Seat Upholstery by Sport Aircraft Seats

Source: 2021 Q3 Beartracks There have been several options over the years for seat upholstery, but in recent times one provider that has emerged as a bit of a Bearhawk specialist. Dan Maccarone of Sport Aircraft Seats has been in the airplane seat business for 21 years. At the age of 17, he and his brother started making seats for 135 operators in bush Alaska. They soon saw demand for an option that operators could install on their own in the field, minimizing down time. They created a system and it has grown from there, currently to 60 seats per month, shipped around the world. Dan has delivered several sets of Bearhawk seats, having had builders send seat frames to his shop at the Wolf Lake Airport in Palmer, Alaska. To make things easier, Mark Goldberg has sent a sample of each kit seat frame to Dan, allowing Dan to make templates and skip the frame shipping for future orders. Each kit consists of everything you need to upholster your seats from the frame up. They will have foam inside of upholstery that snaps or velcros to the seats, plus a tough herculite webbing system to support the cushions. Eventually he’ll have a fancy ordering interface on his website (sportaircraftseats.com) like he does for the other aircraft types, but for now just call him at 907-382-1230 or fill out the form on his website. The other types will give a good sense of how the colors look, since the Bearhawk seats will be very similar to the others. He can do single or dual colors in textile or leather, with or without seatback pockets. The colors look really sharp and there is enough variety to match the rest of your decor. The second-most important question is, are they comfortable? Last week I had a chance to fly the Bearhawk Companion from New Hampshire to Virginia, and my first leg was 3:45. I never flew a leg that long in my airplane. That brings us to the final important question, price. The more frugal of builders will not find his pricing cheap, but if you’d like to have more context, be sure to get a quote from a place like Oregon Aero. Keeping in mind that his package includes covers, foam, and suspension, and having done some of the seat work in our plane ourselves and not having it turn out as nice as Dan’s work, I think there is a lot of value. Pricing varies by options, but to give a range, single occupant seats in one color fabric are $925 per seat, or $1300 for two-tone leather. Rear seats for the 4-Place and Five are $1300 for single fabric up to $1850 for two-tone leather. He says there is a little more material in the bench seats but the labor for one bench seat is only a little more than the single seats, which is reflected in the price. Patrol and LSA rear seats fall between the bucket and bench seats for pricing. I’m glad to know that we have Dan as an option for good seats!

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Updates from Bob, 2021 Q2

There have been two recent safety updates. The first was a minor drafting error in the flap hinge, which impacted the Model B 4-Place, Patrol, Companion and Five, and was distributed in April. This photo shows the revision: There is also a new update released 6/28/2021, which will also show up at bearhawksafety.com in the coming days. This is an Engineering Change that relates to the way the covering is tucked into the channel at the top of the windshield. Bob’s instructions are, “Fabric attachment at top of fuselage to windshield mounting frame channel- A few aircraft have had fabric come loose. As shown is a good way to glue in place.” If your fuselage is already covered and isn’t routed as shown in the update, he says, “If it has been flying for a while, it should be fine, but it is something that we need to let people know about.” Bob also brings up the point that it’s crucial to follow the instructions of the covering system that the builder selects. Popular systems including Polyfiber, Stewarts, and Oratex vary greatly with crucial details. In a recent case, reinforcing tapes were able to peel up with fingernail intervention, which prompts Bob to bring up that point. Bob and Mike have been busy building engines, trying to reduce the lead time which has grown long due to strong demand. His Bearhawk LSA is back to flying status, thanks to builder Collin Campbell in Missouri. Bob flew the airplane home and was pleased to report it flies straight after the extensive rebuild. Some of the original engine parts fly again in the new plane.

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