View Full Version : WCHR/C/S

13th Mar 2006, 19:05
Just a quick example to illustrate any further questions...


What's your airline policy? What would you do if you were the last to check the cabin? If you're part of the flight deck, what's your airline policy in terms of cabin inspection post evacuation?
Just out of interest, don't shoot thanks.:confused:

13th Mar 2006, 19:27
In Canada passengers who travel and obviously need an attendant can declare that they are self reliant (even a quadriplegic) and the airline is forced to transport them.
Quote from the regulations: "Accepting a passenger's judgement
Sometimes, people with disabilities are perceived as needing extra services when in fact they do not. An air carrier is obliged to accept a person's word that he or she does not require any extra assistance or other service. Unquote

There is understanding at the Transport level (of course not in writting) that in an emergency those folks could be left behind but I suspect the public does not understand this.

At no time can we expect cabin crew to put their lives in jeopardy to evacuate a passenger with disabilities, while at the same time ensuring the safe evacuation of the other passengers and themselves. Passengers who need this type of assistance should be forced to travel with attendants who can provide them with the necessary assistance if using commercial transport or travel on medivac type of aircraft that can provide for their needs.

13th Mar 2006, 19:52
People must accept that in certain circumstances, if they wish to travel in normal life, they must accept some responsibilities for looking after themselves in the event of unusual circumstances. If this person was unable to get themselves to the door and throw themselves out, they should either have been travelling with a minder who would look after them at their expense, or not travel. I don't wish to sound heartless, but airlines provide at minimal cost a ticket to travel on an aeroplane. A crew is provided to supply the safety services onboard. If there are passengers with additional needs, should that passenger supply his own care or is it assumed that the airline should provide the additional care free of charge (it's not 'free of charge', the other passengers will pay- is that right?).
I believe anybody who requires additional assistance should either provide it themselves or recompense the carrier for providing it- ie carry the additional costs of carrying them themselves. Stretcher cases carry their own minder. But it's academic here- this person confirmed he could walk off himself when the booking was made. If so, why did he voluntarily remain on the aeroplane? It goes back to the old argument with Ryanair if a Wheelchair is required. If the airport charges for the use of a wheelchair, it is then a matter between the disabled passenger and the airport authority, not for the airline to pay to provide the service for the needs of the passenger.

WCHR S/C = Wheelchair Stagger or Carry off- it's the code on the Passenger Information List given to the crew

14th Mar 2006, 09:52
To clarify Rainboe's post - in my experience the codes used in SITA/dispatch/handling are:-

WCHR - 'simple' wheelchair - can climb/descend steps; walk up jetways, but normally a buggy required for long-distance terminal walking.

WCHS- cannot use steps but OK on jetway, can get in and out of aircraft unaided

WCHC - requires lifting in and out of aircraft and into seat etc. (Sometimes known as 'a lift-off')

14th Mar 2006, 10:05
I don't care what my airlines policy is I wont risk my life to save a wheel chair bound passenger. If I can get them off with an acceptable risk to my self then I will, but I wont be putting myself into harms way.
Having read the article I think the crew did the right thing. The fire service will not get on the aircraft if they think people are still evacuating from the slides, as they have to cut them off and put a ladder against the aircraft. My thinking would be to get off the aircraft, tell the fire service that a wheelchair passenger is seated in row X and cannot evacuate. then leave it to them, they have the breathing equipment and the training to deal with it.

14th Mar 2006, 10:10
WCHR - "Runner"

WCHS - "Stagger"

WCHC - "Carry Off"

14th Mar 2006, 10:48
And you know as well as the rest of us that the fire service wont be going up those stairs until people have stopped coming down them.
If anyone has attended a fire and smoke course recently you will know what the standard drill is, and you will also know that what this crew did was the correct thing.
As much as I hate to say it, its better to have one dead guy, than one dead guy and three dead crew who tried but failed to rescue him.
My thinking is get everyone out who can get out, and leave the rest for the fire crew who have the right equipment and training to deal with this.

Max Angle
14th Mar 2006, 11:52
Yup, quite right. I've had this conversation with an airport firefighter and his view was that "we would rather have 1 person to rescue than 2 or 3, leave it to us" which sounds like good advice.

