Contact: Michele Erwin
Phone: (917) 414-0897
September 15, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
All Wheels Up Supports the Transportation Review Board’s (TRB)
Final Report on the Feasibility of Wheelchair Securement Systems on Aircraft
All Wheels Up (AWU), the first organization in the world to fund research and development for a “wheelchair spot” on commercial aircraft, is pleased to support the TRB’s final report, released today, declaring that wheelchair securement systems are feasible for in-flight use in commercial aviation. Michele Erwin, founder and president of AWU, stated, “Today’s TRB report is an historic turning point. It’s now crystal clear and backed by science that it’s technically feasible for travel to become more accessible with a ‘wheelchair spot.’ AWU looks forward to collaborating with the DOT, FAA, and Congress to create a road map for executing the long awaited ‘wheelchair spot” on commercial aircraft.
AWU knew back in 2016 that wheelchair securement systems for airplanes would be safe. In 2016, AWU funded a proof-of-concept study to see if wheelchairs locked in place with Q’straint tie-downs could meet current FAA airplane seat standards. AWU funded the first HYGE sled test (a simulation platform for crash-testing under FAA standards) of wheelchairs and wheelchair securement systems to study how they might perform during important aeronautical situations such as turbulence, takeoff, and landing. The wheelchairs and securement systems met the specifications outlined by the FAA to AWU for this proof-of-concept experiment. The TRB’s game-changing report is the beginning of a new era in accessible travel for millions of passengers with reduced mobility. Currently, many people who use wheelchairs (1) simply do not fly at all; (2) suffer injuries and humiliation from being removed from their own wheelchairs at the plane door, placed onto narrow onboard wheelchairs (often without head support and never with trunk support), pushed down the tight aisle, and finally lifted and deposited onto their plane seats; or (3) suffer damage and/or loss of their own wheelchairs and independence when they surrender them to airline personnel at the plane door for stowage. AWU is pleased that the TRB hears the call for change and comprehends that air travel can be expanded to millions of passengers simply by providing a “wheelchair spot” with a safe securement system on commercial aircraft.
AWU’s mission is to increase awareness for safer and more dignified accessible air travel through research and advocacy. To learn more, visit https://allwheelsup.org