A Lift for Thrill-Seekers

Savaria wheelchair lift

Traveling a couple of floors may not be quite what adventurous thrill-seekers have in mind.  So when SkyVenture, an indoor free fall flying experience called Savaria for a wheelchair lift, we were a bit concerned that for the first time one of our best-selling products could fall a little short. Of course our lift offers a smooth ride, versatile design and it’s easy to use, but in this environment, how would it be perceived? Well, it’s true our Savaria V-1504 was not SkyVenture’s main attraction but it does come in at a close second. Their facility is the first in Canada to offer a simulated sky diving experience in a 45ft. high wind tunnel.  And if you walk through the front doors of this stunning Montreal building, our glass enclosed Savaria lift might just take your breath away. Situated in the center of the open concept lobby, the lift is functionally and artistically placed in the center of a circular staircase allowing all of SkyVenture’s visitors to access their own experience of a lifetime.

SkyVenture wanted everyone to have access to this adventure and made accommodating those with disabilities a main priority. Savaria was proud to help facilitate this objective.

If you’re planning a trip to Montreal, put SkyVenture on your list to experience… our V-1504 of course 😉

Visit the SkyVenture web site

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Crashing your way to a pass

The big auto manufacturers must do it.  But did you also know that specialists like Savaria do it too? To ensure your personal safety, Savaria crash tests every wheelchair van conversion design under a strict pass/fail system conducted by independent research firms such as MGA in Wisconsin.  Because the original van is modified structurally, successful crash testing proves the integrity of the vehicle is maintained after the conversion process.   Recently, Pierre Cote, Engineering VP for the Savaria Vehicle Group talked about his experience with crash testing.

“Even though you know you’re there to watch a brand new vehicle hit a wall at 50km/h, you never get used to it.  It’s an unsettling scene of flying debris and abrupt noise. Watching the crash of our newest rear entry wheelchair van design is bittersweet.  You see all your team’s R & D work, your months of modelling and hours of decision making crumpled on purpose.  But when the crash is over, it’s like a sunrise.  You see how amazingly well your design was built.  The expected things happen as airbags deploy and your dummy passengers come to rest safely in their seats.  You breathe a sigh of relief.  But it’s not about luck.  My team’s job is to do their homework so even though we’re all a little anxious at the test facility, our “pass” results are really a celebration of our hard work.”

“Manufacturers like us should only sell successfully crash tested vehicles.  As a company, we made a decision that regardless of cost, our position is simple.  We choose safety.”

The Savaria rear entry Dodge Caravan 2011 design is available through authorized Savaria dealers.

Watch the slow motion crash test below:


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Changing the perspective on mobility


Mobility equipment comes in various shapes, sizes and forms but none of  the typical forms describe what one Baltimore school has installed.  Dedicated to caring for, and educating children with special needs, this Maryland school added inclined platform lifts (pictured left) to improve student accessibility.   There was just one small problem. When the safety arms of the machine came down, some children were scared by the new contraption. To take the fear factor out of the equation, a creative teacher came up with a crafty plan. The lifts would be painted  to resemble happy caterpillars that transported wheelchair-bound children over the obstacle of the stairs.  The previously frightening safety arms became the adorable caterpillar arms and the kids resisted no more.

Dennis Bartnik, President and CEO of 25 year experienced American Pride Remodeling, explained that the  installation of the three Savaria ES-125 inclined platform lifts were originally planned to be hand painted, but after more consideration, it was decided that decals would make for a simpler process with the same high impact results.   The installation and graphics were completed over several weeks and the happy caterpillar continues to stretch out his arms for its willing passengers.  Just goes to show you that accessibility need not be beige!


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