14th Mar 2006, 12:11
It's simple:
'The Greatest Good For The greatest Number.'
End of story.

14th Mar 2006, 12:30
From what I read in the report I think the crew did a very good job with the situation.

They should be prasied!

As for the passengers complaining about having to stand on the runway in the cold. If this had happen to a flight that I was on, I would be rather be standing in the cold and wet than still on the aircraft that may be on fire.

I don't know what the are complaining about!


15th Mar 2006, 12:15
"The spokesperson added that providing ground staff to deal with an emergency was the responsibility of the airline."

So who will deal with the SLF when the airline has no agents at Shannon?

Sir George Cayley
15th Mar 2006, 13:37
I take it none of you are wheelchair users or suffer from any other chronic conditions that render you unable to live a 'normal' life?

You'll be open to suggestions that Passengers with Restricted Mobility should be shot so as not to trouble anyone in an emergency then :mad:

Before further pontificating from the able bodied just reflect on some of the suggested solutions, imagine yourself post motorbike accident, and then see how you would react to the restrictions put forward.

Sir George Cayley

15th Mar 2006, 18:04
Sir George, if this passenger did state that he was able to move to and from his seat without assistance (as reported in the article) and then in an evacuation he was unable to do this, then he provided false information to the airline and no sympathy is given. More to the point, if the crew were unable to assist this passenger (who, according to the article, said he did not require assistance on and off the aircraft) due to weight or whatever reason then why should they endanger themselves to assist someone else. The first basic rule of First Aid is to CHECK FOR DANGER - which means DO NOT PUT YOURSELF IN A SITUATION WHERE HELPING SOMEONE ELSE COULD ENDANGER YOUR OWN LIFE.

Again, as I stated earlier - *IF* this passenger stated he was able to move himself (which I understand may be totally incorrectly reported in this article) then he lied to the airline and its staff, and endangered himself unnecessarily. No sympathy given, sorry. If anything, he unnecessarily endangered the life of the crew and those pax around him :* so please don't go off on one re equal opportunity etc.

Ps I have relatives with severe disabilities and have been around them all my life, so am completely aware of the difficulties faced on a day to day basis by those with physical AND emotional disabilties.

15th Mar 2006, 20:26
WCH(S) - The S does not stand for stagger. This was a term that was created during training so that staff could remember the three different types of wheelchair assistance. It stands for STEPS, and I can't bare it when people refer to a wheelchair passenger as a stagger! Especially when they use the term freely over the radio, or in front of the passenger! Wheelchair SIERRA is much more professional.

WCHR - Wheelchair to ramp - Passenger is unable to walk any distance, but
Can ascend / descend steps

WCHS - Wheelchair NO STEPS - Passenger is unable to ascend / descend steps, but can walk to their cabin seat.

WCHC - Wheelchair Carry ON / OFF - Passenger is completely immobile and requires a lift on / lift off service

WCMP - Manually powered wheelchair

WCBD - Motorised Wheelchair (DRY CELL BATTERY)

16th Mar 2006, 21:15
If you're part of the flight deck,...

Do you mean the knob on the control column? With all due respect to our few remaining Flt Engineer brethen we aren't flight deck - we're pilots.

green granite
16th Mar 2006, 21:44
As somebody who is disabled ( I suffer from severe emphysema) I dont need
a wheelchair as I can usually walk 50 to 100yds before I run out of breath and have to stop for 2 or 3 minutes to recover. However in an emergency situation
I would be a definate liabilty as, after sitting for a while, I cannot move very far,
prob about 10 yds before I have to stop, so I would have to wait till every else was off before I went ( unless I was in the seat by the chute) once at the bottom of the chute it would take me a while to move away from the aircraft
also holding other people up. I cant do going up steps witout running out of breath either allthough going down is ok.

So the answer in my case is very simple, I DONT FLY.

