Scene: A geek (me) and his executive team have just finished a round of power meetings in a foreign country. As they boarding the private, corporate jet, John Smith proclaims: “That food from dinner last night isn’t sitting well for me.” I turn to him and say, “That’s fine John. There is no need to fret because we just had that new take-off and landing toilet seat upgrade installed!” Phew, crisis averted.
This may sound like a skit straight off of Saturday Night Live (SNL) but, alas, it isn’t. It’s news. This month, a Brazilian aircraft manufacturer announced: “Embraer Certifies Belted Toilet for the Phenom 100 Jet.” The certifications were received from Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency (Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil, or ANAC) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA); U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval is expected in the coming weeks.
To receive certification, the belted toilet seat had to undergo a variety of tests. For example, it had to withstand an impact of 21 times the force of gravity and provide adequate safety for the passenger. Modifications to pass this test included adding a belt to the toilet seat and reinforcement of the aft bulkhead divider.
“This much-awaited product improvement comes to enhance the Phenom 100’s seating capacity, and is a result of listening to our customers,” Maurício Almeida, Embraer vice president, Programs – Executive Jets, said in a news release. “Embraer is committed to offering unique, customer-centered solutions, and continues to work hard to further improve this successful and highly popular airplane.”
Really!? I am astounded that people really requested a feature such as a take-off and landing toilet, and so much so that it has been built and certified for flight. In high school, we used to call shotgun for the front seat. What fun games will these executive passengers invent?
Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. Nonetheless, I am always excited to hear of new mil/aero innovations and companies proactively moving the industry forward. What will we think of next? This geek can’t wait to find out.
P.S., Please keep the seat in its downright and locked position during take-off and landing.