When the aviator is in a wheelchair: The first flight to fly without a wheelchair
When the aircraft’s pilot and co-pilot are in a wheeled wheelchair, there is a higher chance of a successful flight, according to a new study.
The study, which involved a survey of more than 20,000 people, found that nearly three-quarters of the respondents who were in wheelchairs reported having a positive experience in the first 10 minutes of the flight, compared to just one-third who did not.
In the same time frame, less than half of the wheelchairs surveyed reported being satisfied with their experience, with the majority reporting that they had to re-adjust.
“A pilot who has a disabled passenger can often experience the thrill of landing on a new plane, but they also need to get used to the fact that they are not able to climb up the ramp and touch down,” said study co-author Dr Anand Sankaran from the Centre for Advanced Aviation Research at Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Dr Sankar said the finding was important as it demonstrated that pilots can be expected to be comfortable in the wheelchair while the aircraft is in flight.
“If the pilot feels comfortable, he is more likely to have the confidence to land the plane safely, and the pilot has to be prepared to learn the procedures,” he said.
The survey of 1,065 people also found that passengers who had difficulty with a wheelchair landing, had lower confidence and were less likely to want to fly the aircraft.
The results, published in the Aviation Week & Month magazine, also showed that the most common problems passengers reported were:being in the wrong seat,being in a bad position and having the wrong wheels.
The researchers said this could be due to passengers experiencing a lack of understanding about the aircraft, and also the lack of guidance and experience on how to operate the aircraft with a disabled person.
“The aircraft has a great deal of flexibility in how it can operate with a wheelchair,” Dr Sankara said.
“It can operate without the need for the pilot to have a wheelchair, and without the risk of a crash.”
The report also found the most commonly reported problem was not understanding the instruments and instruments instruments on board the aircraft due to the wheeled design, but instead the pilot not having a clue about what is happening onboard.
The report was published in Aviation Week and Muse, an online magazine for aviation enthusiasts.
Dr Satish Prakash, co-founder and chairman of the British Association of Wheelchair Users, said that the study showed how important it is to educate passengers about the disability, and ensure they understand the process of getting back on the plane.
“It is really important to provide the pilots and crew with an understanding of the basic steps in the process to get them back on board,” Dr Prakush said.
“People are understandably scared about flying with a disability and they should be reassured that the pilot is always there to assist.”