Update: We started this campaign during the start of the COVID pandemic, which was unfortunate timing. Now that the pandemic is getting under control and there is renewed interest in travel we feel it's the right time to renew this campaign. In addition there is new proposed legislation in US Congress to update the Air Carrier Access Act. We have also recently been invited to conduct some testing in a aircraft cabin environment, along with many advocates and stakeholders. So there are several developments helping this project move ahead. Hopefully we can make flying wheelchairs a reality soon.
Molon Labe Seating is a small, established airline seat design company that is developing a way for passengers in wheelchairs to fly seated in their own wheelchairs, as possible now on public buses and trains. Our design is based on a patented proven technology and allows manual and powered wheelchairs to be secured in the cabin for flight without forcing the airlines to lose any space or revenue. Please join us in our goal to have passengers be able to fly safely seated in their own wheelchairs.
Today, disabled access for air travel is challenging and dehumanizing, which is why many people with disabilities avoid air travel, missing out on important personal and special events. There are also countless stories of wheelchairs that are lost, damaged, or destroyed after being checked in by the airlines, ruining long-anticipated trips and irreplaceable family events. Molon Labe Seating has developed an innovative solution for disabled passengers to remain in their own wheelchairs during flights, providing empowerment and dignity. They can fly without the angst they currently endure before, during and after their flights, and no longer have to wonder if their wheelchair will make it to their destination with them and if it does arrive, in what condition. We need your help and financial support to make this a reality for the millions of disabled persons across the globe that could benefit from our solution.
Our project, called Winged Chariot, will leverage our existing, proven Side-Slip Seat (S3) technology to create the Freedom Seat . Our S3 design allows the aisle seats to slide over the center seats creating a wider aisle for quicker aircraft boarding, and this same technology will be used for the Freedom seat.
Our Freedom Seat changes the S3 from a triple to a wide-double seat design. This allows us to slide the aisle seat completely over the window seat creating a large enough space needed to secure a wheelchair in the aircraft. A Q’Straint docking system; already certified and used to secure wheelchairs on buses and trains, is then used to anchor the wheelchair in the cabin. A video of our prototype seat being converted from a normal economy seat to the Freedom seat can be found here .
We have partnered with industry partners to expedite the implementation of the design, engineering, testing and certification of this seat.
Our Partners are:
Q’Straint : Wheelchair Docking System,
Quantum Rehab : Wheelchair Manufacturer,
Allwheelsup.org : Accessibility Advocates US,
Flyingdisabled.org : Accessibility Advocates UK/EU,
Primus Aerospace : Manufacturing,
National Institute of Aviation Research : Analysis & Testing, and
JPA Design : Conceptual Design.
Monies raised from this campaign will be used to design, engineer, analyze, test and certify the Freedom Seat, and general working capital. Funds will also be used build prototypes for the airlines to get their hands on, to assess, and modify to fit their exact customer needs. It normally costs in excess of $5 million to complete all the design, engineering, analysis and crash testing work to achieve FAA Certification of a new airline seat design. We are planning to get this design flying as soon as possible.
How does it work?
We use an economy class double seat (rather than a triple) which creates a larger space for the wheelchair. The airline will use a trained line mechanic or flight attendant to slide the aisle seat over the top of the staggered window seat which sits slightly lower than the aisle seat, and then lock it in place for regular use. This sliding action creates an additional 32’- 36” wide space near the aisle where an FAA approved wheelchair can be secured using the Q’Straint wheelchair docking system.
The process for the FAA to certify a seating solution for disable travelers is an arduous process, and rightly so because of safety considerations for all passengers. That said, there is significant regulatory and legislative pressure and momentum to find a solution. In September 2019, the US Department of Transportation announced the formation of the Air Carrier Access Act Advisory Committee (ACAA Advisory Committee), established pursuant to the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. The goal of this committee is to essentially improve the air travel experience of passengers with disabilities and increase its access to air travel. The FAA Reauthorization Act also included the mandate to perform a study on the feasibility of in-cabin wheelchair restraint systems and the subsequent accommodations needed.
During this Committee’s first meeting in Feb 2020 the FAA indicated that they wish to work quickly to allow wheelchairs to pass the FAA Certification. As such they will take into account much of the testing and regulations already in place with DOT vehicle approved wheelchairs to expedite this process as quickly as possible.
About Molon Labe Seating
Molon Labe Seating is a small team of designers and engineers based in Denver, Colorado. We recently certified our S1 Space Seat which uses a staggered design to improve passenger space on economy class flights. We are crowdfunding the Freedom seat as we don’t currently have the capacity to design, produce, and promote both configurations. The funds raised in this campaign will allow us to accelerate and prioritize Project Winged Chariot and get folks in wheelchairs flying as soon as we can get our design certified.
We also want to arm the accessibility industry with the ammunition to push airlines and regulators to make this a reality. Your donation, as large or small as you can make it, will make the industry realize how big the need for flying wheelchairs is.
Please donate now and help us make disabled access on planes as common as wheelchair access on buses and trains. We are excited to have you join us on our noble mission!
Please note that we are not a non-profit and donations are not tax-deductible.
See our designs here
DonationsSee top donations
- Jacqueline Yee
- Gerald Montie
- Rebecca Horton
Fundraising team: Molon Labe Aircraft Seating (4)
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