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Questions About Wheelchairs/Components in General, and Specifically for TiLite Aero Z

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    Originally posted by elarson View Post
    . . . You are very wise to make sure you understand everything you are getting, and take a strong role in the process. I do not think it is smart to just review the order on the telephone. I think it is reasonable to expect more explanation than you have received and be able to ask questions and discuss options. That is the whole point in having a dealer, and what they receive a 30-40% commission for. We also require that the dealer sends us the filled in PDF order form to approve in advance submitting it. It will save you a lot of time and headaches if there are mistakes. . . .
    Originally posted by Donno View Post
    Don't agree to anything {orally} with any DME, and get everything in writing.
    Huge DITTO !!! CCC is full of horror stories about DMEs failures. Protect yourself. Don't get stuck for five+ years with a chair configuration you don't want - it happens far too often.

    Also be prepared to decline acceptance of a misconfigured chair once it arrives. After you sign for it, good luck getting anything changed. (If you follow the other advice, your chair should arrive configured like you ordered - especially a Tilite chair.)
    Last edited by chasmengr; 10 Aug 2014, 7:25 PM.
    TiLite TR3
    Dual-Axle TR3 with RioMobility DragonFly
    I am a person with mild/moderate hexaparesis (impaired movement in 4 limbs, head, & torso) caused by RRMS w/TM C7&T7 incomplete.

    "I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but what I don't think you realize is that what you heard is not what I meant."


      Originally posted by ~Lin View Post
      tell them to go fuck themselves literally or figuratively.
      From what you wrote about this DME...very sage advice.

      I'll add that at T11'ish...why bother with the Jay3 back anyway? More doodads and bracketry, weight, and PITA I think. The 'tension adjustable by straps' back from TiLite is light, slim, adjustable however you want it, and using one for the past 10 or so years as a T6, seems pretty good to me. I do have rods from T2 to T12 though, so not sure how that might work with someone that still has a spine. I have 0 trunk control, and don't find myself falling over with this back still.


        I'm about to reply to each of you individually -- because I'm a gentleman, by dammit -- but I wanted to post this first. Thank you very much to everyone who has posted. I'm getting a lot of great information that I have no doubt prove invaluable.

        I was feeling a bit sketchy about this process before, and am even more so now. I have a feeling I know what all of you will say, but I'll post how things have gone up until this point and, if you want to, of course, you can let me know if it matches up with some of your horror stories.

        On June 24th (if memory serves me correct), I had an appointment at a hospital's Center for Assistive Technologies lab (I don't want to badmouth them publicly by name until I see how this plays out). After meeting with MPT/APT (who just so happens to be the Director of the program, apparently) and giving her my history and information, she informed me that they had a particular DME present that day, and that if I had no allegiances with any particular dealers, I could go through them and look at some things.

        We went to another room where they had 4 or 5 chairs (TiLite, Quickie, etc). The MPT pointed out that she thought the Aero Z would suit me well. It was also the one I liked the looks of the most, so I tried it out. Compared to my current chair, it was a dream come true. That being said, I have only ever sat in 3 chairs, so there's that. Anyway, I said that I liked it, and we began discussing some of the components I would need/might like, such as the cushion I was currently sitting on (Zoid), the brakes, etc.

        As we were leaving, she asked the DME if he could have me in the chair by September. Of course he said yes, but I knew that was bullshit. I smiled and went along with it, though. He said he'd be in contact to schedule a home visit. To my surprise, said home visit took place relatively shortly thereafter, on July 9th. He came, made sure the chair would fit in the house (even though we knew it would); and this is where I started to worry.

        When recapping what we had gone over during the previous appointment, he had a couple of things written down incorrectly. Then, when he said it was time to take measurements, he only took maybe 4 or 5. When he was leaving, he said he'd be in touch in about two weeks; he'd call and we'd go over the order form.

        After 3 weeks or so went by, I decided to email the MPT. During that time, I had been researching things online. It dawned on me that they were demoing a chair with "all the bells and whistles" -- upgrades that insurances probably wouldn't approve. I emailed the MPT and told her my concerns, that I wasn't comfortable with ordering a chair that was different from the one I tried, components and all. She emailed me back and told me to trust them.

