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Committee for a Study on the Feasibility of Wheelchair Restraint Systems in Passenger Aircraft A Consensus Study Report of
Transportation Research Board Special Report 341 Subscriber Categories: Aviation; society Transportation Research Board publications are available by ordering individual publications directly from the TRB Business Office, through the Internet at www. TRB.org or nationalacademies.org/trb, or by annual subscription through organi- zational or individual affiliation with TRB. Affiliates and library subscribers are eligible for substantial discounts. For further information, contact the Transporta- tion Research Board Business Office, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001 (telephone 202-334-3213; fax 202-334-2519; or e-mail TRBsales@nas.edu). Copyright 2021 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America This publication was reviewed by a group other than the authors according to the procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine. This study was sponsored by the U.S. Access Board. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-09396-5 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-09396-1 Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/26323 Library of Congress Control Number: 2021946532
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v COMMITTEE FOR A STUDY ON THE FEASIBILITY OF WHEELCHAIR RESTRAINT SYSTEMS IN PASSENGER AIRCRAFT Alan M. Jette (NAM), Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, Chair Naomi Armenta, Nelson\Nygaard, Oakland, California Peter W. Axelson, Beneficial Designs, Inc., Minden, Nevada Rory A. Cooper, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Karen J. Erazo, Sun Country Airlines (retired), Eagan, Minnesota Francis S. Heming, Jr., Goodrich Interiors (retired), Colorado Springs, Colorado Kevin L. Hiatt, Alexandria, Virginia Katharine M. Hunter-Zaworski, Oregon State University, Corvallis George A. Lesieutre, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park Miriam A. Manary, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Ann Arbor Clinton V. Oster, Jr., Indiana University, Troy, Montana Gary M. Weissel, Tronos Aviation Consulting, Woodstock, Georgia Staff Melissa Welch-Ross, Study Director, Consensus and Advisory Studies, Transportation Research Board Tracy Lustig, Senior Program Officer, Health and Medicine Division Anusha Jayasinghe, Associate Program Officer, Consensus and Advisory Studies, Transportation Research Board Claudia Sauls, Program Coordinator, Consensus and Advisory Studies, Transportation Research Board Thomas R. Menzies, Jr., Director, Consensus and Advisory Studies, Transportation Research Board NOTE: See Appendix C, Disclosure of Unavoidable Conflicts of Interest.
vii Preface Section 432 of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-254) calls on the U.S. Access Board, in consultation with the Secretary of Transportation and other expert and interested par- ties, to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of wheelchair secure- ment and restraint systems for use in the passenger cabins of airplanes. If the systems are deemed feasible, the study is expected to examine the ways in which individuals with significant disabilities who use wheelchairs, in- cluding power wheelchairs, can be accommodated using the systems. The U.S. Access Board commissioned the National Academies of Sci- ences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies) to convene an expert committee to conduct the study under the auspices of its Transporta- tion Research Board (TRB). A 12-member committee was appointed from the fields of airplane interior design and engineering; airplane crashwor- thiness standards, testing, and certification; airline operations and safety; wheelchair and assistive technology design, performance, and crashworthi- ness; transportation accessibility for people with disabilities; and economics and policy analysis. This report represents the consensus efforts of these 12 individuals, who served uncompensated in the public interest. Their biographical information is provided in Appendix B. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The committee met 10 times from February 2020 through May 2021 to gather information relevant to the study and to deliberate on the reportâs
viii PREFACE contents, findings, and recommendations. Three of the meetings, which were open to the public, included briefings by experts in the following areas: difficulties that nonambulatory people face when flying; wheelchair design, technologies, and standards; wheelchair securement and occupant restraint systems; airplane structures and interiors; federal safety require- ments for passenger airplanes; airline operations; and passenger service for people with disabilities. The committee thanks the following individuals for participating in these briefings and making other contributions to the committeeâs work: William Ammer, Ammer Consulting, LLC; Heather Ansley and Lee Page, Paralyzed Veterans of America; Kelly Buckland, National Council on Inde- pendent Living; Oli Davalos, QâSTRAINT; Paul Doell, National Air Carrier Association; Jonathan Duvall, University of Pittsburgh; Michele Erwin, All Wheels Up; Gregg Fesenmyer, American Airlines; Cindy Ford, G2 Secure Staff; Hans-Gerhard Giesa