Sensory Airplane Experience at PIT International Airport

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh partnered with the Pittsburgh International Airport and American Airlines to design, fabricate and install an authentic, yet sensory-friendly airplane exhibit for adults and children with autism and other sensory-processing issues. This space uses the actual airplane parts, including seats, overhead bins and carpet, used in the passenger cabins of the American Airlines planes, so individuals can become acclimated to the process of boarding an airplane without ever leaving the ground.

CMP recreated the interior of the cabin by building a support structure, assembling the donated airplane parts and then replicating various details and accessories needed to create the most complete interior possible. Specific donated items included three rows of seats, overhead bins, the side wall panels with windows, carpeting and overhead light fixtures. Working closely with XYZ Custom, Inc, CMP created the jet bridge, cabin divider and threshold ramps.

One of the most important details were the photographs; three of the four walls have to scale images installed as wallpapers that complete the illusion of being on a large airplane.

Rachel Mastromarino