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  #1  
Old 01-11-2013, 07:27 AM
LettersFromFlyoverCountry's Avatar
LettersFromFlyoverCountry LettersFromFlyoverCountry is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: St. Paul, MN.
Posts: 4,821
Default Too fat to fly

If you read the Sport Aviation profile on me last month, you know that I have a twin brother who singlehandedly made aviation possible for me.

Now that I've built an RV, he deserves a ride.

But there's a problem, he's well over 300 pounds.

This picture, posted on EAA's Facebook page today, caught my eye because here's a large guy working on a light airplane that he probably won't be able to fly (although maybe he will).

And it leads me to wonder if anyone else has been in the situation of wanting terribly to give a severely overweight person a ride, and having to say "you're too obese." Or, in my case, is there a nice way to encourage them to lose enough weight to be able to fly?

And did it work?
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St. Paul, MN.
Blog: Letters From Flyover Country
RV-12iS Powerplant kit
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  #2  
Old 01-11-2013, 07:55 AM
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pierre smith pierre smith is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Louisville, Ga
Posts: 7,896
Default

I had to tread lightly when I had a 6' 6" guy who wanted to take lessons in our Fort Gordon flying club, way back in the 60's. The mechanic was an older guy and when he saw him said, You're too big and heavy for the C-150's, so you'd be better off in the Skyhawk." Then he added..."and I'll check on the seat structure's weight rating", with me just standing there.

We calculated that he wouldn't have enough fuel in the airplane to complete the check ride either, in a 150.

He ended up getting his license in the Skyhawk.

Best,
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  #3  
Old 01-11-2013, 07:59 AM
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LettersFromFlyoverCountry LettersFromFlyoverCountry is offline
 
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Location: St. Paul, MN.
Posts: 4,821
Default

I calculated when I did W& B that I MAYBE could get my brother in if I cut the fuel load way down. But then there's the question of just how much weight the wing ribs under the doubler can take?
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Bob Collins
St. Paul, MN.
Blog: Letters From Flyover Country
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  #4  
Old 01-11-2013, 08:09 AM
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flyboy1963 flyboy1963 is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Lake Country, B.C. Canada
Posts: 2,426
Default other considerations......

I too have a few 'plus' size friends ( don't we all?)
a couple of other things that spring to mind....safety being foremost.

- can I really get full right aileron travel with our thighs wedged together?
- can i reach the fire extinguisher between the seats? ( no way in heck!)
- can this guy really egress the cabin in an emergency?
- could I help get him out?
- will the seat bottom, airstep and wing walk survive a poorly placed size 13 shoe?....remember, we are talking 10 times the psi of him 'sitting' in the seat!
- obviously no passenger stick time possible
- will the belts go around him? ( nope, barely fit me at 185)
- cold weather garments will just compound the issue, so no winter ops.

no doubt there are many I haven't thought of......
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  #5  
Old 01-11-2013, 08:12 AM
Sid Lambert Sid Lambert is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: North Atlanta
Posts: 1,120
Default

When you own a -4 almost everyone is too fat to fly.

As my hangar mate says... 5'3" and 115lbs blondes are the only ones allowed.
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  #6  
Old 01-11-2013, 08:25 AM
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RV7Ron RV7Ron is offline
 
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Location: Denver, CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sid Lambert View Post
5'3" and 115lbs blondes are the only ones allowed
Seems reasonable to me...end of discussion

Seriously though, I plan to do a 'round the country barnstorming tour with my -7 when its done--giving rides to family and friends. I've already contemplated this touchy subject for some of my Uncle's...how do you say, you're just too fat?
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  #7  
Old 01-11-2013, 08:27 AM
WingsOnWheels WingsOnWheels is offline
 
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Location: Plano, TX
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I'm 6'4" and about ~280. While it can be a bit tight, my size 13s don't get in the way. However, i am not particularly "round" so it really depends on body type. I have been up in a couple RV-7s without any problems. As for seat structure, remember that the seat is rated to 6g, so it is not a problem under normal conditions. If they can fit without interfering with the controls and you are within gross and CG it shouldn't be an issue.
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Last edited by WingsOnWheels : 01-11-2013 at 08:47 AM.
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  #8  
Old 01-11-2013, 08:30 AM
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tc1234c tc1234c is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Port Orange, FL
Posts: 1,020
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyboy1963 View Post
a couple of other things that spring to mind....safety being foremost.

- can I really get full right aileron travel with our thighs wedged together?
- can i reach the fire extinguisher between the seats? ( no way in heck!)
- can this guy really egress the cabin in an emergency?
- could I help get him out?
- will the seat bottom, airstep and wing walk survive a poorly placed size 13 shoe?....remember, we are talking 10 times the psi of him 'sitting' in the seat!
- obviously no passenger stick time possible
- will the belts go around him? ( nope, barely fit me at 185)
- cold weather garments will just compound the issue, so no winter ops.

no doubt there are many I haven't thought of......
The biggest passenger I had so far is around 250 lb. I found crossing the threshold (side wall) has been a problem for quite a few passengers. Can they lift their foot high enough to get in and out? The test can be done on the ground.

Another concern is the belly size. Is there enough back stick space?
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  #9  
Old 01-11-2013, 08:50 AM
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AllThumbs AllThumbs is offline
 
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Location: Novato, CA
Posts: 320
Default RV-6 and 260lb

I took my 260lb 6'5" step-bro in the RV-6. Once. He's not fat -just BIG.

The manual flap handle took careful negotion to operate and he had to be careful to keep his feet off the pedals - on my side.

Other than that, with some aileron trim, it worked fine. O-360 at sea level.
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  #10  
Old 01-11-2013, 09:10 AM
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Brantel Brantel is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Newport, TN
Posts: 7,509
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Bob,

I would say "It depends...."

It depends on how they are built.

As you know I am no small person and I have been able to enjoy my RV safely. I am one of those guys that you wonder how the heck I managed to build this thing. It is a sight to behold to see me get in and out of the tailcone with the seatback brace and flap motor box in place. It is also hard to understand how I have been able to do at least 3 panel upgrades laying upside down and on my back under the panel.

That being said, I know first hand how tight the RV cockpit is for people like me.

My test is simple:

If we can both get in and I can move the stick full range of motion without binding up, then we are good to go. If I cannot get full aft stick or full left or right aileron, it is a no-go.

The W&B seems to be doable in most situations where the above does not become the limiter.

Be aware that your RV will feel a little different on the stick with more weight and it is easier to get behind the lift/drag/power curve with a full load. Just be aware of that...

As for the strength of the seat pans on the RV7....I know for a fact that they can take a passenger of ~300lbs @ 4G's without any damage I did my transition training with Jan Bussell in Floriday in his RV6. Jan is no small person (6'2" and ~275) and he and I were able to fit safely in his aircraft.

I can say however that building and flying the RV is one thing that is motivating me to lose weight. If I did not have this hobby, I would most likely either be dead or weigh 500lbs by now. This year I am making a serious effort to lose weight by eating better and moving more. Our company puts a strong emphasis on health and allows me to exercise some at work. So far I am down 10lbs for the year and going strong.

As for your original concern, people that are fat know they are fat. They know there are certain things that they may not be able to do because of their size. If he is too big, use it as motivation to get him to lose weight.
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