Wheelchair Plane Options

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Steve37, May 23, 2020.

  1. Steve37

    Steve37 Filing Flight Plan

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    Hello all. My wife recently suffered an injury which has her confined to a wheelchair. I’m on the way too early side of thinking about this but am curious to know if anyone has experience with this scenario and what might be a reasonable plane that would comfortably accommodate someone in her position? We traveled often before injury and I hope to continue that as much as possible in the future. I’m just single engine at the moment but open to adding ratings.

    We regularly travel in a friends C90 Of which she can be carried up a few steps, but I don’t imagine that will be the easiest or most comfortable thing for her. Seems like the Saratoga / Cherokee 6 ( or even Seneca ) would offer some easy access options via the large rear luggage doors. Any other planes I might be missing?

    I don’t really know what the mission looks like going forward, but I’d expect mostly Southeast travel from Florida and a few jumps to MYAT each year.

    Appreciate any insight / recommendations.
     
  2. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    36 series Bonanza and the 58 series Barons also have behind the wing double doors to a club seating area, but not a spacious as the Pipers.

    I would be inclined to look at high wing Cessnas, particularly the 210 or 337 twin with its clamshell doors.

    IMG_0656.JPG
     
  3. 3393RP

    3393RP En-Route

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    Once again the Cherokee 6 is a great answer to a specific need.

    On a more serious note, my best wishes to your wife. I hope her prognosis is favorable.
     
  4. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

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    The Cessna Cardinal is the gold-standard for pilots and passengers with mobility issues. The seats are low, the doors are large, and a passenger an easily be transferred from wheelchair to seat easily.
     
  5. dfw11411

    dfw11411 Filing Flight Plan

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    A possible downside of the Piper PA-32 design is that the nice big easy entry is in the rear. If your wife likes to sit up front and next to you, she may not enjoy the isolation. My wife has some mobility issues and sits in the back only when the right front seat is occupied. Just having the intercom is not sufficient for her.
     
  6. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    Second the Cardinal suggestion. Cessna 210 also. Cherokee 6 or a Lance would be a good option if she doesn’t mind riding in the back.
     
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  7. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I’ll third the Cardinal suggestion. Very easy access in and out. Can basically just slide yourself right in.
     
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  8. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    MYAT? Seneca!
     
  9. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    MYAT??? Don’t know what that means.
     
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  10. WillFly4Food

    WillFly4Food Pre-takeoff checklist

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    We all hope the best for your wife. Lots of good suggestions above. But given how most aircraft, especially low wings, tend to squat the back fuselage down a bit while on the ground, I’d have to say the Cherokee Six/Lance/Seneca or Bonanza/Baron are probably best due to minimized height. Of those, the Pipers have more room back there.
     
  11. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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  12. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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  13. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

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    I think the OP is saying they fly to the Bahamas a few times a year.
     
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  14. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Cessna 177/177B and 177RG series.
     
  15. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    “Myat acronym” - share the google-foo.
     
  16. tspear

    tspear Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Years ago I demoed the Tecnam Twin. The P2006T, from what I recall supper easy ingress and egress. Modern plane, can run on autogas (rotax engines).
    Would be worth checking out. I do not recall performance though so do not know how it compares.

    Also if just OP and the spouse, consider a 172 or 182. They may enough for the mission.

    Tim

    Sent from my HD1907 using Tapatalk
     
  17. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser!

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  18. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

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    I fly a 182 and have flow plenty of 172s. The seats don't slide back very far and sit up rather high, making it difficult from someone who requires a wheelchair to ingress/egress.
     
  19. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    FWIW: There was an individual who had a chair-bound child. Initially, he preferred his C206 to his A36 when loading/unloading as the doorway was unobstructed. We made him a "loading ramp" to help the kid transition from the chair to inside/outside of the aircraft. Once the kid was older and stronger his dad started using the A36 more as the kid could almost self-load even with the flap blocking some of the door opening. We installed several additional hand holds on the airframe and modified a seat to help. I think as long as you look for a large/wide door opening unobstructed from ground level and talk to your mechanic about adding a few additional handles/other assist items, you should be able to get her in the air with minimal effort.
     
