Textron Aviation Begins COVID-19 Face Shield, Face Mask Production

Credit: Textron Aviation

WICHITA—Textron Aviation has begun producing plastic face shields and cloth face masks for the medical community, first responders and, in light of recent Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Guidance, its own employees due to the coronavirus crisis, the company said. 

Workers in the Process Engineering department began manufacturing face shields using optically clear personal protective equipment film and the company’s large Gerber cutter. The project is in collaboration with Wichita State University and is in response to supply shortages because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company will produce thousands of shields, but the exact quantity has yet to be determined, a spokesperson said.

Textron Aviation is also sourcing fabric and sewing thousands of cloth face masks for employees and health professionals. Although they are not medical grade, the masks can be laundered and reused, freeing up the more effective N95 respirators and surgical masks for those who need them most, it said. The initial goal is to make 10,000 masks, but the company will adjust quantity depending on need, the spokesperson said.

To date, Textron Aviation has donated about 7,500 N95 face masks and other equipment to the medical community, it said. 

Molly McMillin

Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.