Additional GA manufacturers step up coronavirus relief

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Aircraft companies have dedicated portions of their workforce to relief efforts as infection rates and worldwide deaths continue to mount.

Daher A Kodiak 100 Series II high-wing, single-engine turboprop that was so new it lacked full paint was pressed into service April 15 and 16 to deliver 240 ventilators from Idaho to California to help treat critically ill patients. The joint project involved GA aircraft manufacturer Daher, which is the parent company of TBM and Kodiak, and Percussionaire Corp., the producer of the ventilators. The shipment was part of a 1,000-plus-unit order placed by the California Department of Public Health’s Emergency Preparedness Office. The utility of the Kodiak airplane was cited as a key factor in helping speed the delivery of the lifesaving breathing devices into the hands of those who needed them. Pipistrel 

Pipistrel, a Slovenia-based light aircraft manufacturer known for the single-engine Alpha Trainer and Alpha Electro models of composite light sport aircraft, gliders, and other aircraft, secured a donation of 100,000 medical face masks, additional medical supplies, and coronavirus test kits bound for Ajdovscina in the country’s Vipava Valley. The medical supplies were transported from China to Europe through a business connection made by Pipistrel’s Asia-Pacific subsidiary. The equipment was being distributed to the “most exposed groups” in the region, a news release noted.


Italy-based Tecnam, which has manufactured aircraft since 1948, began producing PPE for medical workers on an assembly line that was running “in parallel” with airplane manufacturing. The company said in a news release that the research-and-development department “channeled all its commitment and aeronautical design know-how into creating an innovative face shield with a multipurpose solution to protect the eyes and airways” of health care personnel.

The design for the clear plastic Tecnam Face Shield forces ventilation rearward while protecting personnel against the hazards of inhaling biological droplets. The reusable and ergonomic face shield can accommodate eyeglasses and a surgical mask. A version of the device that can be equipped with air filters is also under development.

“Protecting our first responders and healthcare workers has never been more important,” said Tecnam Managing Director Giovanni Pascale. He added that the company “marshalled the best resources” to focus on “supporting those most in need on the frontline of this pandemic.” He also expressed a desire for the “quick return to flight activities for our pilots, passengers, and flight-training organizations.”


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