Cessna's new SkyCourier appears to have been spared from the impact of a December 27 explosion at Textron Aviation's building in east Wichita, the airframer told AIN in a statement today. “While the building damage assessment continues, the location of the company’s Cessna SkyCourier development program in Plant 3 appears to have not been impacted,” the company said.
Around 8 a.m. on December 27, the massive building that houses Textron Aviation’s composite manufacturing and experimental aircraft fabrication was damaged by a liquid nitrogen explosion, causing part of it to collapse and sending 11 workers to the hospital. Four others were treated at the scene. Textron Aviation said its primary focus remains on workers affected by the blast that could be heard and felt several miles away.
“The priorities at this time include continued care and support of our employees who were injured and assistance to those who were otherwise impacted, determining the structural integrity of the building, ensuring the safety and security of our employees and response team personnel, and coordination and cooperation with all investigations as to cause,” the statement said. “The company’s emergency response team meets multiple times daily to address these priorities and has appointed vendors to assist with the cleanup efforts.”
A Textron Aviation spokeswoman had earlier confirmed that the building housed its new SkyCourier twin-turboprop development program, which recently marked a milestone with the mating of the fuselage and its high wing.