British WWII aircraft seatbelts

Discussion in 'Technical Requests' started by trak, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. trak

    trak New Member

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    Hello there!
    I hope this isn't some trivial question/request.
    I'd like to know what types of seatbelts were used in british wwII aircrafts?
    Were these standardised? Or did every company use their own design?
    And what about seats?
    Any relevant answer or even link to some source appreciated.
    Thanks.
    T.
     
  2. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    The standard seat harness during WW2 was the Sutton Harness, a pre-war design made of cotton canvas webbing. This was modified and up-dated in the late war period, from about late 1944, in fighter aircraft at least, being a similar design, but made from a more modern fabric, and with the addition of 'slider' type adjusters, and a modified rekease catch. Most aircraft used this harness, although certain types might just have a lap belt for, for example, a bomber navigator or radio operator.
    There was no standardisation, as such, on the type of seats used, with each manufacturer tending to fit their own design for a particular aircraft type. To be certain, the only way to identify a particular seat and harness combination, would be to state the particular aircraft and Mark number.
    Additionally, many American aircraft used by the RAF and FAA were fitted with British harnesses, safety equipment and radios etc, after import into the UK, but therw were exceptions. For example, the P-51 Mustang retained the American seat harness, but had a British radio and magnetic compass, to compliment the US gyro compass.
     
  3. trak

    trak New Member

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    Thank you, Airframes, for the reply.
    I know about Sutton A, QK and QS harnesses.
    I've ordered recently some of the seatbelts made by RB Productions [Radu Brinzan] Aircraft seatbelts : RB Productions Store, Scale models and accessories by Radu Brinzan.
    I'm interested in the "bigger" Bristol aircrafts - Blenheim, Beaufort and Beaufighter. So is there any source where I could find the type of the harness used for the seats in these?
    I guess the answer is Sutton QK for the pilot and some modifications for the rest of the crew...
     
  4. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    The suffix letters denoted a particular Sutton harness, so the QK was for late Spitfires, while earlier ones used the "K," and even earlier types used the "M."
    The QS was not a Sutton, and was a post-war harness, anyway; the Spitfire XVI used a non-Sutton QL, and the Tempest also used a non-Sutton "Q" type.
    The Sutton was a generic harness (so it's safe to assume your aircraft would have had them) with the only differences being in items like the length of straps, and how the harness was fitted into place; every harness was fitted to the pilot in the same order:- left shoulder, right thigh, left thigh, right shoulder, with the fastening clip attached to the last strap (they were numbered 1-4, on the ends, as well.)
    When Sutton harnesses were in short supply, for Tomahawks in the desert, the C.O. reported that he was taking harnesses intended for "Glen Martins."
     
  5. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Good info Edgar.
     
  6. trak

    trak New Member

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    Thanks Edgar, for the info.
    I think I have found some of your posts on this topic on other forums too.
    I just want to ask about the name "Sutton" used.
    I've read that original Sutton harness was designed by Oliver Sutton in 1917.
    Did he patent the harness and then the Sutton name was used?
    Or he founded a company to produce them?
     
  7. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    Sorry, but you're going way beyond my knowledge; as far as I can tell, the harness fell out of favour, as soon as WWI ended, and only returned with the faster aircraft of the 1930s. I know nothing of patents (but, being a serving officer, he might not have been able to register one,) nor of any company with that name; sorry, can't help with that one.
     
  8. trak

    trak New Member

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    Nevermind, Edgar, it's not that important. I know much more about seatbelts than I knew 2 days ago so I'm happy...
    Thanks for the effort, gentlemen!
     
  9. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Like Edgar, I don't know for certain regarding any patents etc., but as far as I know, the name 'Sutton harness' was a generic term to describe that type and style of harness, taken of course from the name of the original designer. Rather like the pre-war 'Sidcot' flying suit, designed by Sidney Cotton, which I believe was another item perhaps not (civilian)patented, but on WD issue. Immediate post war, and into the 1950s, motorcyclists used a similar, but 'waterproof' suit, I believe made by Barbour, or a similar company, which was generally referred to as a 'Sidcot', although it had no direct connection with either Cotton himself, or the original manufacturing company.
     
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