Duncan Aviation has been working with the new owner of a Bombardier Challenger CL604, who has taken possession of what the company says is more or less a new aircraft. With upgrades to multiple avionics systems, an eye-catching new interior and striking new exterior paint, this aircraft makes a statement: It's classy, flashy, and completely customised.
Facing obsolescence issues with multiple avionics systems, the new owner opted for safety, upgrading certain systems and installing new for others. In addition to the new avionics systems, Vik Saini, president of Canadian operator Air Partners, which manages the CL604 for the new owner, reached out to Duncan Aviation completions and modifications sales rep Tiffany Buschini and lead designer Heather Pridemore, both of whom he'd worked with in the past. He sought their expertise on the exterior paint scheme and the nearly completely new interior.
“Over the years, we've come to trust Duncan Aviation with our most important maintenance or refurbishment projects, and our experience with this aircraft further built upon that trust and confidence,” Saini explains. “Although this particular workscope was our most complex and largest undertaking to date, it didn't feel as such. This is in large part because of the team and expertise Duncan Aviation was able to provide. In particular, the initial quote and workscope was well developed by Tiffany Buschini and Justin Vena, the design vision of our client was well executed by Heather Pridemore and the entire project was well managed by Branden Hunt, all of which made for a fun and exciting project that was completed on time and with few surprises.”
The flight deck received Collins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion, featuring full-colour touchscreen displays in place of the old CRTs. Retrofitting the cockpit with a synthetic vision system (SVS), pilots can now see uneven terrain on approaches at night, and with Wide-Area Augmentation System-Localizer Performance with Vertical guidance (WAAS LPV), the pilots will benefit from enhanced GPS signals during the entire flight, including to within 200 feet of the ground during landing.
The owner also upgraded to Future Air Navigation Systems (FANS), a datalink technology that allows pilots and air traffic controllers to more easily communicate with one another using a common language. Although currently mandated only in certain North Atlantic tracks where radar doesn't reach and radio coverage can be erratic, the CL604 is now ready for any future mandates.
A new Gogo Aviation Avance L5 will give a dramatic boost to in-flight connectivity for pilots and passengers alike.
Working with senior avionics sales rep Justin Vena, the cabin was outfitted with a new Collins Venue cabin management system (CMS) to replace the obsolete system. The upgrade included a 10.6” galley monitor, and in the cabin there are now 10 TC 6000 touchscreen controls, installed at most switch locations; two 24-inch LCD screens installed on the bulkheads; the new HD Airshow, featuring moving maps; two high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) ports; and a channel of Bluetooth audio streaming. Audio in the cabin was also enhanced with the installation of new Alto Aviation speakers, perfect for airborne audiophiles.
“We reached out to Collins Aerospace on behalf of the customer,” says Vena, “and we were able to take advantage of a combined incentive programme and get a discount on the Venue and Fusion systems. Owners dealing with obsolete systems throughout their aircraft may feel the pinch of the upgrade, but here at Duncan Aviation, we work with our vendors to get the best prices possible.”
Despite having a MRO facility of their own that handles light maintenance, the customer has brought many of their aircraft to Duncan Aviation over the last couple of years for avionics upgrades and interior modifications
“We've painted and completed interiors on three of their aircraft in the past, and we'll work on a Learjet 45 for them next year. I value the trust they have in me and in Duncan Aviation, and it was especially motivating that the new owner was open to trying so many new looks and techniques,” says Pridemore.
The PSUs are covered with a black carbon fibre-print ultraleather, with contrasting gunmetal gray plating, which is as eye-catching as it is unusual.
Among the many unique details are gloss-finished, black ebony veneer, a woven vinyl flooring in the entry, galley and lav. The galley veneer was installed horizontally, with the grain running parallel to the stripes in the vinyl flooring. The galley doors are refinished in a metallic vinyl wrap, with the customer's logo airbrushed on one of the upper doors by the cabinet team.
“The owner wanted his CL604 to make a bold statement. His company's logo is gray and black; he wanted those colours featured in the paint scheme, which is black on the belly and tail with a splash of gray across the sides. We also carried those colours throughout the interior,” continues Pridemore. “There are so many unique details we incorporated throughout the interior, and the logo added an additional, personal touch.”
Pridemore's design for the CL604's upholstery lends visual interest and variety to the cabin while preserving an overall theme. Two-tone club seats are contrasted with a charcoal gray divan, both of which incorporated quilted panels and are trimmed with metallic leather piping. To further customise the bespoke interior, Pridemore had throw blankets embroidered with the owner's logo.
“The new carpet in the cabin is the feature I'm most excited about,” says Pridemore. “It was a joint effort between the owner and me, and it was so much fun coming up with the design. He picked the pattern, and I put together a combination of colours and patterns to fit the style he was looking for. We worked through many design ideas together, seat designs for instance, but he absolutely loved the carpet.”
When the aircraft was delivered, the team was on-hand to witness the customer's reaction. There's always a little nervous excitement mingled with pride as the team looks on. They needn't have worried. The customer was ecstatic.
“We are excited to showcase our Fusion-equipped CL604 and couldn't be more pleased with the outcome,” said Saini. “We are also just as grateful for the partnership we have with our friends at Duncan Aviation.”