Accommodation

 

 

ACCOMMODATION

Accommodation is not really the right word, for it suggests a large and commodious place. In the Luton Minor it is the pilotís cockpit: and one's first approach to it. Crouching under the mainplane and inserting oneself between the lower ends of the lift strut cross bracing wires gives the impression of a very small closet from which the outlook, once seated, is likely to be severely restricted, especially by the wing overhead.

Entrance has to be learned. It is accomplished from the port side by placing oneís left foot on the top horizontal strut of the undercarriage, gripping a front section strut and. with oneís head well forward alongside the port side of the engine cowling, placing oneís right foot on the centre of the pilotís seat. Move two is to transfer head and shoulders through the cockpit opening over to the starboard side - which enables you to get the left foot into the seat, and then to insert the lower half of oneself into the cockpit. The top half follows.

At this point one is seated, and discovers astonishingly, that not only is it comfortable, but that the outlook in all directions except immediately upward is good, and the feeling of impending claustrophobia vanishes. This is important, because, having been mainly accustomed to low wing monoplanes, this pilot has always been allergic to a wing immediately overhead, and been put off by this feature of the Luton Minor.

I personally have undergone a distinct change of viewpoint as a result of experiencing the Luton Minor, and although one needs to fly oneís airfield circuit in a manner such as to ensure that one never turns towards a spot in the sky that has not first been scrutinized, this can be done, and the overall outlook from the cockpit is, in practice just as good, if not better for example than from a Tipsy Nipper.

The cockpit can best be described as snug. When comfortably seated this pilotís eyes were 16 inches from the nearest instrument, considerably less than the ideal of 28 inches, and less even than the Chipmunk which at 17 inches is one of the closest ever accepted into the R.A.F. Legroom however is ample, and the width of the cockpit at seat level is 23 inches, allowing Cockpit plenty of room for the well dressed pilot standing up to six feet, and weighing up to 180-190 lbs. in flying kit. 

The view over the nose straight ahead is good and there is no need to weave from side to side when taxying. On a not very cold day (OA T at 1000 ft. 7 degrees C) the cockpit was found warm enough to be comfortable without gloves, and by leaning slightly forward towards the windshield, it was possible to get into a position where there was little or no draft. 

Neither G-ASEA nor G-AYDY have map pockets or baggage space, so that any personal items as well as maps and so on have to be stowed in oneís pockets, or strapped to oneís person. G-ASEA has a car type bucket seat fitted, which is 15 inches wide and 17 inches from front to rear. On either side of this are metal fairings, which protect the control runs beneath them.