Good Plane For Handicapped Passenger?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Stephen Poole, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. Stephen Poole

    Stephen Poole Filing Flight Plan

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    I'm nearing retirement and I'm thinking about learning to fly and buying a plane. (I'll ask some questions about the first one in another thread). My wife is disabled: she has to walk with a cane.

    The obvious choice seems to be a high-wing airplane, Cessna, Tecnam, or the like. But it looks like to me -- being ANYTHING but an expert at this point -- that many of the more highly-rated planes are low wing.

    So: how hard would it be for my wife to get in an out of a low-wing? You Mooney owners can correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I've read, the M20 would probably be a bad choice. The Diamond DA40 and the Cirrus SR20/22 also look very nice, but I'm concerned about her being able to get in and out without a lot of trouble.

    I can tell you this: there's no way that she'll be able to "step up onto the wing root, duck your head under the gull-wing door, then swing into the cabin ..." Not going to happen. :)

    Thanks very much in advance. Just getting started, so I appreciate your patience. I'm a 62-year-old newbie. :)
     
  2. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    My biggest problem with a PA-28 type is getting back up and out of them. You can hitch your butt up the wing and swing your feet over and slide in, but getting out isn't simply a matter of reversing the process.

    If she can walk, it would be easier for her to get into and out of some thing like a C-170 or 180/5
     
  3. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Cessna 177, hands down!
     
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  4. bluesideup

    bluesideup Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hi.
    If you can get a 3rd class. or basic med, you have more options, otherwise you need to look at just the makes / models you mentioned. You can also add CTLS, Remos, C162 and a couple of others to the list, but it is very likely that a high wing would be the best option.
    I am not sure what gave you the impression that low wing are better, but I can tell you that you can find just about everything in a high wing that you find in a low, and much more stable and easier access.
    In most of the ones you, and I, mentioned you can just turn around and put your behind on the seat, and swing your legs inside, if you are 5.3 or somewhere in that area.
     
  5. Stephen Poole

    Stephen Poole Filing Flight Plan

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    Heh. Actually, my budget will doubtless mean that I'll buy used instead of new, and I've been looking at the 177s. They ... intrigue me. They seem to offer unseemly Creature Comforts as well. :)
     
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  6. Kansas Flyer

    Kansas Flyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    :yeahthat:

    No strut and huge doors = super easy to get in and out.
     
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  7. Stephen Poole

    Stephen Poole Filing Flight Plan

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    I won't have any problem with the med, according to my doctor. Thank the Lord.

    I'm not familiar with the Remos. Since it will just be my wife and I, I have looked at the 162.
     
  8. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach

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    :yeahthat:
     
  9. Kansas Flyer

    Kansas Flyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Where are you located? I'll give you a ride in ours if you're relatively close.

    In any case check out http://www.cardinalflyers.com/home/_home.php for more info.
     
  10. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Sounds like a good candidate for a 177. Hook up with the group mentioned above. Different years of the cardinal have different quirks.

    If your wife doesnt mind riding in the back, either an A36 or a Pa32 could be an option.
     
  11. pigpenracing

    pigpenracing Pattern Altitude

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    breezy hangar.png I'll sell my Breezy..... Its easy to get on.
     
  12. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    Shame Cessna didn’t get it right the first year. If not for the bad rep from tail strikes and not the friendliest stall characteristics which were remedied within the next couple years, there would probably have been a lot more sold and a lot more of them around today.
     
  13. Stephen Poole

    Stephen Poole Filing Flight Plan

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    I live in Alabama. Might be a bit of a drive, especially as I don't have a license yet. :)

    But you are a gentleman and a scholar for making the offer.

    Right now, for us, "flying" means "Delta." :)
     
  14. Stephen Poole

    Stephen Poole Filing Flight Plan

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  15. Kansas Flyer

    Kansas Flyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you check out Cardinal Flyers you might be able to find someone down there who could at least let you sit in one.
     
  16. Kansas Flyer

    Kansas Flyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Mine is a 1st year model and it handles beautifully. I had just over a hundred hours when I 1st flew it so I figure if I can fly it without issue most should be able to. You can't treat it like a 172 though which is where the bad rep seems to have come from.

    As for stalls, I did some a couple of weekends ago and found that she would drop a wing if you forced her to stall but she also gave me several seconds of warning before that so you should be able to avoid stalling unless you just want to.
     
