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Dspeterson last won the day on May 4

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  1. No the seats are not memory foam. The front seats are actually 2 pieces of foam glued together and then glued to the covering. I took the plane to TX las week for the Mooney caravan. Clinic..4+ hrs each way. I found them much better than the old seats (previously, I would have gotten pretty uncomfortable with this length of flight). When I did the co-pilot seat, I compared it to the pilot seat (not done yet) and I felt the new seat was much better. I had my kids and wife try them as well and the consensus was that the new seat was better. The new seat is much firmer and overall more comfortable. As an aside, I have a friend who is a “type P” pilot. His complaint with Mooneys is that it’s hard to cross your legs. I never had a problem...until last week....the new seats do put you a little closer to the panel (and make it a little harder to cross your legs...I’m 6’1”). A few other additions....I found that the new carpet between the seats didn’t fit in my plane; possibly somewhat different than the model they made the template from. I also took the opportunity to replace the fire extinguisher with a better model. I did make a mistake on the pilot side seat; but once it was installed in the.plane, I haven’t been able to see the error (unless I look closely)...so I think the process is pretty tolerant to minor issues.
  2. x Overall, I’m pretty happy with the final result. I did make some errors in the process, but once I’ve started flying with it, it’s become less noticeable. I only wish I had done it a few years ago! I did get extra vinyl to redo the armrests and trim, but I haven't gotten to them yet.
  3. Now for the fun part! Removal of the old foam and installation of the new. The front seat back is removed by a couple of screws (picture is useful to remember the sequence of washers and spacers. The seat back in my vintage of Mooney had a solid plastic piece held by a bunch of screws. Once this is off, there are a bunch of plastic rivets. Some of these will be needed on the reinstallation, but not all (so you don’t need to be too careful removing them. Once the rivets are off the seat back and bottom, the foam can be ripped off. This leaves a fair amount of foam that still needs to be removed. I experimented with a range of methods to remove the excess foam and glue (including heat gun, mechanical and chemical). The best method I found was chemical, with the best chemical being MEK (I also tried IPA, acetone, and xylenes). I’m a chemist, so I’m comfortable with all of these, but be sure to have proper gloves, safety glasses and ventilation. The process can be repeated for the back seats backs. Once the foam is off of the seat bottoms, take a look at the surface. I had 3 cracks in the aluminum (2 on one, 1 on the other) at the front corner of the seat. I decided to stop-drill these, although, on a 44 year old airplane, I don’t know if it would have gotten worse. The back seat bottom is a stand-alone piece so there is no need to salvage the old one. Once the foam and glue has been removed, it’s time to put the new seats on. For the seat backs, the foam will need to be trimmed. I tried a few different ways of doing it and felt that trimming it to cover the tops and sides was best. If you want the foam to extend to th back, it will work as well. I felt it was best to glue the foam on. I used a 3M 1357 neoprene contact adhesive (available from Aircraft Spruce, among others). Since I took a few sessions to do all 6 seats (4 seat backs and 2 seat bottoms), I just used a disposable brush. Good ventilation, gloves and eye protection required (again). Slather the adhesive on the metal seat and the foam (the foam will suck up the adhesive, use liberally). Take th foam piece and carefully align it to the seat. Once, it’s aligned, place the foam. The working time for this adhesive is pretty short, so you may not be able to reposition it afterwards. Once the glue on the foam has cured, you can put on the covers. For the seat bottoms, it’s a matter of folding the leather over and using those plastic rivets to put it into place. I used an awl to position the leather, but a small screwdriver would work as well. The seat backs are a little trickier. I tried to fold the cover inside-out and fold it over the seat. This didn’t work as well as placing it over the foam and “massaging” it down the seat. This took some time (10-20 min), but it worked well. At the bottom, the seat cover is velcroed into place. Reinstallation of the pieces. The pilot side panel has a pocket. I thought this would be nice, but it has to go behind the gear extension panel, so is less useful than I thought. Installation of the panels is tricky; this is where the awl is most useful...as are the pictures for the specific screws and pattern that you’ll need to reinstall everything. Front seats are relatively easy to install, just a reverse of the original process. I chose to put in new cotter pins (the old ones looked pretty beat up). The back seat bottom is pretty easy to put in. The hardest is the back seat backs. I found it easiest to sit in the cargo area while installing them.
