Transporting a wheelchair on long airline journeys has been both a headache and a major worry. Airline personnel continue to maintain a minimum level of concern about passengers in wheelchairs and their mobility devices.

All too often there are reports of airline attendants not properly caring for wheelchairs, jamming them carelessly into overhead compartments, hurling them into cargo bins without checking to see if they are correctly folded or secured, and the wheelchairs are sometimes returned to their owners with minor and major damage. It can be weeks or months before their repair claims are even addressed, with longer waits to actually get the chair repaired.

Well, there’s a new wheelchair in town that may actually solve many of these problems and concerns. Developed by a company in the United Kingdom, the new RGK TIGA FX chair is sturdy, reliable, and designed for long-term use. Its aluminum frame is lightweight, rugged, and actually incorporates Kevlar armor into the design.

Russell Simms, RGK’s Commercial Director, says, “For a long time wheelchairs have been clunky and a hassle, something we at RGK are trying to change. TIGA FX brings to life what we believe a wheelchair should be: light, strong and practical, plus in many cases it will open up access and rights to travel that have been denied too many people far too long.”

The chair has a unique folding design that allows it to collapse in less than a minute into a shape similar to a briefcase, which can very easily fit into overhead compartments on aircraft or into the trunk of the smallest car.

Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee, said of the design, “The folding system doesn’t compromise at all the rigidity of the chair. This incredible new wheelchair is going to take all the pressure and stress out of flying and will make it more enjoyable for wheelchair users.”

Sir Philip goes on to say, “I’m in planes all the time and not knowing whether my chair will be at the aircraft door upon arrival has been the bane of my life.”

He won’t have to worry about that with the TIGA FX; the ability to store the chair safely in the overhead compartment will ensure that his chair is always there when he needs it, and it won’t be damaged en route. The convenience of the folding design will also be a boon for airlines, which are required to store personal mobility devices in the cabin on flights to and from the U.S. This will solve the problem of cramped space.

The TIGA FX wheelchair starts at a cool $3,000 USD and offers optional add-ons like side guards, push handles, foot rests, seating, anti-tipping, and even wheel, tires, and brakes. Though the TIGA FX won’t accommodate all wheelchair users, the compact design should still be a step forward in easing airline travel woes for many.

Take a look at the folding power of the TIGA FX in the videos. The first one shows how the wheelchair folds, and the second demonstrates how comfortably and safely the chair fits in the overhead compartment of an aircraft cabin. We always depend on our readers to let us know if a new adaptive device will “fly”—what’s your take on the TIGA FX?

Source: ams vans

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