Topic Author
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Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:58 pm

Max height of passenger seats

Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:53 pm

Through a work thing, I've been looking at a few of the more adventurous seat concepts in detail, from crazy designs like the AirGo project (now dumbed-down a great deal) to downright cruel ones like the Skyrider saddle seat.

A few of these seats are quite a bit taller than current designs, and I was told by an industry person a while back that there's a maximum height for the seat back, which would render such designs impossible under current regulations. However, I've not been able to find any reference to such regulations in FAA or EASA documentation, with the only prescriptive dimensions relating to aisle width.

I was wondering whether anyone could offer some thoughts on the subject
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Re: Max height of passenger seats

Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:13 pm

I have always found airplane seats disturbingly short. My shoulders reach the headrests and I am 6’3”. So uncomfortable.
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 10:38 pm

Re: Max height of passenger seats

Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:25 pm

The highest backrest I remember was in the An-74.
The backrest is extended by a flush headrest.
But the seat pitch was awful.

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Re: Max height of passenger seats

Thu Feb 07, 2019 7:53 pm

Sorry I'm no expert in these regulations however I can imagine there is a limit not on max seat height but on minimum clearance between top of the seat and the roof (overhead bin, ...).
I have seen some evacuation videos where people were literally jumping over the seats which would be impossible if the seat backs were too high
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Re: Max height of passenger seats

Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:19 pm

One purpose of the seat back is to protect the heads of the passengers from flying objects when the overhead bins crash in a high G landing or turbulence.
In those minimum pitch seats a normal-sized person cannot really brace for impact, just lean the head against the top of the seat in front.
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Re: Max height of passenger seats

Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:47 pm

Regulations for seats in transport category aircraft are in part 25 of the FARs (§25.785): ... 5&rgn=div8

There doesn’t appear to be any regulation about seat heights explicitly.

Edit: I should clarify that part 25 applies to the design/construction of the aircraft. There may be other regulations outside part 25 that could in fact explicitly regulate seat height. As the seats themselves need to be approved, there are probably other regulations regarding design of aircraft seats. Not to mention regulations for handicap accessibility/non-discrimination etc...
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Re: Max height of passenger seats

Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:35 pm

I don’t think it falls under seat design specifically, but rather open sightlines for the flight attendants.
Lighten up while you still can, don't even try to understand, just find a place to make your stand and take it easy
Topic Author
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Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:58 pm

Re: Max height of passenger seats

Fri Feb 15, 2019 4:18 pm

thanks for the replies.

I've been told the individual airframers have max seat heights (measured from the floor) of between 42 and 45 inches. However I've measured seat backs up to 47 inches myself, so I wonder if such limits are recommendations, rather than anything legally binding.

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