Spectrum Aeronautical (Booth No. 2142) was looking to do something different for the cabin of the S-33 Independence light jet. “We wanted a cabin that was as much a breakthrough as the overall airplane,” said Spectrum’s vice president, Mark Jones.
At first glance, it appears the company has succeeded. The full S-33 cabin mockup features oversize windows, flush LED lighting and unique, electrically powered monocoque seats. The cabin is also designed with curved bulkhead openings, a generous aft lavatory sealed off by sliding pocket doors, and the use of dye-sublimation printing on the cabin walls and other “technodecoration,” according to designer Benn Isaacman, who was part of the Infusion Design team (of Bonner Springs, Kan.) responsible for the S-33 interior.
“[Spectrum chairman] Linden [Blue], is plowing ground in a new direction,” said Isaacman. “It’s all composite and I wanted to express that inside the airplane. I wanted to express the utility and quality of the airplane. I think we did that very well.”
The cabin’s seats are its most dramatic feature. The one-piece, monocoque seats slide forward and back along a convex arc and are driven by an electric motor. As the back recline angle increases, the seat bottom is raised, preserving cabin legroom. “When you recline the seat it brings your legs up closer to you,” explained Isaacman. The concept is similar to the pitch angle of the cockpit seat in an F-16 fighter. “You don’t feel crowded in the airplane because you are sitting low,” he said.
The sculpted seats are upholstered in a thin-layer of foam. “It’s a thin seat, but it is a comfortable seat,” said Isaacman.
Light is the key to creating an atmosphere of spaciousness in the S-33, said Isaacman. “The cabin is big inside because of the light.”
Natural lighting comes from a series of oversize rectangular cabin windows, while thin, 0.22-inch-thick LED wafer reading lights and central strip LED cabin lights provide artificial illumination. The cabin shell is also colored to go from darker to light as the walls ascend using dye-sublimation printing, a process first widely used by the automotive industry. The coloration makes the interior “feel like less of a tube,” according to Isaacman.
The S-33 cabin is devoid of ceiling valances often used to house gaspers, wash lighting and lighting controls. All gaspers and lighting and other controls are located in the cabin sidewalls. That, in combination with the four-piece cabin shell, makes for an extremely clean looking interior. “We wanted all the headroom you could have in this airplane,” said Isaacman. “So the air ducts are in the sidewall ledges.”
Infusion worked with West Star Aviation, Grand Junction, Colo., to construct the mockup in less than three months.