Boeing is turning its vast manufacturing and transportation resources to helping with the coronavirus outbreak now that it has suspended manufacturing airplanes. The company’s plants in St. Louis, El Segundo, Mesa, Huntsville and Philadelphia all have 3-D printing machines and they’ve been building face shields for medical personnel and first responders. The company is also offering the use of its Dreamlifter, a highly modified Boeing 747 and one of the largest cargo aircraft in the world, to deliver critically needed supplies. “We’re coordinating closely with government officials on how best to provide our support,” the company said in a statement.
It’s not just multinational corporations that are finding ways to help out. The Institute for Women of Aviation Worldwide has posted instructions for anyone to make face masks at home that they can donate locally or to a database of aviation organizations that need masks that it is assembling. “Help protect aviation’s unsung heroes who are putting their health at risk to ensure that people and goods get to their destination during the global COVID-19 health crisis,” IWOAW said in an email release. At least one U.S. flight attendant has died from the virus. The group provides illustrated directions on how to sew or use fabric glue to make reusable masks that have a pocket for paper “filter” made from tissue or paper towel that might offer some protection against the virus.