17th Mar 2006, 10:04
@ 60+ I'm more of a liability and probably less mobile under adrenalin than a 15-45 year old. So I select a window seat where possible. Its all about survival of the fittest, and the fact that I should not be the cause of slowing the fitter ones down.
Should the worst happen - the statistical chances (correct me if I'm wrong) are roughly 40+% nothing other than shock and minor cuts and bruises, 40% DOA or at least need rescue services to exit and a ca. 20% mobile enough to evacuate but more that minor cuts and bruises.
So my logic is, being in or close to the 3rd age as the French call it, I've done my part, if I get out - good - if not - so be it (I find the Arabic term of "as the almighty wills it" more fitting even though I'm not of that descent - but I'll refrain from using it here so as not to discriminate in any way between beliefs).
Its a little like the DNR notice on a patients card in hospital - (DNR = Do NOT Resuscitate). It is there for a reason and I get absolutely furious when so better knowing whippersnapper knows better and does not follow the instructions (this does not happen in the US very often as the court case thereafter are quick and career ending - but it does elsewhere where a more appropriate legal system is enforced).
I believe this logic would work for green granite, should that person choose to be more mobile than otherwise possible.
With active cabin crew and flight deck personnel of long standing in my close family who agree with my standpoint, and for myself as SLF with around 2'000 take offs (and to date landings), I feel that my opinion is probably not too unqualified to post here.
I believe there should be a clear statement that a SLF can give to the crew so that they know to "not worry about you" in case of an emergency - If anybody knows of one, pls. inform.
As a P.S.: my daughters training instructions around a dozen years ago - when she first became a flight attendant - were absolutely clear - the instructor indicated clearly on day 2 or 3 - your job is to risk your life for your passengers if the worst happens. The results of that were interesting - we discussed that at length the day she come home from that session - and she agreed with the clarity and consequences of her decision. That instructor had a 25% drop out rate consistently at the end of a first week of training and almost zero thereafter. When my daughter in turn started training others - she chose the same truthful and blunt tactics.
Interestingly enough that instructors graduates were what made a very solid and successful backbone of a really great team, who remain dedicated through thick and thin.:ok:

AN2 Driver
17th Mar 2006, 13:11
Anyone out there who knows what the actual incident was? I guess that might put a lot of things into perspective.

Ancient Mariner
17th Mar 2006, 14:22
As a frequent traveller and aviation interested person I've been lurking here for a while without bothering to register. This thread made me do it and based on the previous posters view this will probably be my first.....and last posting.
As a long time sailor in the merchant navy with more than one fire, grounding, emergency behind me I find the views here more than appalling. My job as a sailor (chief engineer) was to ensure that everyone, everyone regardless of ability was saved, or at least you tried your very best. To read that professional air crew would disregard a person because "he/she should know better" or "he/ she didn't tell the truth" is f*****g amazing. You're there for a reason and if you think "coffee, tea or me" is it.....please reconsider.

17th Mar 2006, 17:20
The point is there are people around who are better at this sort of thing than we are. they have more training, they are fitter, stronger, have the right equipment and want to get on and do their job. They are called the fire service. And during an evacuation they will not get on the aircraft while people are getting off it. They have to be sure that everyone who is going to get off under their own steam has done.
I have to say trying to drag a 13 or 14st dead weight out of an airline seat is not something that most cabin crew are up to, or myself for that matter, and trying to do it while wearing a smoke-hood is not something I would advocate to the crew. Leave the rescuing to the professionals, theres a much better chance the rescue will be successful then.

Capt Pit Bull
17th Mar 2006, 17:52

With all due respect to your experience, on a ship (in many scenarios at least), you are effectively isolated, and therefore the only hope for your passengers. Help is likely to be hours away. Even if your emergency happened abeam a lifeboat or SAR helo station you'd be lucky to get help inside 10-20 minutes surely.

In an aviation evacuation, help is seconds away, and the time till serious fire kicks in is likely to be seconds away as well. You're not comparing like for like.

Fit pax off + aircrew off + firecrew on + 1 invalid off

will on balance be much less than

Fit pax off + aircrew attempt lift off, become casualties + firecrew on + lift off invalid + lift off several aircrew casualties.

With imminent fire / explosion likely, seconds count.


