Online Community of Zenith Builders and Flyers
If you type in boat seats in Ebay, there are about 4000 of them in different styles, heights, colors, etc. Very easy to install. You can use a thick L angle bolted/screwed to the left and right, or the front and back, and mount it to the seatpan or use the mounting holes that they have in the seat.
Seats are generally $150-175 for two, rather than the very pricey Zenith seats. They way about the same as a Zenith seat with cushioning, cover, and frame.
I got the idea from here. I did not modify the base as it was not necessary.
One suggestion I would add is that when using alternative-sourced seats, try to find out if the upholstery material and the foam cushions are fire-retardant and don't emit toxic fumes when exposed to flame. I had custom seats built up on the Zenith frames and used burn-certified Confor foam and automotive upholstery fabric. I found out that my fabric, as well as most modern automotive upholstery fabrics, has the automotive equivalent of a "burn certified" fire resistance.
I guess a pundit might observe that fire-resistance is the least of your problems if you have a fire severe enough to catch your seat on fire, but one could envision the scenario of a crash with a "small fire" approaching your seat or the passenger seat and the pilot incapacitated enough to not be able to exit the aircraft - anything that doesn't burn or emit toxic gases might increase your survival odds a bit!
I don't remember the weight, but I do feel the Confor foam seats are a bit heavy - have you weighed the boat seats? My hangar-mate's RAN's Coyote has factory seats that are basically cushions slung from a lightweight aluminum frame - they're extremely light and comfortable, too! A pair of those would provide a substantial useful load increase from the weight savings!
Should I sell my Zenith seats and install the Coyote ones?
PS: Are both "fire rated?"
I don't know about the burn certification on the RANS Coyote seats, but RANS could probably tell you. Should you install them? I don't know, but they are very light and I "think" they would fit dimensionally, but it would require some sort of adapters to mount them. I don't think they're exactly cheap, either! If useful load was a real problem - they "might" be a good solution as I'm sure they're much lighter than almost anything else.
I don't know about the burn-cert on the Zenith seats - I suppose/would hope that Caleb would know. As I understand it, Zenith farms the fabrication out to a local upholstery shop in Mexico, MO. The nice ladies at the Zenith office knew zero about the details of the seat and upholstery kit!
The Zenith seats are fine for short trips, but one needs a cushion or two for flights longer than a few minutes. They're not exactly bio-morphically designed. If I could get greater comfort and lighter weight, a few bucks extra would not deter me.
I met the nice ladies in the Zenith office; they were helpful to the limits of their knowledge. We RON'd by their hangar, much as we did at yours. I will contact Caleb or Roger for the info, and contact RANS.
I looked a the collection of boat seats at Cabellas a couple of years ago in preparation for doing the interior in my buddy's STOL 750. Although they were undeniably nicer looking seats, I found that for the most part, the boat seats were quite a bit heavier than the Zenith designed seats. Also, I was suspicious that the boat seats would not handle G-loads which presumably the purpose designed Zenith seats are designed to handle. I'm not saying your substitution of boat seats is necessarily a bad thing, I am just recomending caution when substituting non-aviation products into your aircraft as very few of us have the engineering skills to adequately evaluate their sutability.
Yep, trust me, as a commercial pilot, I'm not substituting any automotive/marine stuff where it matters. I'll weigh them tonight, but they aren't much heavier, if not the same weight based on lift comparison.
You know, interesting, that everyone is so worried about burn ratings of a seat, but when I brought up the concern about a year ago, about the Carlisle tires, everyone told me I was being overly cautious.
See this thread.
We just had a local 701 and a 750 run off the runway and cause a decent amount of damage to the wings and airframe bc their carlisle tires blew up on a taxi test. Yes, not a flight, a taxi test! You guys really want to risk 40-80k in capital investment, not to mention hundreds or thousands of hours of time, on a super thin, tire that isn't even rated for the highway, Can't take a sidewall load, doesn't withstand brake heat well, can't be inflated over 20 psi, has insufficient load rating for plane, tread and sidewall is super thin, and they aren't advised for over 20 mph. To me that seems like a razor thin margin, even if you are landing on turf. I switched my tires out to a Michelin Aviator 8.00-6 which maybe adds 10 lbs to the airplane. But, guess what????? They are made for the demands of a plane, even if it is experimental. You will never, even in a no wind situation, land straight ahead, you will always have a side load. I would much rather have seats that will burn, than tires that won't hold the airplane under normal circumstances. And for what? save a few lbs? Save a couple of dollars? As a guy who pays attention to statistics, I see the likelihood that your plane has a prop strike, or airframe damage, due to highly improper tires, as much higher than the chance that I burn off leg skin due to lack of burn rating. Just my two cents.
You can get used 8.00-6's at almost any aircraft salvage yard, or on ebay, some are even recapped, for $100 a pair. That's 30 more than a new Carlisle. You can get new Condor or the other basic brand, for $140 a tire not including tubes. But, the Matco's leak, you should always use tubes.
Since this is off thread, maybe you could get the guys that blew tires at taxi to post on that thread. To be honest, that's a first to hear about a Carlisle tire blowing out down here, much less on a taxi test, and they are used quite a lot. It would be interesting and beneficial if the pilots shared what they found, as that's what the majority of us use.
It's also a good argument for not doing taxi tests! A very experienced test pilot gave one of the EAA webinars and he was against "high speed" taxi tests when testing an established kit/design. He argued instead to go ahead and take off if the plane is ready for flight. Taxi tests at speed can cause inadvertent flight when you're not really prepared or you can easily get in an environment of too fast for taxi and too slow for flight and have marginal control - anything else happens (like a blown tire) and an accident can result. With conventional take offs and landing, you're only exposed to that "marginal area" for a few brief seconds at most. Some argue you need a fast taxi to test brakes, etc., but most find (especially with the 800 tires) that 701's and 750's don't require much from the brakes.
It also makes you wonder if the taxi tests were responsible for the blown tires? Normally, landing and take off speeds are so slow and the tires are spun-up so briefly that they don't even get warm. Perhaps prolonged or higher speed taxi is too much for these tires as Chris correctly points out that they're certainly not speed rated!
I'll now put on my Moderator hat and censure myself for creeping the thread further! :>)
Also look at this thread
Very true Christopher, I had to enforce the seat support (7511-2) with an aluminum L-angel which adds another few ounces to the total.