his bags, as I did. In 1987, using wheels branded one a ninny who couldn’t carry his own bags. I asked why the cart. He said, I ejected after a mid-year in an A-37 over New York. The co-pilot, a good friend, got out of his seat and said to the cappy, “after you two share stories I’ll come back”.

Re: Most and least comfortable pilot seats

Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 6:25 pm
by CrimsonNL
I've always wondered at the lack of headrests on some long-haulers, like the DC-10, and of course older piston designs. Doesn't that get annoying, not being able to rest your head against it, after flying for several hours?

Re: Most and least comfortable pilot seats

Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 6:26 pm
by Aaron747
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
He was down low, against the foliage in European One camo, I was in the sun to him. The board even flew it in the planes after the geometry was established from the wreckage and my lead’s view. With some vertical separation, of course. Neither of the pilots saw each other despite foreknowledge of what they were doing. I had lunch with the guy who flew “as me” recently and laughed about how weird it was to fly the tests.

Three weeks in hospital, three months with my parents, mom was an RN, then home on my own all with back brace, a carapace, really.

Funny story, a year later I was back as a 727 plumber at EA. Captain boards using a wheelie cart for his bags, as I did. In 1987, using wheels branded one a ninny who couldn’t carry his own bags. I asked why the cart. He said, I ejected after a mid-year in an A-37 over New York. The co-pilot, a good friend, got out of his seat and said to the cappy, “after you two share stories I’ll come back”.


Ohh yeah, perfect segue for the walkaround. :lol: Thanks for sharing!

Re: Most and least comfortable pilot seats

Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 6:28 pm
by Aaron747
CrimsonNL wrote:
I've always wondered at the lack of headrests on some long-haulers, like the DC-10, and of course older piston designs. Doesn't that get annoying, not being able to rest your head against it, after flying for several hours?


Pretty sure the Diesel Ten had headrests. They may just be detached or not installed in some pictures.

Re: Most and least comfortable pilot seats

Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 6:33 pm
by convair880mfan
Did you fly the C5, Galaxy flyer? If so, that is so cool. What do you remember about it?

Re: Most and least comfortable pilot seats

Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 7:25 pm
by GalaxyFlyer
17 years worth of it. Too much to list here or anywhere else for that matter.

Re: Most and least comfortable pilot seats

Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 7:44 pm
by Aaron747
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
17 years worth of it. Too much to list here or anywhere else for that matter.


No tales of shifting cargo or no-flap landings to regale us with? :hyper:

Re: Most and least comfortable pilot seats

Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 8:58 pm
by GalaxyFlyer
Nope, but no flaps were a regular flight training and checking event for A/Cs. A dozen or so in-flight engine shutdowns, mostly routine except for shedding a blade at 40W.

Re: Most and least comfortable pilot seats

Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2021 10:42 pm
by FGITD
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Nope, but no flaps were a regular flight training and checking event for A/Cs. A dozen or so in-flight engine shutdowns, mostly routine except for shedding a blade at 40W.


Ever considered writing a book or some memoirs? I realize to you most of it is probably old history and doing your job, but just some of the snippets you’ve posted are absolutely fascinating stories.

And for the topic at hand…wasn’t my seat to claim, but I used to love the 747 pilot seats while filling out load sheets during longer turns. Extremely comfortable, but again…I wasn’t sitting there for 10 hours.

Also a fan of the a380 seats. Cockpit location on there is nice and quiet, roomy, and the side stick layout with the table is a nice way to fill out paperwork