and Ralf Schliwa, Airbus; Jon Gondeck and Mike Kulig, Calspan; Mark Greig, Sunrise Medical; Karen Holmes, JetBlue; Raki Islam, SAFRAN; Glenn Johnson, Collins Aerospace; Andrew Kele- her, Boeing; John Kloosterman, United Airlines; William Meier, Quantum Rehab; Doug Mullen, Airlines for America; Nichole Orton, University of Michigan; Bryan Parker and Johanna Reimer, Southwest Airlines; Ray Prentice and Ronda Ruderman, Alaska Airlines; Ramakant Rambhatla, Invacare Corporation; John Shelden, Federal Aviation Administration; Jo Ann Storie, Prospect Airport Services; and Chris Wood, Flying Disabled. Melissa Welch-Ross directed the study and assisted the study commit- tee in the preparation of this report with the assistance of Tracy Lustig and under the guidance of Thomas R. Menzies, Jr. Anusha Jayasinghe provided support to the committee by arranging meetings, and Claudia Sauls assisted with manuscript preparation. The committee thanks Benjamin Hubbard, graphic artist, for creating many of the figures in the report. The report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this indepen- dent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectiv- ity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. The National Academies thanks the following individuals for their re- view of this report: Ben Berman, Berman Aviation Associates, LLC; Cathy Bodine, University of Colorado Denver; William Borucki (National Acad- emy of Sciences), National Aeronautics and Space Administration Ames Re- search Center (retired); Dianne Chong (National Academy of Engineering), Boeing Research and Technology (retired); Bill Cotney, Cotney Aerospace,
PREFACE ix Inc.; Zahra Mohaghegh, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Ge- rardo Olivares, National Institute for Aviation Research at Wichita State University; Victor Paquet, University at Buffalo; Larry Schneider, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (retired); Tom Strganac, Texas A&M University; and Gary Talbot, Gary Talbot ADA Consulting. Although these reviewers provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the committeeâs conclusions and recommendations, nor did they see the final version of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Chris T. Hendrickson (National Academy of Engineering), Carnegie Mellon University (emeri- tus), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Walter Frontera (National Academy of Medicine), University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico. They were responsible for making certain that an independent review of the report was conducted in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered by the committee. Responsibility for the final content of the report rests solely with the authoring committee and the institution. Karen Febey, Senior Report Review Officer, TRB, managed the report review process.
xi Contents ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS xiii EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 9 Burdens People Who Are Nonambulatory Face When Flying, 11 Study Origins and Charge, 17 Study Scope, 19 Study Approach and Report Organization, 23 2 BACKGROUND 25 Wheelchair Characteristics and Use as Seats in Transportation, 25 Overview of Passenger Airplanes, Their Seats and Interiors, and the Airline Industry, 37 Addendum, 45 3 CRASHWORTHINESS AND OTHER SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS 61 FAA Cabin Interior Crashworthiness Requirements, 63 Wheelchair Transportation Safety Standards, 70 Comparison of FAA and RESNA Crashworthiness Criteria, 76 Summary of Key Points, 83
xii CONTENTS 4 AIRPLANE SPACE CONSIDERATIONS 87 Space for Boarding, Maneuvering, and Securement, 89 Space Requirements in Relation to an Existing Airplane Interior, 100 Changes Required to Airplane Interiors, 106 Summary of Key Points, 110 Addendum, 112 5 ASSESSMENT OF FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDED NEXT STEPS 115 Recap of Chapter Topics and Objectives, 116 Assessment of Findings on Technical Feasibility Issues, 119 Airline Operational and Passenger Accommodation Issues, 126 Conclusions and Recommendations, 132 APPENDIXES A LEGISLATIVE REQUEST 135 B COMMITTEE BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION 137 C DISCLOSURE OF UNAVOIDABLE CONFLICTS OF INTEREST 145
xiii Acronyms and Abbreviations ABA Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 AC Advisory Circular ACAA Air Carrier Access Act ADA Americans with Disabilities Act ADAAG ADA Accessibility Guidelines ANSI American National Standards Institute ATD anthropomorphic test dummy CMS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) FAA Federal Aviation Administration FHWA Federal Highway Administration FMVSS Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards HIC head injury criterion IATA International Air Transport Association IFE in-flight entertainment ISO International Organization for Standardization NRE non-recurring engineering PDAC CMS Pricing, Data Analysis and Coding PSU passenger service unit
xiv ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS RESNA Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America RJ regional jet SAE Society of Automotive Engineers SSR special service request TRB Transportation Research Board U.S. DOT U.S. Department of Transportation WTORS wheelchair tiedown and occupant restraint systems