NBAA Convention News

EADS Sogerma Designs New Cockpit Seat

 - October 30, 2012, 9:20 AM
EADS Sogerma’s cockpit seat for super-midsize to large-cabin jets provides thigh and armrest support and can be motorized to offer a position-memory feature.

EADS Sogerma (Booth No. 5431) is exhibiting at the NBAA convention for the first time and is showcasing a full-size mockup of a cockpit seat that could fit into a super-midsize to large-cabin business jet.

“We visited the show last year and saw it was in our interest was to become an exhibitor,” Daniel Furon, Sogerma’s vice president for aerostructure business development, told AIN. The company has cockpit seats flying today in business jets but they are relatively old designs. “We are introducing a new line for aircraft the size of a Bombardier Challenger 300 or bigger,” he said. The new product development is close to being completed.

The mockup on display here represents a seat that can be adjusted forward, laterally and vertically. The back can also recline. All movements can be motorized, which allows for a position-memory feature. “We can add a lumbar setting and massage,” Furon said. “We put a lot of effort into pilot comfort,” he emphasized. For example, Sogerma’s designers have endeavored to give the pilot good lateral thigh support, and to provide good back support for both the flying and resting phases.

One of Sogerma’s strong points, he said, is armrest design. “An armrest must support the forearm and the wrist without disturbing the human-machine link,” he stressed. Because the company supplies cockpit seats for Airbuses, which have sidesticks instead of central control columns, Furon anticipates it will employ this technology on forthcoming fly-by-wire business jet types, as this kind of control system is often associated with sidesticks.

Connections–both power plugs and communication ports–also can be added for laptop and tablet computer connections.

Separately, Sogerma has made progress in developing foam materials. Although none of the foam types is ideal by itself, superimposing a few layers can give good results. Three layers of different foams is a frequent combination, providing enough stiffness but keeping cushions comfortable.

Furon expressed hope that his company will sign a contract within two years for its new seat. Certification work will be conducted for one aircraft type at a time, he said. Aspects of the design that must be addressed include crashworthiness, environmental friendliness and endurance (measured in number of takeoffs and landings). “A seat structure is supposed to have the same durability as the airframe,” Furon pointed out.