WAMU 88.5 : News

Smithsonian Being Sued For Restricting Access To Flight Simulator

Play associated audio
Max Gold at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum last summer.
Jacob Fenston
Max Gold at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum last summer.

Max Gold has been a fan of aviation since he was just five or six years old. It started because he spent so much time on planes.

"I had doctors all around the U.S.," Gold says.

He was flying all over the country to treat the rare vascular condition that confined him to a wheel chair.

"The amount of time I spent on a plane it just all caught up to me," he says.

So when he and his brother, Jake, visited Washington last summer, their first stop had to be the Air and Space Museum. But when Jake started to lift him into the flight simulator there, Max says a supervisor started running toward them, yelling to put him down.

Jake says this has never happened before.

"Normally places are happy to help, and they're happy to make accommodations," Jake says.

By not making an accommodation, the brothers allege the Smithsonian broke federal and D.C. law.

"A lot of times what it is, is that people's initial instinct is to say no, we can't do it. And that really is unfortunate," says Jake.

Robert Dinerstein, director of American University's Disability Rights Law Clinic, says there may have been a simple solution for museum officials.

"For example, they could have asked the Golds to sign a waiver, saying we release you from any liability from my lifting my brother into the cockpit," Dinerstein says.

A Smithsonian spokesperson says the institution is committed to accessibility, and is looking into the allegations.

NPR

Not My Job: NASA's Charles Bolden Gets Quizzed On 'Charles In Charge'

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden flew four times on the space shuttle and was the first voice to be broadcast from Mars. We'll ask him three questions about the remarkable career of actor Scott Baio.
NPR

Scraped, Splattered — But Silent No More. Finally, The Dinner Plate Gets Its Say

Instagram is the Internet's semi-obsessive, borderline-creepy love letter to food. But behind every great meal is a plate doing a pretty-OK job. So a comedian made an Instagram to celebrate plates.
NPR

RECAP: A Round-Up Of Can't-Miss Stories From The RNC

Here are some stories from the NPR Politics team to catch you up on the news from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week.
NPR

Making The Cloud Green: Tech Firms Push For Renewable Energy Sources

Few people can demand what kind of electricity they get. But Microsoft and Facebook, which operate huge, power-hungry data centers, are trying to green up the electricity grid with their buying power.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.