Photo Credit: FlightSafety International

April 27, 2020

Business aviation equipment makers, support organizations and educational institutions continue to demonstrate the industry’s humanitarian spirit in the fight against COVID-19, with many pivoting to provide vital protective equipment to medical personnel while still working to maintain regular operations.

For example, students, faculty and staff at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) are fabricating masks and face shields to help protect healthcare workers from coronavirus. Fifty students on ERAU’s Daytona Beach, FL, campus are fabricating 5,000 face shields for distribution to local hospitals Halifax Health and Advent Health. This effort also enables students who’ve lost their jobs due to the pandemic to earn some needed money.

In Arizona, leaders of ERAU Prescott’s Rapid Prototyping Lab and Machine Shop are fabricating face shields and 3D-printed headpieces for Yavapai Regional Medical Center. Other ERAU students and faculty members have 3D-printed face shield headpieces at their homes for hospitals in North Carolina, Washington and New York – in many cases absorbing material and production costs themselves.

Simulator-based training provider FlightSafety International has also committed its resources to the design and production of 3D-printed equipment, including respirator masks. In partnership with a non-profit agency, FlightSafety is producing the three main rigid components of the masks, which the partner organization then fits with a seal, filter and straps and delivers to health professionals working in the Tulsa, OK, area.

FlightSafety also recently launched instructor-led online courses for pilots and aircraft maintainers and will soon offer more than 20 aircraft type-specific courses. The courses are “helping pilots and technicians to remain current and proficient without the need to travel to a Learning Center,” said Brian Moore, FlightSafety senior vice president for operations.

Italian aircraft manufacturer Tecnam also is producing protective face shields. Tecnam plans to manufacture the shields alongside its regular production line for aircraft, which includes the P2012 Traveller piston twin.

“In difficult times like these, companies such as Tecnam need to do their part,” said Managing Director Giovanni Pascale. “We’ve marshalled the best resources of Tecnam to focus on immediately installing the production capacity for making PPE and supporting those most in need on the frontline of this pandemic.”