Aircraft interior renovations may be on hold for most passenger airlines but the Delta Flight Products (DFP) team is keeping busy with several innovative projects. At the beginning of April DFP, a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, put its manufacturing expertise to use in producing face shields for front-line medical workers. Now the organization is leading efforts to build military transport facilities that can accommodate sick soldiers. The work also includes employees from the Delta TechOps team.
Across our many teams, our Delta people have quickly shifted their focus to apply skills to meet whatever need our partners or our communities have.– Mike Moore, SVP Maintenance Operations and MRO Services
The project involves converting standard 40-foot shipping containers into reusable hospital pods that can be quickly deployed and carried on military cargo transport aircraft. Pods include an anteroom for medical staff and a patient room with up to 32 seats. If the soldiers require a stretcher transport rather than seating that can also be swapped in to the layout, albeit at lower total capacity.
The company had less than 48 hours from receiving the specification to producing its response for the contract. With the broad range of expertise across multiple engineering disciplines available from Delta Flight Products and TechOps, the carrier was able to meet that response timeline and also to start construction rapidly once approved.
It’s welding, it’s pneumatics, it’s electrical, it’s fabrication, it’s painting. Literally everything we do to keep airplanes flying is encompassed in the pod.– Don Mitacek, SVP Technical Operations
Delta’s contract covers the production of dozens of these pods. The program is in partnership with the U.S. Air Force, UTS Systems and Highland Engineering. And, while the COVID-19 threat is expected to eventually subside, the same medical considerations effected can also be used for transporting soldiers exposed to other infectious agents.
Going forward, if you think about [it], this provides the US military a mobile hospital containment ward on an military aircraft, an incredible amount of flexibility. We’re honored to be a part of that.– Rick Salanitri, President of Delta Flight Products
Getting medical facilities into the skies is not an easy task. Some solutions exist to help convert a small section of a passenger plane into an airborne ICU. A version of the Lufthansa Technik Patient Transport Unit can even be adapted for infections patient transport. But these models are limited in capacity and not hardened to military specifications. The new pods built by Delta’s teams bring another level of capacity to the military transport offerings.