Duncan Aviation’s full-service facility in Battle Creek, Michigan, recently upgraded a Gulfstream G550, one in a fleet of four aircraft, which includes a Learjet 45, Learjet 60, and Challenger 605. Duncan Aviation has done interior work and exterior paint on all four airplanes.
As the G550 is the owner’s newest aircraft, he wanted the color schemes and designs to resemble those of his other aircraft.
“I just love working with this customer and helping make their vision come alive,” says Lead Designer Emily Krawczak. “Although we’ve used red and silver metallic colors on each of the aircraft, the designs for each aircraft’s paint scheme are a little different.”
Because the G550 is the owner’s aircraft of choice for his commutes from Mexico to northern Africa to Spain and back, the entire aircraft was given an overhaul. In addition to paint, most of the interior was redone, including the galley, cabin, and aft lav.
“These customers paid a great deal of attention to the flight deck, which is a little unusual, but they wanted it to look like a brand new aircraft inside and out, and no detail escaped their attention,” says Emily. “We fixed areas with chipped paint—the cockpit pedestal, in particular. New seat covers and softgoods were updated throughout the cockpit, too.”
Senior Avionics Sales Rep Justin Vena worked with the customer on an array of options, completely customizing the Venue Cabin Management System, switches, monitors, and more.
“With multiple users and devices, our customers were not happy that the internet bogged down, so we installed a new Satcom Direct Gateway Iridium router in a SatcomDirect hub,” says Justin. “The Multi-In, Multi-Out router talks to multiple devices and improves speed and overall connectivity experience.”
In addition to installing a 22-inch monitor in the new custom credenza, we installed a 19-inch monitor in the forward bulkhead and a 22-inch monitor in the aft cabin bulkhead. All were controlled by Venue touch-screen switches, and a custom-designed bump-out feature allowed the switches to be mounted in a 45-degree angle configuration instead of flush in the drinkrails.
“It’s a really cool feature that they just love,” says Justin. “I saw a picture in a cartoon of a mythic aircraft, and I showed it to Completions & Modifications Sales Rep Adam Bruce. We worked with Engineering and the Interior Cabinet Shop and were able to come up with a design that not only looks incredible but is one of the customer’s favorite physical features in the aircraft.”
We also installed an ACA (Aviation Clean Air) ionizer system.
“This customer absolutely wants continuous protection from harmful, airborne pathogens, especially as he travels all over the world,” says Justin.
Thoughout the cabin, there is very little that Duncan Aviation’s techs didn’t touch. The forward four seats that are usually part of the cabin were instead set aside as the crew rest area.
“It makes a lot of sense when you think about it,” says Emily. “The crew uses the forward lav and has their rest area right there, too, instead of walking the length of the plane, through the cabin, to get to the aft lav.”
The owner’s wife was involved with the designs, color schemes, and materials used. She really focused on the veneer selection and how that would affect the overall appearance.
“We put new veneer and countertops in the galley, and as the floor in the galley is a high-traffic area, we went with vinyl for the floor,” says Emily.
One of the more interesting aspects of the new interior was a heavy curtain that was moved forward to close off the cabin.
“The double-sided, sound-absorbent material they chose was gorgeous,” says Emily. “And although you’d think moving a curtain would be easy, it required engineering because of the additional weight the curtain added and because moving the curtain necessitated that we reposition the oxygen boxes.”
The cabin also featured new ALI LED lights, carpet, window shades, seats, a credenza, and a divan.
“We modified the credenza to accommodate the pop-up monitor, and the seat design was similar to what we’d used in their other aircraft, but not exactly the same,” says Emily. “I’ve had the good fortune to work on all four of this customer’s aircraft. Each has touches that let you know they’re part of the same fleet, but they also have unique features that give them slightly different personalities.”