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Improving the safety of flying during Covid-19

(Written by Katherine Williams and Ed Hawthorn, photography by Ed Hawthorn)

The Engineering team at Mareeba are always looking at ways to improve systems and products, and it is no different during these difficult days of Covid-19.

Ed Hawthorn, Fleet Development Manager, was tasked with developing a physical separation between cockpit and cabin in Mission Aviation Fellowship’s (MAF) GippsAero GA8 and Cessna 208 aircraft. This will improve the safety for the pilot and passenger/s in the aircraft.

Ed proposed a solution to our Design Manager, Phil Andrews, for a Crew Screen for the GA8 and 208. This design is:

· a low cost, lightweight, flexible and transparent screen with an appropriate flammability rating,

· secured to interior trim of the aircraft just behind the crew seats using hook and loop tape that is easily removed in the case of an emergency.

The cross-sectional dimensions of the cabin in the GA8 and C208 were measured and passed on to Phil Andrews, who provided dimensioned drawings to Byron Aviation to produce a sample of each for trial fitting. The GA8 option required some changes and a second sample was provided by Byron Aviation. The trial fit of the C208 will be completed soon in Gove.


Second sample loosely fitted into a GA8.

Additional GA8 versions of the barrier have been ordered by the three MAF programmes that operate this aircraft – Arnhem Land, Mareeba and Timor-Leste. The 208 versions will be ordered once the design has been finalised.

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