17th Mar 2006, 18:04
Having just got the link to the press article, read it and discounted journospeak, if it really took 30 mins to get the firemen onto the plane to take the wheelchair PAX out....

1) Lousy communications between cabin crew and rescue teams

2) Poor ground management - you always count noses in emergencies

:mad: :E :* :sad:


17th Mar 2006, 18:15
Capt Pit Bull. With your statement "Help is only seconds away" you are talking demonstrable nonsense. Ask the passengers on board the Britannia 757 at Girona how long it took the emergency services to arrive. If the aircraft is a blazing wreck then there's not much else to be done. In other circumstances you have a clear responsibility to your passengers for their safety. All of them, disabled or otherwise. If there are firemen waiting then by all means leave it to them, but if not, it is the responsibility of the crew to do all that they can.

17th Mar 2006, 18:25
is the responsibility of the crew to do all that they can.

This point has never been denied - you are correct in saying that aircrew must do all they can to help in the event of an evac. Of course thats what we are there for. HOWEVER there is no point putting yourself in a position where you too are likely to become a casualty (read: Liability) to the evac process as a whole. Don't forget there is more to it than just getting pax off a/c - there is initial (and potenitally ongoing, depending on where you are) ground management, first aid etc etc.

To read that professional air crew would disregard a person because "he/she should know better" or "he/ she didn't tell the truth" is f*****g amazing. You're there for a reason and if you think "coffee, tea or me" is it.....please reconsider.

I am not sure if that quote is directed at me or not, however I will go ahead and answer it anyway. (Will happily retract if required :) )

The way you describe it is not the way crew feel, nor is it what has been said or implied on this forum. What HAS been said is that pax who LIE to airlines by saying they can move themselves unaided in the event of an emergency are unneccessarily endangering themselves and others - aircrew, fire/rescue services etc. This is not to say that they are precluded from travel, however a lot of airlines will request/require an able bodied carer to be travelling with the person who is unable to move themselves.

On a side note, there is always the chance in an evac that an able bodied passenger will effectively become a quadraplegic - fear can be a very disabling emotion, causing positive or negative panic - negative panic can result in a person sitting in their seat, frozen with fear, completely oblivious to the current/pending danger. Crew again will do everything they can to ensure EVERY passenger is out of the a/c before they themselves evacuate - however our training states over and over that if at any time your life is in danger then you EVACUATE.

Happy Flying All :ok:

Capt Pit Bull
17th Mar 2006, 20:23

Capt Pit Bull. With your statement "Help is only seconds away" you are talking demonstrable nonsense.

Strong words. In the context of the firecrew waiting outside, I stand by my statement.

I can only speak from my own experience where the firecrew have been in formation with the aircraft within seconds of coming to a halt on the RET.

The point of my post was to contrast that kind of scenario to a ship at sea, where clearly the crew are completely on their own.

Clearly if you know the firecrew are NOT present, the situation is different and one would make a snap decision as to a course of action. But having done done many a session in the smoke chamber, I am UTTERLY CONVINCED of the futility of stumbling around a smoke filled cabin when trained equipped personnel are available. You take a lungful of smoke, you're going down, THATS IT.

Stop thinking about being a hero and recognise the reality. If you go back into the flames you will almost certainly die, to no effect whatsoever. I don't mind taking a calculated risk, but throwing my life away? No thanks.


18th Mar 2006, 18:51
Someone mentioned the right thing todo.

There is the right thing and there is the honourable thing to do. If as a captain I was aware of a disabled passenger left on the Aircraft I would most certainly risk my own safety in order to try and help them. No amount of theory is going to quash my instincts as a human.

18th Mar 2006, 20:03

19th Mar 2006, 14:52
Someone mentioned the right thing todo.
There is the right thing and there is the honourable thing to do. If as a captain I was aware of a disabled passenger left on the Aircraft I would most certainly risk my own safety in order to try and help them. No amount of theory is going to quash my instincts as a human.

Good for you! Ill tell your wife and kids that you died a hero, Even though the fire service were only seconds away. And you held up the rest of the evacuation by collapsing in the middle of the floor and your actions directly contributed to the deaths of several other passangers who now couldnt make it to the exit you had blocked. Well Done!