  4. Taking out the seats is relatively easy. Take the cotter pins out for the front seats and forward/back to get them off the rails. As an aside, if you don’t already have 3-pt seat belts, this is a good time to install them. For the back seat, I have a ‘74 M20F. The seats are designed to be removed. A pin in the lower-inboard side is pulled out and the seat can be removed. The best discussion of the process is here: http://flying-geek.blogspot.com/2018/07/seat-back-removal-1969-mooney-m20f.html The seat back bottom is held in place by a couple of short metal rods; simply pull the rod out of the bracket holding it and the seat will come out. Once the seats are removed, the removal of the side panels and carpets is straightforward. This is a good opportunity to vacuum, clean out old foam, etc. most disgusting part of the process...when I took out the right side panel, I noticed a bunch of insulation. When I took it out, there was a mummified mouse head. After that, I did a close inspection behind all the panels; luckily no other sign of mice (and the one I saw was small and old. Of course, here are some pictures of the process.
  5. Overall, the process is pretty simple, but it does take time. I did mine when my airplane was in for avionics work (which took much longer than expected...a tale for another time). The prices on the Airtex website are accurate. I decided to install leather seats, which added $1k to the price. I also decided to do carpets and the sidewalls at the same time. The carpets and sidewalls were completed pretty quickly (1-2 weeks). The seats themselves took 7-8 weeks (possibly due to them being leather). I chose tan because I’ll be getting the plane painted, and I didn’t want to limit my color choices. The seats are actually two different shades, but I probably should have chosen shades that weren’t so close to one another. The front seat bottoms have foam glued to them already. For the seat backs, the foam is separate and the back is basically a slip cover. The back seat bottom is a complete unit and can be installed as it. Here are pics of what is in the box(es).
  6. Although I don’t post much, I find the information on Mooneyspace invaluable. In the interest in providing content, I’m posting my experience with putting in an Airtex interior (a common question). Some overarching suggestions, take more pictures than you think are necessary. Especially of screw patterns and how things go together. I kept wishing for more pictures than I had. Also, take time to do each step. The way my brain works is it helps to take a break (even for a few days) and think about a problem to figure out the solution. Things I bought to complete the process are: an awl, 3M 1357 contact adhesive, and some disposable paint brushes. Here are the obligatory “before” pictures.
  7. I’m dropping mine off on Monday. I’ll have firsthand knowledge soon!
  8. First four years of ownership, I was with AOPA, they only provided more than one quote once (and didn’t seem to want me to change). Last year, got a quote from Falcon with 3 underwriters and went with Global.
  9. New Mexico is based on gross weight. For a 2740 lb Mooney it works out to be ~$27. About half what registration is for a car... o other taxes for aircraft.
  10. The local news has identified the pilot. https://www.kob.com/new-mexico-news/ntsb-to-investigate-small-plane-crash-near-santa-fe/5158131/?cat=500
  11. Well done! I’m getting ready for almost the same upgrade....waiting is the hardest part!
  12. Sorry for the delay in responding; I have such trouble with these social media things (really, I’m not that old!). I haven’t decided on a scheme yet...I’d like something “unique”...but I’m not really artistic, so I’m not sure how i’ll Pull it off; maybe a graphical depiction of schrodringers equation? Lots of beautiful paint on the replies; if I can get something half that nice, I’d be happy!
  13. Ok, at the risk of starting something...what are people’s current thoughts on paint shop recommendations. Preferably in the southern US. Artcraft in CA and Hawk in FL are on my list. Any recommendations for shops in AZ, MO, TX or others? I’m planning on a complete strip and paint. Other th8ngs I should watch out for? Thanks!
  14. I bought mine for ~37AMUs. I’ve had it for ~5.5 years (I wanted to make sure I’d really use it before any major upgrades). getting ready for a 32 AMU upgrade to avionics in January maybe paint too... at this point, couldn’t imagine not owning a Mooney! It it worth every penny!
  15. At KLAM, we have 2Cs, 7Fs (including mine), and 1 J. It may be cognitive bias, but I’ve always thought it has something with the analytical bias of people in Los Alamos to favor Mooneys (and F models in particular). Mooneys are about 16% of aircraft on our field. Sadly, at least 2-3 of our Mooney’s on the field are no longer active (but I try to counter this naritave by flying 200+ hrs per year).