Duncan Aviation's teams at the company's full-service facility in Battle Creek, Michigan recently completed an interior refurbishment with avionics upgrades and exterior paint on a Gulfstream G550. The aircraft is the fourth in a fleet of four that belongs to a long-time Duncan customer. As the newest aircraft in his fleet, the owner wanted the colour schemes and designs to resemble those of his other aircraft, and the design, avionics, interior and paint teams were happy to comply.
“I just love helping make this customer's vision come alive,” says lead designer Emily Krawczak. “I've had the good fortune to work on all four of the aircraft, and although each has touches that let you know they're part of the same fleet, they also have unique features that give each aircraft a slightly different personality.”
The G550 is the customer's go-to aircraft for travel from Mexico to northern Africa to Spain and back, so the aircraft was given a complete overhaul, including the installation of an Aviation Clean Air (ACA) ioniser system.
“Our customer absolutely wants continuous protection from harmful, airborne pathogens, especially as he travels all over the world,” says senior avionics sales rep Justin Vena. “We also completely customised the Collins Venue cabin management system and its monitors and switches.”
One of the more interesting modifications was the way the Venue touch-screen switches were mounted.
“Completions and modifications sales rep Adam Bruce and I worked with our engineers and cabinet shop team to create a bump-out feature that mounts the switches at a 45-degree angle instead of flush with the drinkrails,” Vena continues. “I saw a picture of a mythical aircraft, showed it to the team, and they created it. It's one of the customer's favourite features!”
The cabin was reconfigured so the forward four seats were set aside as the crew rest seats. “It makes a lot of sense when you think about it,” says Krawczak. “The crew uses the forward lav and now their rest area is right there, too, so they don't have to walk the length of the plane and through the cabin to reach the aft lav.”
Because the owner's family is frequently aboard the G550, the owner's wife took an active role in the material choices and focused on the overall appearance of the interior, especially the veneer. “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,” adds Krawczak. “We also moved a curtain forward to close off the cabin, and the customer opted for a luxurious-looking material that provided additional sound-proofing.”
Duncan Aviation's teams also updated the cabin with new ALI LED lights, carpet, shades, seats, several new flat-screen monitors, a credenza and a divan. They also enhanced the existing onboard internet speed and connectivity experience by installing a new, high-speed router and equipment from Satcom Direct.
No aspect was overlooked as the teams also updated the look and feel of the flight deck, cleaning up the pedestal, touching up surfaces where paint had chipped and putting in new seat covers and soft goods.
“Our teams outdid themselves on this project. We've worked on this customer's Learjet 45 and Learjet 60, and his Challenger 605, too. He considers the G550 the crown jewel of his fleet, and he absolutely loved how it turned out,” concludes Bruce. “It was a transformative project, and after we finished with it, the G550 looks like a brand-new aircraft!”