  17. Stephen Poole

    Stephen Poole Filing Flight Plan

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    A bit more info. (Sorry.) We will be using this plane to fly shorter trips of 200 NM or less. Very occasionally, we might fly 500 NM (though I don't anticipate it). It does need to be comfortable (see: Cessna 177!), but fast enough to keep flight time reasonable for my wife.

    Of course I looked at the TBM-900, Pilatus PC-12 and stuff like that while I was still in my "dreamin'" stage. The Mooney M201 or higher really caught my eye, because of bang-for-buck, but that low wing is the killer.

    Naturally, I also looked at Cirrus and Diamond. They're faster than the older Cessnas, more expensive (so I'd have to save up a little longer), but again: a low wing. Thus, I deeply appreciate the suggestions here.

    By the way, I'm not inherently opposed to experimental/homebuilt, but I'd like to get my CFI and train beginning pilots. (I've also done a LOT of teaching in my career, and I love it.)

    I'm a radio engineer (FCC General Class and other certifications), so I originally thought of retiring to a part-time job at an airport just to be around aviation. From what I've seen, though, I'd have to get my A&P just to get Avionics certification, and the pay really isn't that great (which surprised me). I am not boasting, but folks, I work on equipment every day that's quite complicated, and I doubt seriously if I'd have any trouble with a Garmin glass system. But I'm digressing now ...
     
  18. Salty

    Salty Pattern Altitude

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    Based on this, IMO a mooney and 162 are ruled out. The mooney is probably the hardest plane to get in and out of, and the 162 isn't easy either unless you are tall and limber, and it's SLOOOOOW.

    Maybe a 182?
     
  19. Kansas Flyer

    Kansas Flyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You'd have to find something a lot faster than a Cessna to save a bunch of time on a 200 NM flight. I can do such a trip in about 1:50 and my bird is only 150hp with a climb prop and the original draggy cowling, find a 182 or 180hp Cardinal w/ a constant speed prop and you can cut that down to 1:30 or so. Mooney speeds will save another ~10 minutes on top of that.
     
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  20. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Good luck getting a handicapped person into a Mooney.
     
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  21. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser!

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    What? No RV-8 suggestion?

    Yeah, Cardinal is going to the the best bet. 210 probably a decent choice too, but if you're only flying 200nm most of the time, the 210 is overkill.
     
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  22. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    my vote is something along the lines of a C-17....with a deployable loading ramp in the rear. One where she can drive her electric cart up into the cargo bay.
     
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  23. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser!

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    OV-10? I think you can rear load those, and they are a little smaller than the C17. :D
     
  24. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    Well....I was giving her the option of staying in her vehicle. ;)
     
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  25. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

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    I have a 177B, and I love it. At those distances you are talking about, the increased speed will make negligible differences in flight time. Given all of the travel time to the airport, and pre-flight procedures, it will make a very negligible difference in the total trip length. If speed is important though, you can look into the retractable gear version. They not only have the aerodynamic advantage of retracted gear, but they have a larger engine (200 HP vs. 180 HP in the A or B versions, or 150 HP for the original version), and its fuel injected vs. carbureted.
     
  26. drotto

    drotto Cleared for Takeoff

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    No PA32 suggestion? The rear door is low and large.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
     
  27. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I’m a bit surprised it hasn’t been mentioned yet as well.

    The PA32s are excellent airplanes for a handicapped passenger. The only other single engine airplane that is that easy to get in is a Cardinal (177).
     
  28. Salty

    Salty Pattern Altitude

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    That's going to be a back seat only though, right?
     
  29. bradg33

    bradg33 Cleared for Takeoff

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    177 or a 210 if she wants to ride up front. 172/182 would also do a serviceable job, though they sit a bit higher than the 177 and the doors don't open all the way due to the struts.

    A36 Bonanza or a PA32 (with club seating) if she doesn't mind riding in back.

    Anything with an over-wing entrance is going to be tough for someone with mobility issues.

    Once you get some experience, a 58 Baron or a Piper Seneca are good "upgrades" into the Twin World that provide the same level of access to the back.
     
  30. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach

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    172 pilots killed the 68 177...

    I just let a guy that had never flown one in his life, maybe 500 hrs of Cherokee/Bonanza time fly the 68 177. Not only did he do well, I let him fly it home solo after 4 landings and one full break stall. Its super easy to fly. Everyone thinks they are overweight too, well they are because they hold 72 pounds more fuel than a 172 of the same year. I do wonder how the pre slotted tails handled tho, i don't think more than 20 or so were deliered that way before they "cardinal rule" mod was an AD.

