Transportation and Recreational Aircraft Prototype Development
I aim to make the "mobility impaired" visibly mobile! Most severely disabled individuals will probably tell you they experience significant difficulty in getting around their communities. Recreational opportunities are often limited to being a spectator. Most would describe "cruising" as buzzing around their neighborhood in their power wheelchair or "soaring" as flying down a nearby hill in a manual chair. Not anymore!
|A Pilot's Eyes
"Have you seen his eyes?
The eyes of a guy who upon waking,
hears for the first time ...
he is paralized.
Eyes full of despair and hopelessness.
Have you seen his eyes?
The eyes of that guy returning
to work, to school, ... home.
Only to see the things he cannot do.
Eyes full of frustration.
Have you see his eyes?
The eyes of a pilot
controlling the air, free as a bird.
Yelling "I CAN FLY!"
Eyes full of ...joy.
Please ... grant me pilots eyes."
- Koen Van de Kerckhove
About the Author... Koen is a teacher in Belgium, aviation enthusiast, and great friend to a disabled wheelchair user. He created the 3-D renderings pictured below of the Sky Chairiot.
3 View Drawing - 2nd Revision
This document outlines a conceptual design and contains confidential and proprietary information belonging exclusively to Mark Felling. This document does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation to purchase. Reproduction or use of this concept or plan without the express written permission of Broadened Horizons, LLC is prohibited.
The first wheelchair accessible private airplane for all pilots who are able to drive an automobile with hand controls.
- Able to be piloted independently by those with more severe physical disabilities such as Quadriplegia.
- Roll-in with your wheelchair, lock down similar to a Van, and fly away.
- Concept design and project management by Mark Felling, President and Founder of Broadened Horizons
Project Objective: Build a prototype to prove the feasibility of this concept design for a personal aircraft which can be safely operated independently from a wheelchair by anyone from a high level quadriplegic, stroke victim, to multiple amputee. Long-term objective is to eventually license the designs for production by an appropriately qualified manufacturer.
Currents Status: Steve Craigle, Volunteer retired Boeing aeronautical engineer currently refining the detailed design. Commitments from other well known industry professionals such as Chris Heinz of Zenair to consult on the design. Seeking volunteer aeronautical engineers to collaborate on and refine the design.
- Begin building by 2007 - seeking all forms of support - sponsorship, donations, or your time!
Goal: To prove success, Mark Felling will be the first Quadriplegic, wheelchair-bound pilot to fly independently to EAA Airventure 2010 in Oshkosh Wisconsin - the largest air show in the world!
- Diesel FADEC Engine 180-220 HP or if they ever become feasible a Innodyn Mini Turbine would be perfect for this design with engine near center of mass for weight and balance.
- Fuel Capacity 50 Gallons
- Range(w/ 1 Hr reserve) 5 Hr / 650 miles
- Gross Weight 2300 lbs.
- Empty Weight 1500 lbs.
- Weight Capacity 800 lbs.
Cockpit Interior Dimensions
- Height 61 inches
- Width 36 inches
- Floor Length 86 inches
- Wingspan 28 ft
- Length 23.2 ft
- Height (Top Vertical Stab) 9.7 ft
- Ground Clearance 11 inch
Seating Configurations (2-4 Person)
- 1 Power & 1 Manual Wheelchair Tandem
- 1 Power Wheelchair & 1 Seat Tandem
- 2 Manual Wheelchair Tandem & 1 Center Rear Facing
- 1 Manual Wheelchair & 2 Rear Side-by-Side
- 1 Manual Wheelchair & 2 Rear Facing Side-by-Side & 1 Rear
- 1 Front Seat & 2 Rear Side-by-Side
- 1 Front Seat, 2 Rear Facing Side-by-Side & 1 Rear
- 1 Front Seat & 650 lb Cargo Pod
The plane features dual joystick control driving all electronically actuated control surfaces. Rudder petals can be used as an alternative to the left side X-axis joystick
input based on the pilots preference or ability. The joysticks are typically positioned on either side of the pilot but can be repositioned almost anywhere to accommodate pilots with various limitations such as stroke (one arm & one leg), amputee's, and can be coupled to a rear set of joysticks for use by an instructor or safety pilot. Secondary systems such as lights, radio, GPS and other avionics are controlled through 2 switch inputs which can be quickly exchanged between thumb, elbow, or head actuated buttons or even sip & puff pneumatic switches depending on the pilot’s abilities.
