Textron Aviation Obtains $10M Permit To Rebuild After Explosion

Textron Plant 3 in Wichita after explosion.
Credit: Daniel McCoy

Textron Aviation has received a construction permit for roughly $9.9 million for the rebuilding of its Plant 3 operation in Wichita. 

The action follows a liquid nitrogen explosion Dec. 27 that caused a partial roof and wall collapse and damaged composite manufacturing at the facility, a former Beechcraft plant.

The explosion, found to be caused by the rupture of a 3-in. liquid nitrogen line, injured 12 people. 

Construction has begun and is expected to be completed by early 2021, a Textron Aviation spokesperson said. 

Several smaller autoclaves are back in operation. Textron Aviation has contracted with Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita to use its large autoclave until future autoclaves are in operation at the Textron plant, the company said.   

Final assembly of its Cessna SkyCourier twin turboprop, also located in the same building, was not affected by the damage, Textron has said. The SkyCourier made its first flight on May 17. 

An investigation into the accident by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is expected to conclude soon. The agency has six months from the date it opens an inspection to submit its findings. The deadline is June 27, an OSHA spokesperson said. As of June 9, it had not filed its report.

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.