        We wrote back forth 4 or 5 times (I can copy and paste the emails if anyone is curious), and I kept getting that response. I would ask many questions and get no answers. I received a copy of the report they wrote. Things were different. I brought that to their attention, along with my questions (again). She answered one or two of those questions, then again told me to trust them.

        She just kept telling me to trust them, and that if I don't like the chair I don't have to accept it. She didn't seem to understand that I was trying to get these concerns addressed before ordering, as not to waste anyone's time and effort. Or, just didn't care.

        I emailed the DME with the same concern -- that I wasn't comfortable ordering a chair that differed from the one I tried. As you can see, I write very detailed messages, haha. I asked many questions. What I got in return was a list of things that are considered upgrades and would probably have some out of pocket costs, but no answers to my questions.

        Eventually, the DME's assistant called me, leaving a message that she had received my emails from the MPT (she must have forwarded them, but which ones I do know not) and that she wanted to go over the report and order form with me. I called her back 10 minutes later, around 11:30'ish AM. No answer. No call back that day. No call back the next morning, so I call. Leave a message. All-in-all, I called and left two messages a day last week and never got a call back.

        So, here we are.


          Oh, here is something that at face value seems very small, but is actually a pretty good representation of how this has gone so far.

          During our conversation, the MPT started talking about how much she hates push handles. She said she doesn't like how they look, she thinks it invites people to come and push you without asking, etc. Mind you she brought this up before I even gave my opinion. I agree with her, though, and she was very happy about that. She said, "So no push handles, yes!" and laughed.

          Fast forward to me receiving the report, and push hands are listed on it. When I wrote her to say (again) that I was concerned about things being changed and not receiving the chair I actually demo'ed, she skipped over the big picture and focused on just the push handles. But, instead of saying it was a mistake, which is what I was expecting, she told me that push handles might be helpful, and that if I don't want to use them, I can just turn them down.

          So, she somehow went from being very against them to thinking I should have them, even though I specifically reiterated that I don't want them, and then tried to talk me into it.

          And I know I don't have to have push handles; the point being that they completely changed something without even asking.

          Edit: I would also like to add that while I don't think I am, I am totally open to the idea that I could be wrong about all of this. I've never really done this, so I could be understanding something incorrectly. Or, it could just be a misunderstanding, or even just a very small mistake that is easily fixable.

          Or, I was thinking that maybe it's some type of method they use to kind of pull the wool over my insurance company's eyes. I'm all for that, haha.

          But, if it is either of those things, just tell me. I'm clearly engaged and can see that something is going on, so just explain it to me and I'll leave you the hell alone, haha.
          Last edited by User Name; 10 Aug 2014, 9:35 PM.


            Originally posted by randomryan007 View Post
            To your questions

            1. I don't have and aero z.. I have an Icon A1
            2. Yes anti tippers are removable. Yes some of the side guards are remove able. Handles are remove able. Fold down are great.
            3. Yes side guards are helpful. They help keep your clothes clean.
            4. Yes matte black looks good
            5. No foot rest color doesn't matter to me
            6. Soft fools are awesome
            7. Spinergy spot hVe a better chance of getting approved. I like the silver hub.
            8. No I have never tried twin star
            9. I have a varilite Icon back and love it
            10. Varilite zooid is a great cushion. Stimulate is also a great cushion.
            11. I like scissor locks. But d's locks are better
            12. Shawlbe marathons are great tires
            13. Yes it's a flat abs cover. I use skateboard grip tape.
   it don't hurt the chair for people to help with the rid giddier bar.
            Thanks for your input, Mr. Bond. I really do appreciate it.

            I had never seen or heard of the Zoid before, and when they showed me how it works, I was very impressed. It's awesome they were able to invent something like that.

            I keep hearing about these Marathon tires. They aren't available on the TiLite order form, but I'll have to look into them. Thanks again.


              Originally posted by ~Lin View Post
              I'm just going to reply to a couple of your things real quick because I have a headache, but didn't want to not reply at all.

              For all black tires you might be interested in the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. They're really nice, though do add a bit of weight which I didn't like. I have a Jay3 back and love it, but it seems odd you DONT need much support and they are recommending one, I need a lot of back support and custom support so I have a mid thoracic Jay3 with lumbar support block velcroed in. If you're willing to pay, you can get black spoke spinergy LX with black hubs but black spokes usually come with silver hubs so you have to pay an upcharge for the special order. I don't have any silver on my chair, and would have been annoyed with black spokes and silver hubs but thats just me. My chair is blue, and then most everything else is black except my soft rolls casters have yellow tires with the black hubs.

