Airplanes are supposed to have baggage compartments, right? Well, at least I think so. I don't like the idea of having no place to store some basic things. In my last airplane, I went to a lot of trouble to incorporate a baggage compartment behind the seat. Although it is not accessible in flight, it has worked out really well. Taking that same idea, I wasn't really happy with the standard cloth sling that snaps to the seat back. I wanted something nicer.
After reading other builder web sites about their baggage compartments, none of them struck me as particularly great either. It seems that several people used plastic totes. This has the advantage of an easily locking lid, but might be a little cumbersome day-in, day-out. One builder went so far as to remove his tote altogether after the plane had been flying a while.
I wanted something simple, and elegant. So, after thinking about it a while, I decided to just box in the area behind the seat into an all-metal compartment. I needed to keep the rear around the rudder cables clear, and the elevator pushrod support bracket was in the way too, but after some quick calculations, my design was projected to weigh in at 4.7 pounds. This seemed acceptable. It also adds LOTS of additional stiffness to the tail cone.
On a side note, I planned on using some sound insulation on the particularly noisy areas of the plane. Talking to other builders, this seems (I don't really know though...) to be the tail cone area right behind the seat, and the firewall. On my plane, these area look particularly prone to oil canning, and I believe they will generate significant noise and vibration in flight.
By pulling in the baggage compartment sidewall, I created a space for the rudder cables that can also be insulated with sound absorbing foam. Anyway, we'll see how the insulation thing works out later....
NOTE: photos link to full size image