Retractable Shoulder Harness

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Postby lazairiii » Thu Feb 24, 2005 6:35 pm

Hello all,

I've been busy this winter doing some final touches on the plane trying to get it ready for spring. One of the things I always wanted on my first Lazair but never had was a shoulder harness. So I worked closely with a great company in Arizona USA called AM-Safe. These guys make aircraft seatbelts and harnesses of all kinds...and they were not afraid of the word Ultralight. I worked closely with a fine gentlemen named Cameron Elmer who walked me through many aspects of this project. They have developed a super nice setup that can be retrofitted to your Lazair. This 4-Point retractable shoulder harness set-up is extremely nice and very affordable too. I will post a series of pics here, but if you would like them send directly to you just email me off line and I'll shoot you over some pics.

George Curtis
Utah, USA

If you are interested in purchasing these, you may do so directly from AM-Safe by calling:

Cameron Elmer
AMSAFE Aviation
Ph: 602-850-2701
Fx: 602-850-2812

The part number you want to reference will be : 4072-2-121-2396 and the price is $199.99 each. Payment can be by Visa/MasterCard or COD.
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Postby lazairiii » Thu Feb 24, 2005 6:37 pm

Another pic
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Postby lazairiii » Thu Feb 24, 2005 6:37 pm

Another...
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Postby lazairiii » Thu Feb 24, 2005 6:38 pm

Yet another...
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Postby lazairiii » Thu Feb 24, 2005 6:40 pm

And finally...

There are more but this shoudl give you an idea of how nice these are.

Oh, and by the way, I do not finacially benefit by any of this, I just get a very nice restraint system to use.

George
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Postby Shannon » Tue Mar 01, 2005 4:31 pm

Super nice. Custom made for the Lazair to boot. Everyone with only the original lap belt should be taking a close look at this. In a crash you can take much more force when properly restrained with a shoulder harness. This harness assembly also has the aircraft type quick release in case of water landing or hanging upside down.

Super Job George !!!
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Postby Chappy » Wed Mar 02, 2005 12:34 am

George,

That looks like a VERY nice job, and I'm sure you'll be happy with it.

But even though I like it very much, I would not "upgrade" my harness, for two reasons. The first is weight. That retractor adds weight. I know it's not a lot, but Lazairs do best when kept light, and too many little things end up really adding up. If you ever saw my first Lazair, you would understand, as I was very guilty of too many mods that added weight that detracted from the performance of my plane. Keeping them light really pays off.

Second, my standard 4 point aircraft grade harness is not a hardship in the least. After snapping it together, it only requires a quick pull on each top strap, and I'm good to go. And once the engines are running, it's good for it to not be too easy to reach way forward. I'm a little more sensitive about that than most owners, as my props are 44" long and easier to get into.

Chappy
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Postby lazairiii » Wed Mar 02, 2005 3:50 am

Chappy,

I too had a light Lazair years ago, and still do, but always hated the two-point waist strap that was standard issue on the Lazair kits. Don't be mistaken, this is absolutely a 100% aircraft grade 4-point Inertia Reel Harness developed entirely by Am-Safe (the leading seatbelt manufacturer to the aircraft industry) for use in the Lazair. It is very light weight and has the added advantage of being able to lean forward if necessary for a restart or some other reason. It is not just some project I threw together as a gimik, I too have the ability to securely tighten the shoulder straps for a snug fit, but I also have the added ability of freedom of movement with the safety of an instant lock if needed.

Next time you are on a commercial airline flight, look closely at the buckle on your lap and then flip it over, it will say Am-Safe and it is exactly like the buckle they have developed for our Lazair. Now if you think that literally a pound or less will adversly effect my performance that dramatically then I'll take it in exchange for the absolute feeling of security and safety I feel by using this 4-point IR set-up, but I think you are over stating this as a weight to performance issue. If you want to look at adverse items strapped to the plane as a performance issue, then MarkDJ should'nt have even been able to get off the ground with a tent and camping gear decorating his plane last summer as he explored Yellowstone NP. But he did, and he had performance, maybe not like a stripped down series 1, but enough to take him over mountains and get him in and out of some tight spots along the way. All I'm saying is don't discourage others from this nice improvement just because you have a 4-point that works for you. You obviously changed from the original set-up, so hopefully others will agree that it's worth a look...right? Honestly, all things considered, the IR reel probably added 6-8 ounces to the weight of the 4-point as opposed to not having it. Not too bad.

George C.
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Postby Chappy » Wed Mar 02, 2005 9:29 pm

George,

6-8 oz. does sound good! I guess I'm just used to the reels used on cars and they are rather heavy. I was really trying, though, to make a point about keeping our planes light and not getting carried away with a bunch of mods that can really add up. As usual, I did a clumsy job of it...

I really do like your set up, and it sounds like you have done a serious job of deciding what your modification was worth to you in the trade off of money, safety and convenience vs. weight and reduced performance. Many people just go off half cocked and start "improving " things without considering the ramifications. And like I said, I'm sensitive to the issue because I was one of the worst offenders when I built my first Lazair kit!

Chappy
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Postby Chappy » Sat Mar 05, 2005 11:19 pm

Shannon,

I really don't have any problems with the factory upgrades - if they are appropriate to the particular model. You can put wide gear and brakes, factory floats, pod, and Rotax engines on a series one, for instance, but since they didn't authorize jury struts, you would end up with even poorer g ratings and a rather fragile plane.

I saw a highly modified Lazair at the Canadian EAA's Orillia fly-in one year that was way over done. It had very heavy amphibian floats, flaps AND spoilers (neither of which is needed AT ALL on a Lazair), steerable tailwheels, large wheels and brakes, fiberglass seat, large instrument panel, ballistic chute, extra bits and pieces everywhere and of course three Rotax engines so it could get off the ground. I suspect it was so over weight that it had maybe a 2 g positive and less that 1.5 g negative ultimate capability. I bet it flew more like a Teratorn or StarFlight (bag 'O rocks) than a Lazair. That's probably the worst case I've seen in a Lazair.

I can't tell anyone what to do, and was not trying to. I just wanted to get people THINKING about what the actual results will be of adding goodies to their planes. Many time we don't look at the overall picture when we get the inspiration to make "improvements" to our planes. It's too bad we can't just pick up the phone and call Dale and ask his opinion when ever we have an idea to improve or personalize our planes.

Look at the lengths that Rutan went to in designing the GlobalFlyer (from a description on their website): "All control surfaces are extremely light: 8 ounces per aileron, for example. The hinges were composite; as are the pushrods and bellcranks. Each one saves a few ounces over a metal part." This was a designer on a mission!

Chappy

PS. Tech Update 3.15 is important info for "modifiers". I think Dale wrote it after the first time he saw my first Lazair! He made me go home and make new lift struts after he saw all the rivits that I used to attach folded aluminum streamlining to them.
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