              I would put more consideration into cushion choice and try to sit on the cushions first. But I'm on my first wheelchair and you've had one for 8 years, so you probably have it worked out what cushions work for you? So, what have you been sitting on and do you like it? I've had a lot of issues with cushions myself.

              Of the items that you asked about being removable, I believe everything but possibly the push handles can be completely removed. With push handles it depends on what kind you get, one option is integrated into the frame and so not removable. Another option is fold down push handles, which I have on my chair and really like them. But I plan on getting no push handles on my next chair, and if you don't want them I'd push the issue and demand no push handles. Its YOUR chair, YOU have to live with it and if they said "trust me" again when you try to get things the way you want, tell them to go fuck themselves literally or figuratively and get what YOU want.

              For flat footrest you should be able to get either the one with the abs cover, or the angle adjustable one. The flip up option also has a flat solid footrest as opposed to an open tube frame.
              Thanks for the reply, ~Lin. I really appreciate it.

              I thought the thing about the backrest was odd, too. When I was demoing the chair, they through a Jay 3 on it just to see how it felt with a solid back, but kept saying I would have a very short back (basically just covering the small of my back). Then, at some point, the J3 ended up on the report.

              I'll have to look into the black hubs on the Spinergy LX's. That option isn't shown on the TiLite order form, which is what I've been going by for all of my research.

              As for my cushion, I've just been sitting on a cheap ass (pun unintended) Jay Basic cushion. It's not comfortable. Nothing about my current chair is comfortable in the least.

              Don't you worry, I am 100% willing to tell them to shove it up their asses if they don't get me what I want, and at this point, I'd have to say I'm ready.

              Thanks again. I hope your headache has gone away.


                Originally posted by ala View Post
                1. Don't have the Aero Z. Have tried it and it seems like a really well put-together chair. I have owned aluminum chairs and have 2 titanium ones now. Titanium is more expensive, but for me it's worth it. I keep my chairs for 10-15 years. Aluminum dents, paint chips and scratches too easily for me. Titanium is very hard and durable, and it doesn't fatigue as easily as aluminum. Plus, if you do scratch it, it can be buffed to a beautiful shine.

                I gave up on armrests, push handles, and anti-tip bars long ago. Paraplegics don't need them. They add extra weight and cost. Damn armrests always break off for me. Both removable and folding side guards can be permanently and completely removed if you want to. Just unbolt the mounting clamps from the frame. But I like side/clothing guards. They save my pants and shirts. I keep my chairs as narrow as possible.

                The chair will look better with side guards because you will look better with them holding you and your clothing in away from your wheels.

                N/A for me.

                I never really considered it important to have it painted this way. With titanium you can get titanium, footrest, backrest, camber bar, axles, front fork shafts, and pushrims.

                I have this size LiteSpeed, soft roll, Slipstream forks on one of my chairs. I think they lose a little in responsiveness over std forks with hard rolls, but they let me glide over transitions and rough patches.

                I have TiLite Shadow wheels, standard wires, and Spinergy LX. The LXs look really cool (So do Round Betty Dinos). Other than looks, I don't notice any performance difference. I think tires affect performance more.

                N/A for me.

                N/A again. I always use cloth.

                Comfort my ass! Your cushion is about survival. Surviving pressure related sores, for one thing. It's a very personal, important choice because everyone's rear-end forms a different pressure map. That's why people get pressure mapping done.

                I used to always get scissors. I liked that my wheel locks were tucked away under my chair. Now, I don't want them. I like the TiLite standard composite locks. There so easy to lock and unlock. I use them all the time to keep from rolling, when working on the car, sweeping the floor, transferring, pushing stuff, pulling stuff, kissing my get the picture. Just about everything causes an efficient chair to roll and turn--even the wind. If you don't like the way the handle/levers stick up, mount them upside-down so the levers point down and out of the way; they're still easier than scissors.

