Making an adaptable airplane seat for the disabled

According to New Atlas, disabled people typically have to transport their wheelchairs as cargo and hope they don’t get lost or damaged along the way.

They must then use a smaller wheelchair at the airport to board the plane and transfer to their assigned seat. Depending on the person’s mobility and ability, they may be lifted out of their wheelchair and into a seat, and when the plane arrives at their destination, the whole process is repeated in reverse.

Obviously, it would be much easier if such passengers could stay in their wheelchair from start to finish. British researchers have designed a new type of airplane seat with this in mind, and are now optimizing it for real-world use in partnership with Delta Air Lines.

If you don’t need a wheelchair, this chair looks and functions like any other chair. This is an important consideration because the airline does not lose revenue. In addition, the existing seating system in the plane does not require any mechanical changes to accommodate the disabled seat.

When a special seat is required by a wheelchair user, the backrest is quickly removed, the seat cushion folds back and up to fit into the space previously occupied by the backrest, then the wheelchair is simply placed outdoors. Finally, rubber-coated hooks sunk into the floor are pulled up and attached to the wheels of the wheelchair to keep it stable during flight. It is expected that the use of this seat will start soon after the final tests.


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