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U.S. Access Board Holds Public Briefing on Study on the Feasibility of Wheelchair Securement Systems in Passenger Aircraft

September 23, 2021

The U.S. Access Board held a public briefing yesterday on the results of a Board-sponsored study on the feasibility of installing wheelchair securement systems on passenger aircraft conducted by the Transportation Research Board (TRB). The event featured presentations by the TRB Study Committee Members: Chair Dr. Alan M. Jette, Professor and Dean Emeritus of Boston University; Gary Weissel, Founder and Managing Officer of Tronos Aviation Consulting; Naomi Armenta, Principal Planner at Nelson/Nygaard; and Miriam Manary, Lead Research Engineer of University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). Presenters discussed the findings and recommendations from their two-year research study and final report, “Technical Feasibility of a Wheelchair Securement Concept for Airline Travel: A Preliminary Assessment.” (PDF, 6MB) 

Dr. Jette reviewed the overall task of assessing and evaluating the technical feasibility for equipping passenger aircraft with in-cabin securement systems for power and manual wheelchairs. He explained that the Committee examined the design, engineering, and safety requirements for installation and use of securement systems, injury criteria limits, and the implications on FAA regulations and policies on airworthiness, crashworthiness, and other safety requirements. Weissel discussed the results, including door width clearances, interior modifications, maneuvering space, and WC-19 compliant wheelchairs.  

The presenters concluded with recommendations for next steps in moving forward with researching and implementing in-cabin wheelchair securement systems in passenger aircraft. The presentation was followed by an informative question-and-answer session, where the four presenters responded to written questions submitted by attendees.  

recording of the session is available on the Board’s YouTube Channel. The Committee’s report and presentation, as well as other information on the study, are available on the Board’s Aircraft webpage. To receive updates on aircraft wheelchair access, sign up for the Board’s News e-subscription.