Duncan Aviation Focuses Its Upholstery Shops On Face Masks


Like many essential businesses seeking to stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic, Duncan Aviation needed protective face masks for its employees. But, according to Duncan, “it became obvious that mask supplies were depleted and that health care workers and those working directly with the public in service roles didn’t have enough masks to meet their anticipated needs.” So the company’s interior teams got a Nebraska hospital to share specifics and “two different mask templates were created. Using the hospital’s instructions, Duncan Aviation digitized the designs for cutting with its automated fabric-cutting machine, which usually cuts leather, sheepskin and other durable materials for use in business aircraft.”

“This all started with a team of employees who recognized a problem and had the means and desire to solve it,” says Aaron Hilkemann, president and CEO of Duncan Aviation. “It is indicative of the creativity, compassion and initiative found in our team members. And we are happy to help our communities in this manner. We feel it is the least we can do and appreciate the opportunity to show our concern and gratitude to those working on the front lines of this pandemic.”

Duncan’s facilities in Nebraska, Michigan and Utah have been busy, with employees supported by volunteers from the local communities, sewing both masks and protective gowns as rapidly as they can. Duncan’s combined facilities can cut materials for 900 masks an hour, and as of mid-April had also processed enough material for more than 15,000 masks.

Marc Cook
KITPLANES Editor in Chief Marc Cook has been in aviation journalism for more than 30 years. He is a 4000-hour instrument-rated, multi-engine pilot with experience in nearly 150 types. He’s completed two kit aircraft, an Aero Designs Pulsar XP and a Glasair Sportsman 2+2, and currently flies a 2002 GlaStar.

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  1. Nice article of people being creative and working hard to be part of the solution during a time when almost everything else we hear day to day is rather depressing. Thanks!

  2. It’s good that they consulted hospital staff to see what they needed and how to make it properly instead of downloading something off the internet that may or may not work correctly. Good intentions are nice, but doing things the right way is what is needed. Thank you, Duncan.