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I have received several emails and calls about my shoulder harness installation. It worked as it should have, and I didn’t get even a bump or scrape anywhere.

We purchased two 3” X 3” phenolic blocks from Lancair, then cut out a square of the material from the front side of the seat (leaving the back skin intact) and stuck them in dead center in the seat back at the appropriate height so that the harness does not to interfere with the canopy locking tube. Then we mounted the inertia reel to that block with an AN bolt, simple. I did not feel the bolt head in my back (guess I’m not a fairy princess who can feel a pea under a mattress, GRIN) and am sure glad it was there.

I would caution all to read this FAA Advisory Circular: FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 21-34, Shoulder Harness-Safety Belt Installations

What some may not know is that with the way most (including some certified planes) choose to mount the shoulder harness (on the overhead) you will have a tendency to crush your vertebrae on impact. Your body will bend forward while the shoulder harness stays put, placing an unusual force on your back. I’m sure glad I listened to a fellow Lancair Builder who forwarded this circular to me. He surely saved me much grief! Anyone thinking of using a single across the chest shoulder harness should re-think his system, as I would have suffered severe injury had I a system like this.

My shoulder harness manufacturer and hardware supplier was: Ask for Scott, he’s the owner, and tell him you want the 5 point quick release system that Ron Brice used (no commission to me, I just want everyone to be safe). I’ll also take a picture of how I fastened the crotch belt fixture. Once you get used to a crotch strap, you won’t wish to be without one, as it makes the buckle stay in place efficiently, right where you want it if you have a mishap.

I found a supplier of colored belt material that perfectly matched my interior color in Southern Oregon, but I have lost the contact. They shipped the colored webbing to Scott, so maybe he will remember who they are. Scott has a few colors, but these folks (sorry about the teaser, wish I could remember who they were) have a very large collection of different colors.

Scott will not sell hardware alone (like inertia reels, etc), he will only sell hardware if he sews the belts himself. Listen to him, this is important. He supplies NASCAR drivers, and lots of professional aerobatic pilots their systems, and like you, is a professional who cares.

Be safe,
Ron Brice

Update and observation by John Kleber

One thing that concerns me a little about the write up Ron Brice did for your web site posting is that there are a lot of installation details missing. It would not be "safe" for a builder to do the installation simply as Ron describes. For example:

1. I checked with Steve Lorentzen on regarding the bid reinforcement for the phenolic block imbedded in the seat back frame. He advised me to reinforce with stepped 6 to 8-bid on both the front and back sides of each block.

2. Additionally, the top of Ron Brice's seat back frame was reinforced to sustain the tremendous "G" forces that would be applied by the shoulder harness straps during a crash. This was undoubtedly a critical component of Ron's shoulder harness system allowing him to survive his accident. I spoke with Carsten Sunden quite some time ago when I was first exploring the idea of installing inertia reels behind the seats. He advised he didn't think the seat back frames were strong enough to do such an installation without reinforcing the top of the seat back frame. When I asked Steve Lorentzen how he reinforced Ron's seat back frame, he could not remember those details. I am thinking of reinforcing mine with a piece of 2" X 2" X .125" wall high temp/strength square fiberglass tubing which will be bonded across the top of the seat back frame behind the rollover frame. I'll further tie the tube to the seat back frame and rollover frame with bid layups.

John Kleber

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