                I like solid tires like Shox (no flats). They come in several colors. But Schwable Marathons are king when it comes to pneumatics. 24" wheels are good. I have several pairs. But, depending on your size and fit, don't count out 25". Bigger wheels=faster push. Smaller=more power. I have 26" on one of my chairs and I can fly with them.

                [This is fun.] The ABS cover and adjustable angle footrests are both "flat."

                They all have rigidizer bars. The 4" option is for a deeper bar so you have more room for fancy backrests.

                Double and triple check everything yourself. Ask questions. And request a CAD drawing.
                Thanks ala, I appreciate it.

                Yeah, the LX's for me are solely for aesthetic purposes, but since I have to use this thing literally all day long every day, I want it to look how I want it to look, you know? Especially since I really had no say whatsoever in my first chair.

                I've never had any issues with pressure sores, but I completely understand what you're saying. I'll have to see if I can find where I could have a pressure map done around here. They didn't mention it at all during my appointment.

                I'll have to look into the sizes of rear wheels, too. I am 6'4'', so I'm a relatively big guy.

                The CAD thing is something I never even knew existed. Thank you!


                  Originally posted by nonoise View Post
                  "...and I have already "caught" the MPT/APT and DME changing things in their report/order plan without first consulting me..."
                  TiLite has a unique method to guarantee you get what you agree to. All you have to do is ask for the CAD computer aided drawing of your submittable. They will want you to sign off on it, don't let the DME sign on off for you.

                  Are you being seen by a seating specialist? It's pretty important to get this thing spec'd correct.

                  As for add ons, if in doubt about immediate need, ask here if its an item that is easily found on the open market as anything purchased through your DME will be priced as if insurance is picking up the tab.
                  Thanks, nonoise. I appreciate it.

                  Yeah, there is no way in Hell I would let someone sign something I hadn't seen. I had no idea you could get the CAD drawing, so thank you.

                  I am not being seen by a seating specialist. They didn't even mentioned it.


                    Originally posted by rybread View Post
                    I don't have that chair but I'm on my third manual chair as a quad. I'm using a quickie Q7 at the moment because that's what my insurance would cover, it's very adjustable and really light. Getting the right cushion is extremely important. I've had several sores because of problems with my cushions. I would look for someone to do a seating evaluation with pressure mapping. Pressure mapping shows where the most pressure is on your bottom and helps you determine which is the best cushion. They can also get the right sizes on the wheelchair as far as width, depth, seatback height, seat to food rest length, front and rear seat heights from the ground and any other measurement you can think of. This is important, DEMO DEMO DEMO DEMO! Try out what you're interested in before you put all that money into it. Through insurance you can only get a new chair once every five years I think. Hopefully this will help you grow in the right direction
                    Thanks, rybread. I appreciate the reply.

                    I can't seem to find a place anywhere near hear that does pressure mapping and/or has a wide variety of chairs to try out. I'll have to keep looking.

                    P.S. - Your milkshake brings all the chairs to the yard...

                    Thanks for the example.
                    Last edited by User Name; 10 Aug 2014, 8:29 PM.


                      Originally posted by Crappler View Post
                      If you don't want push handles, don't get them. DO NOT let them talk you into it.

                      Good luck.
                      Thanks, Crappler. Your handle sounds as though it comes from royal lineage.

                      And I'm 100% not getting them, haha. I was just using that as an example of how things have gone so far.


                        Originally posted by elarson View Post

                        I'm not sure what your name is, because for some reason it is not appearing. I'm glad to see that you are getting a lot of good input.

                        You are very wise to make sure you understand everything you are getting, and take a strong role in the process. I do not think it is smart to just review the order on the telephone. I think it is reasonable to expect more explanation than you have received and be able to ask questions and discuss options. That is the whole point in having a dealer, and what they receive a 30-40% commission for. We also require that the dealer sends us the filled in PDF order form to approve in advance submitting it. It will save you a lot of time and headaches if there are mistakes. Our dealer was using an older order form and it really screwed things up. Also, as others have mentioned, make sure that you get a CAD drawing that only you sign off on.

                        I'm the partner of someone who uses a TiLite ZRA and 2GX wheelchairs and is not SCI. The ZRA is similar to the Aero Z, but is titanium as opposed to aluminium. Because of that, my comments will be more just general in relation to the Aero Z order form (dated July 1, 2014).

