When a Falcon 900EX with an unusual floor plan came to the attention of one of Duncan Aviation’s past clients, he began to consider the possibilities and envision a diamond in the rough that could become his new gem. And he knew just who to turn to for help.
“This project was a massive undertaking,” explains Sales Manager Nate Klenke. “Nearly everything in the aircraft, from entry to aft, was new or required some level of modification. It demanded detailed planning throughout from the initial call to scale the size and associated costs of the project, to the design and engineering, the day-to-day management, the consistent attention to detail and the final installation.”
Director of Maintenance Robert Tod says this Falcon 900EX is his company’s fifth multi-million-dollar project with Duncan Aviation. “This was a total exterior and interior refurbishment,” says Robert. “The end product was as expected, top-notch. Thanks to Duncan Aviation and the designers, engineers, and technicians that were involved with this project!”
The owner brought an appreciation for design and a refined style to the project planning and design phase.
“The Duncan Aviation Design team in Lincoln, Nebraska, has renovated multiple aircraft for him through the years,” says Duncan Aviation Lead Designer Stephanie Kuhn. “He has an experienced eye for design and style and takes all of the details into consideration. We embraced his openness to big ideas and suggestions, and he carefully considered all of the team’s suggestions and ideas. Working with someone like this always makes a project more exciting and fun.”
“We began the process with visualization boards,” says Stephanie. “The boards consisted of concept drawings and inspirational images that created an overall mood or concept. The owner’s response to certain details and feedback helped to set the tone and refine the overall design.”
The credenza and the carved carpet came from the first visualization board and his response to certain details from each of them helped set the tone and refine the overall aircraft design.
Much like the rest of the aircraft, the owner offered his creative input on the cabin seat design. Multiple 3D illustrations of seat designs that incorporated custom-quilted patterns were provided to the owner. Once the design was approved, the quilting was produced on Duncan Aviation’s automated quilting machine, which is one of many of our in-house capabilities.
No detail was overlooked. The lower sidewall is covered in a luxurious suede with a foil-fused overlay adding just enough luster to make a statement. The pattern was meticulously laid out by our experienced team with Stephanie’s guidance.
The custom credenza incorporates a rounded, sleek silhouette that gives the appearance of a freestanding cabinet seemingly floating with accent toe-kick lighting.
Each section of the cabin is visually separated into its own area by a subtle color change of seating. Yet each area perfectly complements the other, flowing easily from one to the next, united by elements such as the foil-fused lower sidewall material, carved carpet, and stitching details.
Hydrographic capabilities in our Finish Shop allowed for a blue carbon-fiber pattern to be applied to the toilet seat deck. The toilet seat lid also features a custom-embroidered design.
In addition, the team incorporated our new Duncan Aviation Finishing Touches.
“When doing a complete Falcon interior with a couple of our key upgrades, including our Duncan Aviation-designed PSU (Passenger Service Unit) overlay panels and our drinkrail modernization, we provide our Finishing Touches hardware package to complete the interior transformation,” says Tracey Boesch, Senior Falcon Completions and Modifications Sales Rep. “This provides a unified look with the same profile and style so that the handles in the galley, lavatory, window shades and drinkrail lids are harmonious throughout the aircraft.”
It’s a feature the team wanted to incorporate with these two upgrade elements for a while now, and this client and project provided the right opportunity. The attention our designers and experienced technicians put on detail, fit, and finish is a daily occurrence. These details result in a stunning interior and that makes you linger just a moment longer when you’re looking at a photo or video of its craftmanship.
Upon arrival, the existing aft cabin/lavatory door opened only into the lavatory compartment. It was modified to swing both forward and aft while maintaining the door handle mechanism. The divider and door jambs were modified, adding a new latch and bolt system to allow the dual-swing function. Having an aft lav door that also swings into the cabin provides greater safety for access into the lavatory compartment in case of a passenger emergency and allows more convenient access for crew or passengers to the aft baggage area.
Our Interior team installed our Duncan Aviation-designed PSU overlay panels, teaming with our avionics technicians to also install bright, energy-efficient ALI (Aircraft Lighting International) LED lighting.
In addition to the interior and lighting modifications, the cabin avionics were upgraded so passengers will be immersed in state-of-the-art audio/video or VPN connections with reliable, high-speed internet connectivity. Gogo AVANCE L5 will eventually give passengers and pilots alike access to the Gogo 5G network, which lets passengers reliably stream audio and video, access email, and continue to use voice and text functions on their phones.
Opting for the Alto Aviation CMS (Cabin Management System), passengers can listen to High-Fidelity audio through cabin speakers or their own headphones. The HD monitors provide access to streaming entertainment or shared laptop content using the new USB and/or HDMI connections. An upgrade to Airshow 500 enhances the video quality and adds 3D worldwide Moving Maps to see panoramic shots of the flight terrain in real-time.
Interfacing with the Rosen Media Input Panel, passengers can share the content from their personal devices on the HD monitors so other passengers can see (and hear) presentations, YouTube videos, movies, and even live news feeds.
The upgraded Alto Cadence switch panels also provide passengers easy access to controls for cabin audio/video, temperature, and lighting.
During the interior refurbishment, the aircraft also received a new pair of API blended winglets from Aviation Partners, Inc. In 2009, API announced that our Battle Creek, Michigan, and Lincoln MROs were the first authorized installers for Falcon Blended Winglets. To date, the Duncan Aviation team has installed well over 100 pairs of API winglets on Falcon aircraft and is well-versed at the requirements for the installation.
With all of the capabilities required for all aspects of the project right here at Duncan Aviation, fitting the structures work needed for the winglets into the flow of the schedule was in the hands of experienced Project Manager Ryan Oestmann.
Duncan Aviation’s talented paint experts were also called on to paint a geometric pattern on the tail that represents a carbon fiber pattern that has the illusion of fading onto the aircraft’s fuselage that features similar blues, grays, and whites that are seen throughout the cabin.
The owner was very involved with the layout and color placement of each square. Our paint team did a fantastic job laying out each individual square in just the right locations to match the desired look.
When Ryan first saw the design plans for the Falcon 900EX, he was quite impressed. He’s even more taken with the final project.
“The veneer in the galley is absolutely beautiful, and the lower sidewalls look amazing,” says Ryan. “There are special details in every part of the plane.”
The Duncan Aviation interior and production teams were especially enthusiastic about this interior.
“The suede covering the lower sidewalls is definitely eye-catching. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind interior,” says Interior Mods/Completions Shift Supervisor Ben Lee. “With all of the unique features, the designs came together seamlessly.”
This aircraft is a testament to the planning, expertise, and artisanship of the entire Duncan Aviation team. Everything from the configuration change to the unique design elements affect the feel and function of the aircraft as a whole.
“On projects of this magnitude, everything we do affects other things in the aircraft, from ambience to function,” explains Nate. “New, modern sidewalls and drinkrails affect airflow and circulation, wiring and system interfaces. There are many layers of connectedness and industry regulations that need to be traversed when creating aircraft interiors of this scope. When you finally see everything come together as intended, the feeling of pride and accomplishment is nearly overwhelming. A customer who expresses appreciation and loves the final product is the cherry on top.”