To Velcro or Not to Velcro
The author mentioned that paragliders Velcro their ankles to the instructor
Author: You make a good point about the paragliding passenger in the photo — he did not use Velcro on his ankles. I imagine it depends on the type of harness and the flying conditions. My point is those of us with spinal cord injuries need to protect our legs because so many of us have osteoporosis within 10 years after injury and our leg bones break easily. — Bob Vogel
I had the great fortune of coming into contact with WHILL and its designers in their early days [“WHILL It or Whon’t It,” August 2015]. It was fun to give feedback from my end-user’s perspective as a C5-6 quad and have the designers actually listen and use the information. From its beginnings to now and into the future, WHILL, I trust, will continue expanding its footprint in the marketplace.
Molly Saccho Hale
Form Over Function
The WHILL looks nice, but is a real missed opportunity — 5.5 mph and a 10.6-mile range is lame. For all its “futuristic” packaging, it still uses lead batteries, like any other power chair, and this limits its utility drastically. A high voltage/ahr LiFePO4 unit would have saved about 40 pounds of weight, stretched the range to 20-30 miles and, with high power brushless motors, could achieve significantly higher speeds.
Its off-road credentials don’t look too impressive, either. The center of gravity seems to be too far forward of the rear wheels, so the front casters will tend to dig in on soft ground. The trick omni-directional casters will likely get clogged with debris on all but the driest tracks. …
As for the drive wheels themselves, they’re skinny and look like the usual hard, high-sidewall power chair wheels we all know and hate. Again, these will bog down on sand or soft ground.
The WHILL incorporates some good ideas, but its reliance on obsolete tech, its poor performance and range, and its “form over function” design means that it’s really only appealing to those who place style above everything else.
It looks amazing. I use an Invacare Pronto M-61 and might miss the ability to raise my seat 6 inches, but I live where there is rough terrain and the ability to go through grass, gravel and redwood would be great. Hope things don’t pop loose routinely. Just wish it had FDA approval so I could get a tax deduction. $10K is a lot of money! I like the looks, and that the seat moves forward so you can sit more easily at the table.
Nakoda and Kary Wright
As an animal lover (we have rescued/adopted cats), this is a moving, touching story [Outside Tracks: “Nakoda,” Aug. 2015] written by a very talented man I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Thank you, Kary, for sharing it. Nakoda was indeed a terrific friend.
Editor: Mark Boatman’s August story — “Kennedy Nganga: Painting So Others Can Live” — received tremendous feedback online. Here is a small sampling:
This man is an angel saving children and families in Africa. Please read his story and support him! Last year I sent him $50 and it went to an older disabled lady in the form of a goat, two chickens and staples. When Kennedy put up the photos of “Mama Sidi,” others asked why she doesn’t have a wheelchair, so they donated and she got a wheelchair. It truly was the best $50 I’ve ever spent! Kennedy and his family have adopted two girls with albinism and in Africa unspeakable things are done to children with albinism. I sent a small amount to help them go to school. This Christmas I plan to send more and hope to buy one of his beautiful art pieces. Please support Kennedy. You will enjoy his loving friendship.
Kennedy Nganga exemplifies the teaching “I am my brother’s keeper.” He is such a genuinely loving and compassionate soul. May God continue to grace his life and mission.
Shining Star in Global Community
Fine story about an exceptionally good man in our global disability community. Great piece, Mark Boatman. And thanks to NM for covering Kennedy Nganga.