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Duncan's Citation XLS customer fancies a dip
Duncan Aviation took on a hydrodipping challenge with a short lead time. The president of the aircraft management company said that the final product exceeded his expectations and looks better than new.
The end product is a sight to see.

After being tasked with hydrodipping all the interior components for a Citation XLS refurbishment in just 10 days, Duncan Aviation's finishing team has delivered. The fleet operator and first-time Duncan customer knew that the aircraft couldn't be down for more than 10 days, yet it wanted a completely new look.

“With any of our customers, the challenge is always downtime,” says finish shop team leader Chris Nelson. “When their aircraft is down, their flight schedules can be impacted greatly and in this case, it simply couldn't be down for more than 10 days. That was the challenge put before us. We accepted and knocked it out of the park.”

Nelson and his team hydrodipped the lavatory cabinet, vanity, aft dividers, pocket doors, drink rails, tables, left-hand forward galley and right-hand forward entertainment cabinet with a design that was similar to a flat-cut walnut veneer with a grey background.

When Nelson was initially informed of this project, he knew he would have to get the shop and his team ready. “We had all of the tools and experience we needed to complete the job, just not quite what we needed to get it done in such an incredible downtime,” he continues. “To make sure we met our clients expectations and to ensure the project ran smoothly, we ended up making a few changes to the layout of our shop and added some specialised tooling.”

Project manager Steve Devitt says there was some uncertainty at first when the idea came to life. “Once we started planning and laid out a detailed schedule for every shift of every day, we all saw that we could be successful and produce the Duncan Aviation quality standard that is expected. The teams did a fantastic job communicating and working together. The end product reflected the effort.”

The president of the aircraft management company said that the final product exceeded his expectations and looks better than new. “The final product was nothing short of amazing,” he says. “The communication was excellent all the way through the project. In fact, it was so good I will be bringing more business to Duncan Aviation in Lincoln.”

Nelson estimates that this project would have taken more than double the time had it been completed using traditional methods to apply all new veneer to the cabinets. With downtimes being such a driving factor, the Duncan Aviation teams are always looking for ways to be innovative. With hydrographics, the driving factors are are only limited to the imagination. The most difficult part can be choosing a design for the aircraft, as there are unlimited graphic options.

“There were so many different team members and departments that got involved to make this project come together, it was amazing,” Nelson explains. “That's probably the most exciting thing, knowing that there is such a talented group of individuals at Duncan Aviation creating solutions to meet the expectations of our clients.”

Hydrographics has taken leaps and bounds since it was first introduced at Duncan. It first started with some basic tooling to prove concept and evaluate if the solution should be offered to customers. The two- to three-year journey has consisted of continually upgrading equipment and finding new challenges. The finish shop currently has two full-size dipping tanks, two full-size rinse tanks, an automatic dipping arm and is in the process of building an automatic spray arm.

Nelson concludes: “I see this really exploding in the industry as a whole. It's exciting to know Duncan Aviation was at the forefront of bringing hydrographics to the business aviation industry. We are truly at the cutting edge of innovation.”

The aircraft also received new table inserts, had some small leather work done and underwent a complete overhaul of the wheels and tyres.

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