Powered-mobility specialist Alber makes few sales in aviation, but its lone industry-specific product, Scalamobilfly, proves to be a hit at the NBAA convention every year. "We bring units for demonstrations every year, and we usually end up selling them at the show," Alber USA business manager Bill Russell told AIN.
Scalamobilfly is a motorized wheelchair designed to navigate airstairs. The 89-pound, lead-acid-battery-powered unit climbs and descends using a motorized drive-chain system that rotates a small set of wheels around the larger main set. The operator balances the unit, and the drive system does the rest, navigating steps up to 9.8 inches high and at least 5.1 inches deep.
The unit breaks down into two parts for convenient stowage. The battery lasts about 300 steps on a single charge and is removable for easy recharging.
Germany-based Alber, which does most of its business in the rehabilitation industry, has sold some Scalamobilfly units to commercial aircraft operators, but Russell said the majority of the aviation sales come in business aviation.
"Most of the time, the customer either has a principal who needs assistance navigating airstairs, or they are charter operators that want to ensure they have the capability to offer mobility assistance," Russell said.