A Secure Feeling

I like harnesses - especially ones that make me feel secure. Our Tundra came with standard lap and shoulder belts that used the age-old car-type latch - the same kind you find on airliners. Flip the handle to release. Yeah, these are fine for an airliner, where you can't move much at all (these days), but I have, on numerous occasions in light planes, had accidental releases when twisting around in the cockpit. Not a big deal when you're sitting in an airplane like and RV, with sidewalls you have to climb over to get out. But the Tundra has these huge swing-up doors - and when they are open (and they can be opened in flight), that first step is a doozy!

We use the Tundra with the doors open for air to air photography and ground searches, so the door can be open a lot. And when we do that, we generally wear a body harness secured to other parts of the airplane structure... just n case. But I still like the feeling of security I get from a good harness with a rotary buckle - much more difficult to unlatch accidentally.

So we just installed new front seat harnesses from Crow - a supplier mostly of harnesses for race cars, they branched out in to aviation a bit over a decade ago. I've put their harnesses on all my project airplanes - good quality, comfortable, secure - and very reasonably priced. They have standard designs for a number of kit airplanes, but they can configure them any way you want we ordered these on a Thursday, and they arrived the following Tuesday - not bad for a slightly custom job.

And yes - I'll still wear a body harness attached to structure when I open the doors - but these seat harnesses really add to the mental comfort when you lean out into the slipstream.

Paul Dye

Paul Dye, Kitplanes® Editor in Chief, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the space shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen, and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra they completed. Currently, they are building a Xenos motorglider. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 5000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, EAA Tech Counselor, and Flight Advisor, as well as a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.

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