Textron Aviation donated $250,000 to Exploration Place’s new Design Build Fly permanent exhibit under construction at the science museum.
The Wichita-based manufacturer of Beechcraft and Cessna airplanes and business jets will be the named sponsor of the Build portion of the exhibit as a result of the donation, Exploration Place said Friday, which is National Manufacturing Day.
Jim Walters, Textron Aviation senior vice president for human resources and communications, said in a news release that the company views the donation as a way to “honor the craftsmanship of our 12,000 global employees.”
“More importantly, this exhibit will demonstrate to future generations how exciting a career in aviation can be,” Walters said. “Innovation is rapidly shaping the factory of the future, providing opportunities for skilled jobs in advanced manufacturing that are vital to our continued success.”
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Once opened, the 5,100-square-foot Design Build Fly exhibit will offer visitors hands-on experiences of what it’s like to work in various facets of the aviation industry. For example, the Build portion of the exhibit will expose visitors to a landing gear drop test, allow them to climb inside an unfinished Hawker jet fuselage and experience a rivet gun simulation.
Textron Aviation joins Spirit AeroSystems and Bombardier Learjet as lead aviation manufacturer donors to the $2.5 million exhibit.
“The company’s leadership understands this exhibit plays a key role of inspiring the next generation of aviation professionals,” Exploration Place president Jan Luth said in the release.
The museum has set a Dec. 2 opening for Design Build Fly, which replaces the 17-year-old Exploring Flight and Design exhibit.