  20. Dave Theisen

    Dave Theisen En-Route PoA Supporter

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    A Pilatus with one of these. We used to use a ramp, but now have one for our charter fleet.

     
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  21. Dave Theisen

    Dave Theisen En-Route PoA Supporter

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    A Seneca or Baron for twins, or a Cherokee six or Bonanza might be the best.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
  22. Piperonca

    Piperonca Pre-takeoff checklist

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  23. tspear

    tspear Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Interesting, did not know consider that. But I probably have a total of ten hours in a 172/182.

    Tim
     
  24. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

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    Yeah, the 177s sit much lower and have a gigantic door...
    . 54F1B6A9-2AD7-4E4E-B5F5-C7B5150E278E.jpeg
     
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  25. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    206.
    [​IMG]
     
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  26. Ghery

    Ghery Touchdown! Greaser!

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    My wife is nowhere near wheel chair bound, but even with her knee and hip problems a 172 is difficult enough. I would recommend against the 172/182 option. I haven't been near a 177, but from what I'm seeing here that might be something worth trying. Whichever way you consider, try one first before buying.
     
  27. JohnAJohnson

    JohnAJohnson Cleared for Takeoff

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    My wife is in a wheelchair and I've owned a fixed gear Cardinal (177B) and currently own a retract Cardinal (177RG). Neither cargo door is big enough to put a wheel chair through. My wife likes to ride up front if the flight is less than an hour, and in the back if longer, so she can stretch out. And that creates a problem. When she is in the back seat, the wheel chair must go into the cargo compartment by lifting it over the back seat. So while all this is going on, she needs to be somewhere other than in the back seat. Makes for difficult fuel/bio stops when going cross country. Keep that in mind if looking at Cardinals and if your wife prefers or needs to be in the back seat.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2020
  28. Geosync

    Geosync Pre-takeoff checklist

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    High wing Cessna, maybe a 206 to haul associated gear. I know a CFI who was shot after his commercial rating by a random bullet meant for someone else in a barbershop. Spine severed, paralyzed waist down. He makes it happen in Cessnas and even pipers. Big SE Cessnas may be the ticket. Cargo door for gear, easy front access.
     
  29. PlasticCigar

    PlasticCigar Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you don’t mind sharing, at what level is her injury? Does she have use of her upper arms? I know someone who could easily get in an out of a Piper Arrow by sitting on the flap and pushing herself up the wing backwards. High and low wings both have their advantages.

    Whatever you decide, it might be a good idea to meet with a physical therapist and see if they can offer any suggestions for getting into and out of the plane. They tend to have a lot of tricks and tools they never would have occurred to me.

    I wish you joy and success in your endeavor.
     
  30. Craig

    Craig Line Up and Wait

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    If you can deal with a somewhat narrower door, the 500/600 Commanders might be worth looking at, if within the $ range you are looking to spend.
     
  31. k9medic

    k9medic Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not sure where in Florida you are located but you are more than welcome to come by my hangar and see how she would do getting into/ out of a Cherokee 6. The rear door sill is about 2' from the ground when the plane is loaded.

    I fly it back and forth to MYAT regularly as we have a place in GTC (well I did until Covid) and will resume just as soon as we can get back without having to quarantine for 14 days.
     
  32. MassPilot

    MassPilot Cleared for Takeoff

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    My wife is in a wheelchair and we've made it work with a C172. I have to help push her up as she pulls herself in but it's doable for us. I'm able to take the wheels off the chair and fit the frame through the cargo door. The wheels then go through the cabin and I drop them behind the back seat since they won't fit through the cargo door.
     
  33. cgrab

    cgrab Pattern Altitude

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    I bought my Cardinal because my wife had bad knees. She has had them replaced since then but still likes the low access.

    An instructor at Langley AFB used a wheelchair or a cane. He would fold up his chair and put it in the back of a 172 while instructing.