                        1. AZFS1 TiLite Aero Z is the core aluminium frame. AZFS4 Titanium Frame is an upcharge for a titanium frame instead of aluminium. If you are wanting titanium, it is cheaper to go with a ZRA than pay the upcharge on an Aero Z, assuming your funding source will allow that. What your DME said does not make sense to me. They could be referring to A2P1 SuperLite Edition, which is for titanium and carbon fiber options, as opposed to aluminium options, but the frame would still be aluminium. They could also be referring to the A2RFR1 Reinforced Frame, but again, that would be aluminium and not titanium.

                        2. It's really expensive to add these things on later, and perhaps that is why they are being recommended. Push handles handles can be removed. My husband needs push handles, so we got the fold-downs which are really nice, and mostly out of the way if not needed. The anti-tipper clamp/recpetacle and the side guard clamps can also be completely removed. If you want to know what the actual parts are, go to the e-store You will want to look for parts and assemblies for the Aero Z Series 2 (not the Series 1).

                        3. Regardless of the type of chair, I think side guards are a personal choice. They certainly help protect clothes, but if you really don't need them, they are not necessary.

                        4. 5. We go with satin titanium so it can be buffed out and black for everything when there is a choice. I know that with the Black Editions you can get a Black Lava Footrest, but that edition is not available for the Aero Z. You may also want to check the Designs Unlimited Catalog which shows DU100087 Mixed Color Anodized Parts on page 56, which I "think" means you could have the footrest painted as well.

                        6. We have Frog Legs Epic Aluminum Soft Rolls because the Litespeeds were not available when we got the chair. I've heard they are quite similar and people seem to like them. We really like the wider soft rolls for vibration dampening.

                        7. We also were rejected for Spinergy LX's. We order the standard TiLite Shadow wheels and ordered the Spinergy LX's online separately and swapped them out. It's nice to have the Shadow's as backups. We really like them, and I do think they help with vibration dampening. My husband really wanted all black, so we ordered the hub in black to match the black spokes. I don't know why Spinergy has an upcharge for that ($80 I think) because the black hub is standard for other colors of spokes.

                        8. No experience, but if you search the forum you will see some posts. I know that ResonantEcho has them, and I think he likes them.

                        9. No experience. If you are getting a solid seat back like the J3, you might want to consider the A2SB19 4" Deep Backrest Rigidizer Bar. My husband has and ADI carbon fiber seat back and base, and the 4" is needed to maintain his seat depth and also to be able to fold down the back flat.

                        10. I go with what others have said about this topic. It is way more than just an issue of comfort.

                        11. No experience. My huband uses D's Locks (hub locks) on both chairs with Spinergy LX's.

                        12. We have solid inserts on one chair and they are horribly heavy and also make for a bumpy ride. We have Schwalbe Marathon Plus Evolution on the other, and prefer them. They don't leave skid marks and have good puncture protection, but as mentioned by someone, they are also a bit heavy, but still not as bad as solids by any means. I would do the Marathons instead of solids.

                        13. No experience.

                        14. Many people use the Backrest Rigidizer Bar if push handles are mostly not needed, but then you may want to consider A2SB13 Custom Height Backrest Rigidizer Bar to place it higher up on the back frame.

                        15. For anything that you are paying out-of-pocket for, consider ordering the standard (STD) and no charge options (NCO) from your dealer and placing a second order online. We did that with almost everything on the chair and saved a lot of money, and have backups for many parts. For things like the J3 back, that are not available through TiLite, you can still order the A2BUP2 Velcro Adjustable back upholstery, and just note on the order form that you do not want it installed.
                        Thank you for your reply, elarson. I really appreciate it. Oh, by the way, my user name is User Name. I'm an ass.

                        The PDF of the completed order form is a great idea! Really, thanks for that.

                        The Aero Z order form from July 1st is the same one I've been using. I don't know enough to have an opinion on Titanium vs Aluminum. I just wanted to make sure one of them wasn't awful, or much better than the other.

                        I saw that Anodized option, too. It says that it covers the "footrest clamp," so who knows. If I ever get an answer, I'll let you know, haha.

                        Do you mind me asking where you were able to order the LX's with black spokes and black hubs? I tried looking around a bit but couldn't find anywhere that offered that option.


