A team from Textron Aviation's process engineering department began producing face shields for health care providers and first responders this week. (Photo: Textron Aviation)

Textron Aviation Begins Mask, Face Shield Production

The airframer is collaborating with Wichita State University to manufacture protective gear for healthcare workers and its own employees.

Textron Aviation recently began production of plastic face shields and cloth face masks for healthcare providers and its own employees to use during the Covid-19 pandemic. A team from Textron's process engineering department started producing the items as a response to shortages of these supplies.

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The Wichita, Kansas, airframer said it is collaborating with Wichita State University to manufacture face shields from optically clear PET film. It also settled on mask production after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended cloth or fabric face coverings for people who are in public spaces. Textron expects to produce thousands of face masks that it said can be laundered and reused. It hopes that will free up the more-effective N95 and surgical masks for medical staff and first responders. Over the past two weeks, the manufacturer of Beechcraft and Cessna airplanes has donated about 7,500 N95 masks and other personal protective equipment to healthcare providers and first responders throughout Kansas.