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    Re: Open Cockpit Sun Sights Exercise
    From: Paolo Borchetta
    Date: 2013 Mar 6, 22:31 -0800

    Hi Ken,
    The back seat of the Stearman was designed for the average 20 years old cadet (average size of the flight suits at that time was between 38 and 40 US), my size is 46 US nowadays........there were no provision for radios (they communicate with Gosport tubes),transponder and of course GPS; add flight jacket, sweater, gloves, parachute, mother and father and I could do a loop without strapping in and wouldn't fall out due to the quite tight fitting into the back pit. As a matter of fact you can't turn the head much around due to the jacket fur collar, scarf and helmet, assuming mid season or winter.
    The front pit is a bit more spacious, no electronics, since the fuselage taper gets considerably larger toward the engine. Another problem is that from the front cockpit is not that easy to look down at numbers, the illumination difference is impressive and with green lenses goggles you basically can't see much (when I look at paper down on the knee board I have to take the goggles up and lean down with the shoulder harness slacked.
    The front cockpit has some fuselage struts on which I fixed a foldable wooden table with elastic to keep the paper from flying away (anything not secured in an open cockpit will simply fly away).
    I can store the Octant in its case next to the front seat, making sure it doesn't drop down into the control cables, this is impractical in the rear seat since I can't reach there and the space is already occupied by the usual two cans of oil (the old Continental W-670 radial drinks a bit more).
    The trim is very crude and the plane has a lot wings, below 3000' on ground you feel every little bump (albeit this time it was enough cold).
    I tried a couple of times to hold it steady by wrapping my legs around the wooden stick, one on the back and one in front in order to prevent rolling an have a minimum degree of pitch control, it works fine till you get a major bump, after that it is a fight to figure which way to unwrap the legs.....
    I enclose two pics, one is me in the back seat and one are my legs in the front, you judge how much space you have.
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