From the beginning the plan was to not only restore the condition of the aircraft but to turn N116HR into a flying tribute to Ohio’s aviation heritage with all the work being done by shops throughout the state. I started with the interior and turned to one of the best in the business, Dennis and Cynthia Wolter at Air Mod, located at Clermont County Airport (I69). Their experience was invaluable in selecting durable upholstery finishes and sensible improvements. With FAA Supplemental Type Certificates to extend the front seat headrests, integrate the armrest into the structure of the door, and install four place harnesses, seating for the pilot and co-pilot became safer and more comfortable than the factory design. Originally I had wanted to install airbags in the forward seat restraints, but they were only available in three-place harnesses. Eventually, I was convinced by Dennis’ experience that the added security provided by a four-place harness against slipping out of the restraint outweighed the additional forward impact cushion provided by the airbag. I’ve also never forgotten (though as yet have not followed) his pragmatic advice that if you want to protect against injury from a head strike in a crash, why not carry a helmet in the plane?
The enhancements continued with Rosen sun visors, Precise-Flo wing root air inlets, a new temperature gage, and USB ports installed into the rear seat armrest, among the other modern upgrades made. Since painting the exterior was in our future, it was the optimum time to replace both the front and rear windscreen with new acrylic that was UV tinted and of greater thickness to reduce noise. The glareshield, headliner, and door seals were replaced, and the new carpet was crafted in sections and backed with Velcro to permit easy removal for maintenance. Original features like the rear air vents and seat reclining mechanisms were made operable again, and soundproofing material was added throughout the cabin. To accommodate the over-the-top strap that is now a standard feature of child car seats, a load-bearing shackle was added to the baggage compartment floor. Sometime later, a woodworking friend of mine produced a beautiful inlaid panel to replace the glovebox door, providing a touch of wood for luck and a nod to airplane construction of the past. The final result was a standout interior that has held up superbly over the years