Non Normal
20th Mar 2006, 08:07
To read that professional air crew would disregard a person because "he/she should know better" or "he/ she didn't tell the truth" is f*****g amazing. You're there for a reason and if you think "coffee, tea or me" is it.....please reconsider.

I wouldn't say anyone callously said disregard them as such, or I certainly hope not.

Apart from that, to me, it's the question of risking your own safety and potentially safety of others to rescue someone else. If the risk is calmly examined, and the risk to you is reasonable and the chance of success is high, then I think it could well be a reasonable course of action to try and rescue them. However, by trying to rescue someone that you almost certainly can't, and the risk of your getting adversely affected is also high, then the decision may not be a reasonable one. By attempting a rescue that is likely to be futile, one would risk causing more work to the professional rescuers, and potentially put the professional rescuer at more risk because they may need to spend more time in a hazardous situation to rescue you.

With regards to the passenger in question on Ryanair, if it took 4 firefighters to get him out, what chance would cabin crew members (who may not have been trained or have the strength) have of getting him out, even if there were a few of them to work together? Even if there was no immediate risk of injury to them through the actual incident, they would risk causing themselves serious injury by lifting a heavy passenger.

I personally do not think that rescuing passengers is always so black and white to say one is obliged to do so at any risk to yourself.

It sounds wonderfully idealistic and heroic to say one would rescue passengers regardless of one's own safety, and it is admirable, but by doing so, it can also have a severe adverse consequence on others too, and I feel potential consequences of your actions always need to be considered.

Crazy Fists
20th Mar 2006, 09:58
Quite agree Jonty,
My company neither pay me enough, or train me, to risk my ass to assist a wheelchair passenger out of a burning wreck. I will have probably gone out the flight deck windows during the moment of evacuation (flight deck door being blocked by the evacuating passengers). So for any flight crew to re-enter the aircraft would mean trying to get back up the slide (somehow). Not really going to happen is it? In most cases cabin crew would not be able to lift the passenger to safety, and in some cases would not even try. A 20 stone man is a bit much for anyone to lift (unless you are a welsh weightlifter). Human instict would be to get out and leave it to someone else, such as the fire crew, if they happen to be there in time. Otherwise they become what is known as 'Fire fodder' (horrible expression, I know).
It really is case for the 'greatest good for the greatest number'.

20th Mar 2006, 11:12
Ancient Mariner.

As an ex marine engineer myself you are not comparing like with like. When an aircraft is evacuated with smoke and possibly fire everything possible is done to help the passengers but very quickly we end up in the situation well known in nautical terms as "Every man for himself". Are you sure you would climb down into a burning hold in a futile attempt to save someone after that order had been given.

20th Mar 2006, 13:49
Having just got the link to the press article, read it and discounted journospeak, if it really took 30 mins to get the firemen onto the plane to take the wheelchair PAX out....
1) Lousy communications between cabin crew and rescue teams
2) Poor ground management - you always count noses in emergencies
:mad: :E :* :sad:

I would suspect that it was established in far less than 30 minutes that there was no danger of fire and it was decided to arrange a safe exit for said passenger rather than hurl him down an escape slide. Hence the 30 minute wait would have been for a lift rather than for a firefighter.

Of course I could be wrong.

20th Mar 2006, 20:18
Perhaps I might be uniquely qualified (just for once) to comment on this subject.

I have been flying actively for almost 50 years and, due to a horrendous accident whilst playing with friends some five years ago, my 17 year old son is seriously disabled.

He is fully cogniscant of the fact when we go on holiday that, in the event of an evacuation, we are going to be sucking the hind tit.

Ladies and gentlemen, that is a fact of life. When evacuating a blazing aircraft there is no such thing as political correctness. If my son and I blocked a slide even for 30 seconds then hundreds could die and that would be an awful result.

As I have said to many of you out there who know me, I don't mind dying but I would sure as hell hate to lose my licence.

When I am in the back of your aircraft with my son I am in absolutely no doubt that we sit tight until everyone else gets out and then we shall take our chance.