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FlightSafety Wichita Cessna Learning Center
FlightSafety Wichita Cessna Learning Center
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Read our latest feature:   Show issue: MEBAA
Duncan delivers dramatically different Challenger
The Duncan team has updated a well-used Challenger 604 for a customer in Australia. No longer stuck with a 70s colour scheme, the aircraft now has up-to-date styling in silver and grey, landing it in the 21st century.
A rather tired Challenger 604 got a make over from Duncan Aviation's Interior team.

Duncan Aviation's Battle Creek, Michigan, team has recently taken a well-used Challenger 604 and completely updated and transformed it. Focusing on current design trends and incorporating the owner's specific tastes, Duncan Aviation's lead designer Emily Krawczak pulled together blacks, greys and silvers for an eye-popping interior. In addition, the aircraft received new paint, avionics upgrades, a 12 month inspection and was provisioned with an aeromedical air stretcher unit.

Based out of Australia and with limited resources for this type of project, the first-time jet owner was looking to transform his aircraft into something contemporary that centred around current trends.

“Because the owner was represented by a management team, they brought this pre-owned, US-based aircraft to us knowing it would eventually be registered overseas,” explains completions/modifications sales representative Adam Bruce. “It was in desperate need of a refurbishment, and the owner requested a contemporary interior that also allowed for comfort on long flights.”

When it landed at Duncan Aviation, the aircraft's colours were outdated browns, golds and beiges. At delivery, the interior featured blacks, greys and silvers. “It went from 100 per cent mild to eye catching wild,” adds Bruce.

The owner and his wife had a general idea of how they wanted the interior to feel and worked closely with Krawczak to bring their vision to life. “He liked darker colours, while his wife wanted the aircraft to be light and bright,” she says. “I think we struck a great balance between the two visions. He also was very interested in a highly customised chair design.”

The Duncan Aviation interior team addressed all aspects of the interior except for the cabinet interior laminate; they installed a full hydrographics package for all of the woodwork, customised seat upholstery, laminated upper galley accents, new soft goods and new plating.

The aircraft was also provisioned with an aeromedical air stretcher unit with an air-stair lift mechanism, removable left hand forward bulkhead to accommodate the stretcher installation and custom floor covering for medical missions.

“All of those items are able to be removed to convert the aircraft for special missions, as well as standard use,” says Bruce. “It's basically a plane ambulance. Medical services in Australia sometimes require travel to access, and this aircraft is now capable of safely transporting patients over long distances.”

The owner had seen a model of another aircraft with a similar paint scheme and fell in love with the colours. The challenge was to find aircraft paint that matched, so the Duncan team had their paint vendor do a custom match.

“After that, it was a matter of finding the right colour combination,” says Krawzcak. “He was very involved in the process, and in the end we produced an original and striking paint scheme that looks fast.”

The aircraft exterior was painted in a platinum pearl base and included a stone pearl nose that fades into diagonal stripes along the body, creating an ombre effect. The stripes carry on to the engines, providing a balance to the scheme. Pops of gold on the body and winglets add interest and colour.

Krawzcak finds that when seeing renderings of the paint and interior finish, there is always a sense of nervousness about what the final product will look like. However, she adds: “The owner only had positive things to say about seeing his aircraft paint in person.”

The aircraft also received avionics upgrades for new lighting, installation of new USB inputs and removal of obsolete monitors, replacing them with a charging hub for personal devices inside the aft divan cabinet. Duncan also created a new audio interface unit and installed a Gogo Airshow Mobile 2 unit. The aircraft received a 12 month inspection, ice protection service bulletin, landing/taxi LED lights and an export certificate of airworthiness.

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