The Aviation for Paraplegics and Tetraplegics Charitable Trust (APT) currently very successfully flies two dual tandem seat "Shadow" micro-lights out of Old Sarum Airfield near Salisbury, United Kingdom outfitted with very similar controls. The following description and photos are borrowed from their web site at: http://www.disabledflying.org/aircft.html.
- Combined throttle/rudder lever on the pilot's left side. (Forward/back for throttle, left/right for rudder).
- Pneumatically powered brakes activated by a lever behind the pilot's head. (Whether the left or right brake or both operates depends on position of rudder lever).
- Suck/blow trim, operated by tube attached to microphone boom.
- Large detachable radio PTT switch. (Which those without finger movement can operate with their chin.
- The original PTT switch remains on the throttle/rudder lever for those who have function in their left thumb).
- Physically challenged pilots: Pilots that have been flying with limited use of their limbs.
- Physically challenged pilots unable to fly: Pilots that have been unable to fly due to injury or illness.
- Physically challenged curious flyers: The group of individuals that have always wanted to but have been unable to fly because of physical limitations.
- Skydiving and Cargo: Potential secondary market for skydiving and very small cargo operation due to plane’s unique rear fold down entry door.
Links - Flying with Disabilities
Organization helps disabled experience flight
By Alex Hummel of the Northwestern Posted July 21, 2005
Theron Wright heard all the reasons why he couldn’t fly after his 1994 accident.
“I had been in flight school when I was injured,” Wright said. “My career path was to be a professional pilot, and for the five or six months after I was out of the hospital, professional pilots I talked to and everybody I had talked to about professional flying, said, ‘Hang it up. You will never be able to fly.’”
The aptly-named Wright, who is paralyzed and uses a wheelchair, didn’t “hang it up.” In fact, he became more determined than ever to use aviation as inspiration. He got his commercial pilots’ license, started a flight school at Oklahoma State University and hooked up with Dallas-based Challenge Air for Kids and Friends — a nonprofit that gives challenged children and their families a hands-on introduction to aviation.
Some kids get to grasp the yoke with a pilot’s assistance. They are, with help at the helm, flying.
“The perception there, is that they are flying this airplane, and the message is ‘There is nothing you can’t do,’” Wright said.
Twelve-year-old Challenge Air is just one such agency using aviation to inspire disabled people to fly or actually teaching them how to do it. They are scattered around the U.S. and, in the can-do spirit of the Experimental Aircraft Association, they annually make it their mission to make aviation as accessible as the sky is high.
Flightability is an organization with a Web site that posts dozens of links to products that help disabled pilots overcome obstacles they may run into in aviation.
The Big Bear City, Calif.-based International Wheelchair Aviators began as a small group of paraplegic pilots who would meet each other regularly for fly-in lunch get-togethers, according to the organization’s Web site www.wheelchairaviators.org. That was 1972.
Now, the 250-member organization of both disabled and able-bodied aviation enthusiasts and pilots has been instrumental in working with the Federal Aviation Administration to license or allow paraplegic people, amputees or those living with conditions such as polio to fly.
Two years ago, Mark Felling, 28, crash landed his Dragonfly airplane after taking off from an Eden Prairie, Minn., airport. He was rendered quadriplegic and uses a power wheelchair.
Now, Felling has made it his mission to develop new aviation technology and aircraft allowing a wheelchair user to easily access a cockpit and pilot an aircraft. He hopes investors and engineers like him can contribute resources to his start-up, Broadened Horizons Technologies.
“The challenge there is you’ve got 300 extra pounds for a power wheelchair that you have to accommodate,” said Felling of the effort in designing and engineering a wheelchair-friendly cockpit. “… The next big challenge would be talking to Burt Rutan or talking to one of those guys to do the detailed aeronautical designs. I’ve just kind of sketched it out on paper and figured out where your weight and balance would have to be.”
Wright said his volunteer organization is equally devoted to showing the value of aviation in a community — motivating pilots to use their planes for good, beyond recreation.
Alex Hummel: (920) 426-6669 or firstname.lastname@example.org.