                          Originally posted by triumph View Post
                          I have a TiLite Aero Z but can't answer most of your issues. However I urge you to get a copy of the order that your dealer is submitting to TiLite, as well as the CAD drawing they routinely do. Then carefully go over them several times and question/change any errors. I learned this the hard way. One of my many chairs came in with push handles that I had specifically told the dealer I didn't want. I refused the chair and waited about 3 more weeks for another chair. Now, in my dotage, I ordered a chair WITH push handles as my family members are getting old too and I was wanting to help those who pull me up stairs to visit. Never again. When putting on clothing things get caught on the handles all the time and lots of shoulder pain to get things unstuck.

                          Also, a paralyzed dealer suggested I get my TiLite depth a bit longer as 'they make them kinda short'. I did add 2 inches to seat rail depth (not seat material) and this has worked out fine. More room to grasp front seat rail for transfers, weight shifts, and hanging a pouch for cell phone.
                          Thanks, triumph.

                          That's exactly what I'm trying to avoid, having the wrong chair delivered and then having to start all over again. I'm sorry that happened to you.


                            Originally posted by Donno View Post
                            Don't agree to anything with any DME, and get everything in writing.
                            Hey, Donno! That was said in my best faux-Italian accent, haha.

                            Thanks, I appreciate it. I haven't signed a thing as of yet, so I'm in the clear.

                            Though, come to think of it, maybe the "in writing" thing is why no one wants to answer my questions via email.


                              Originally posted by Andy View Post
                              From what you wrote about this DME...very sage advice.

                              I'll add that at T11'ish...why bother with the Jay3 back anyway? More doodads and bracketry, weight, and PITA I think. The 'tension adjustable by straps' back from TiLite is light, slim, adjustable however you want it, and using one for the past 10 or so years as a T6, seems pretty good to me. I do have rods from T2 to T12 though, so not sure how that might work with someone that still has a spine. I have 0 trunk control, and don't find myself falling over with this back still.
                              Thanks, Andy. I appreciate it.

                              I'm told I sit very well, but the strap back I have right now is amazingly uncomfortable. Part of me thinks a solid back would be much better, but then they did say that I just need a very small/short back, so I don't know.


                                Originally posted by chasmengr View Post
                                I love my AeroZ Series 1 (with a Jay3), which Tilite doesn't make anymore. The current AeroZ (once known as the Series 2) has different hardware, and in my opinion it's better - especially the fork-angle adjustments. It's late tonight, and I'm headed to bed, but I'll respond more tomorrow. I've posted on CCC a lot about my chair, so search my posts if you like.

                                Welcome to CCC

                                Oh, because I'm ignorant, can you stand and walk any? Do you have sensation in your legs and/or bottom? What terrain do you normally travel on? Inside, outside, paving, cobble stones? Are you subject to leg spasms? Do you have access to a seating clinic? What backrest and what size have you been using?
                                Thanks, chasmengr, for all your replies. I'm going to reply to them all here.

                                I cannot stand and walk at all, no. I can move my legs, but they definitely aren't that strong. Above the knees, I have great sensation. Below, it lessens the lower you go, but even on my feet I can tell when something touches them. I'm normally in blacktopped/cement areas. I'm not an outdoorsman, haha. Otherwise, I'm inside, on hardwood floors. I do have leg spasms.

                                As for a seating clinic, I have never heard of one being anywhere around here (I could go from Pittsburgh to Cleveland, if you happen to know of any). They didn't mention it at my appointment (which, if you look a few posts back, I chronicled in detail, if you're interested/wouldn't mind giving me your opinion on how it all went down).

                                My backrest right now is a full size adjustable strap one. It's ungodly uncomfortable. If I'm being honest, I absolutely hate it. It pushes my shoulders forward but doesn't support my lower back at all. Combine that with how the chair fits in general, and it feels like I'm sitting in a hole.

                                I will have no problem telling them the chair is wrong and I don't want it. I have yet to sign a thing, and won't until I know everything is correct. I'm going to do my best to see this through and hope it works out (because I really need a new chair), but I am leery.

                                Thanks for showing me those other two companies. I really like the looks of that ICON chair, but they don't sell them anywhere around me, and I'm not at all confident enough to handle the measurements myself.

                                Thank you very much for all your input.
                                Last edited by User Name; 10 Aug 2014, 9:51 PM.