Avia innovation: a wheelchair to fly

Avia innovation: a wheelchair to fly


Image: Molon Labe new Freedom Seat prototype
The model is called Freedom Seat (Source)


A person who uses a wheelchair in ordinary life may experience different problems with it while flying on a plane. For example, a frequent and very unpleasant case - the airline offers to hand over a convenient and familiar wheelchair to the luggage and returns it with a breakdown or without the necessary parts. The proceedings and the search for a replacement will take time, nerves and money, which is especially unpleasant if you flew on vacation to a distant country. The American startup Molon Labe Seating of Denver, Colorado, has come up with how to save low-mobility travelers from such a headache, and at the same time help airlines that are trying to provide their passengers with comfort and an accessible flight.

Molon Labe Seating, which develops models of seats for aircraft, has created a prototype of a new passenger seat - it will allow people with disabilities to use their own wheelchair on board.

Structurally, the solution is as follows. Instead of the usual passenger seat, the three seats that are installed in the economy class of the aircraft, there will be a very wide economy-class double seat. In a normal situation, two passengers will be able to fly on it, but if you need to transport a person in a wheelchair, the seat at the aisle is shifted to the side and secured over the window seat. In the free space, it will be possible to install and fix the passenger’s own wheelchair on the cab floor, while the type of wheelchair doesn’t matter - with a manual, mechanical or electric drive. This method is already widely used in buses, trains and other transport adapted for disabled passengers.


Image: The way a Freedom Seat works
The chair at the aisle can be moved towards the window, 
and on the vacated space to fix the passenger's wheelchair (Source)


The developers are confident that this solution will be beneficial to both airlines and passengers. The first will not lose a place in the cabin, which means money from tickets sold and passengers carried. The latter will be able to use on board the familiar and comfortable wheelchair, which is often much better suited to their needs than state models, and not worry about its safety in the luggage compartment.



Molon Labe is a small startup, therefore, to further develop and test a new model of air seats, a fundraising campaign was launched on the GoFundMe crowdfunding platform. If the campaign is successful, the model will be tested, certified and put into production, and then will appear on board of planes.