    I gotta say, Dad's 182L is alot bigger PITA to get in/out of than the 177. Even with the wheel pants off the 182 still sucks. If the seat tracks were 4 inches longer it would be a heck of an improvement.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  31. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    For the handicapped pax, yes.
     
  32. Eric Gleason

    Eric Gleason Pre-takeoff checklist

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    In the smaller plane segment, you're definitely looking at a high wing, but a 172 or 182 would probably also work well. They have the advantage of being plentiful. I've only seen a handful of 177s around airports in 30 years of flying.

    I think that once you look at what most of the 2 seat models can carry, you'll find you really need a 4 seater.

    In aviation, we have the concept of Useful Load, which is essentially how many pounds of fuel, baggage, and people the plane can carry. The 2 seat models mentioned have useful loads around 500 pounds, burn about 50 pounds of fuel in an hour, and fly relatively slowly. A 150 mile trip could easily take two hours with head winds,
    and you'll plan on having reserve fuel.

    I like an hour of reserve, so I'd take 3 hours of gas at minimum, leaving me with 350 pounds of people and baggage. I was 220 when I was learning to fly in a 2 seater and almost always wound up flying at the maximum allowable weight.

    A 172 or 177 will have a useful load around 900 pounds and be faster. Two people, bags, and fuel for a 4 hour trip is no problem.

    A 182 will carry even more, and is probably the entry into good cross country machines. It's not fast, but it's fast enough that a lot of places are in easy reach. And you'll pretty much always be able to take two people, all the bags you can fit, and full fuel tanks.


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  33. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach

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    If 110 knots is fine, two people most missions, lower elevations, than the 177/177B/177RG is about perfect, even the 150 horse ones.
    The biggest unknown you should fill in is airport elevations. Flying in Kansas is a lot different than western Colorado.
     
  34. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    So there were 172 Cardinal accidents that first year? LOL. Even after the ‘stabilator fix’ you had to be be careful about manhandling it lest you put it down nose wheel first. But yeah ‘it’s just a really a cool looking 172 without struts’ thinking was the problem. They should have placarded them with ‘not to be flown by C172 pilots without proper C177 training’
     
  35. Kansas Flyer

    Kansas Flyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That might have solved a lot of problems. I trained in a Cherokee and transitioned to the Cardinal in an hour with no problems, a friend that owns a 172 flew with my Dad and had all sorts of problems learning not to over control.

    What kind of cruise speed do you get with your B model?
     
  36. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

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    Or at least reading the POH. A lot of the problem was not flying the correct airspeeds. They assumed the same airspeeds for a 172 applied. If you do that, the only thing you need to know is that you can't try to force the nose down when you float on landing, or if you bounce. You just have to keep flying straight and wait for it to settle down on its own. Keep the nose up, and give it a shot of power if you start to sink too fast to avoid the bounce. If you try to point the nose down, you will cause a bounce, followed by porpoiseing down the run way.
     
  37. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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    I’d say 177 or, if she wants Limo style a PA32. The rear door on those is easy access.
    Is copilot of status important to get?
     
  38. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    All that is true, and you would expect the 177RG to be a speed demon with all that it has going for it plus its sleek, sporty look, but alas, it isn't. Some people claim 140 KTAS regularly, but the best I ever saw was 135 with the throttle firewalled, and that was when the engine was brand new. Today, with 600 hours on the engine, 130 KTAS is the best I ever see. I would expect 5-10 kts better than the comparable 180 hp B model, but no better than that. The RG is a very nice, stable instrument platform and has great visibility, but it will not break any speed records and Mooney gets much better performance out of the same engine.

    For the OP's needs though, I think some model of Cardinal would probably be the best choice.
     
  39. tspear

    tspear Cleared for Takeoff

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    If you want two seat limo, you need to think bigger like a PA-46.
    Many variants with full fuel really are two person planes. Wife get's an airstair door, and a nice place to relax in back. Easy to get in/out...

    Tim
     
  40. JCranford

    JCranford Pattern Altitude

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    Low wings...Pffft! Problem with low wings is you have to step *down* into the plane, which I could see may be difficult for someone with leg or mobility issues. A high wing with no struts to stop the door from opening wide is probably better. Easier to pull up a step and step *up* into the plane then swivel to face front.