The technical project including extensive maintenance work, avionics upgrades, and complete interior reconfiguration took place at Flying Colours’ St. Louis, MO. facility, while the external paint application was completed at the recently opened state-of-the-art paint shop in Peterborough, Canada. The seamless liaison between the two Flying Colours sites highlights the complementary natures of its North American facilities.
“Having completed the original green VIP completion back in 2011 it was interesting for our team to modify our own work to convert the aircraft into a hard-working corporate shuttle. The project provided a great showcase for our end-to-end service, there are not many organizations which can provide such an integrated offering,” said Sean Gillespie, Executive VP. “This is the third Challenger 850 conversion that we’ve made for this customer and it speaks volumes about our ability to innovate to meet the demanding expectations of our customers.”
The Flying Colours design team matched the cabin scheme to the client’s existing fleet to meet the requirements for a durable, functional yet comfortable interior. A new interior layout meant complete remodelling with a four place club format, with built-in side counter worktables at the front; a middle segment of three rows of two-plus-one; and an aft club conference group of four, with a half club arrangement opposite. A forward galley with ample storage space, and front and back lavatories fulfil the mandate of transforming the VIP executive jet to a corporate shuttle.
For passenger comfort the ALTO Cadence Switch System (CSS) provides a comprehensive cabin management system and the Collins Aerospace Airshow 500 is displayed via monitors at the front and back of the aircraft. Changes from the previous two shuttles include larger, custom-made cabin window reveals giving a wider field of view, and new cabin surfaces creating an interior conducive for work and relaxation. A new “gaseous” passenger oxygen system was certified and installed to align with the equipment fitted in the fleet’s first two Challenger 850 conversions. To support productivity the Gogo Avance L5 system provides inflight connectivity and USB ports in each of the standard business class seats ensure digital devices remain permanently charged.
On the flight-deck numerous upgrades included installation of the Safe Flight International AutoPower® auto-throttle system, enhancements of the ProLine IV avionics suite, the equipping of ADS-B Out version 2 to meet 2020 requirements, and a TCAS upgrade to incorporate change 7.1. The aircraft was also equipped with a Runway Awareness and Advisory System (RAAS) including smart takeoff and landing capabilities from Honeywell Aerospace. A multiple channel Iridium phone system supports FANS and ICARS capability.
In addition to the upgrade and modifications Flying Colours undertook a series of maintenance activities as 12/24/48/96-month airframe inspections and a 120-month landing-gear inspection, plus additional miscellaneous inspection tasks, were completed.
“This aircraft clearly demonstrates our comprehensive offering and the high levels of expertise we deliver under one roof. With a typical passenger load of 17 we had to create durability and comfort combined with resiliency and the latest safety features to support the five to six legs it is scheduled to fly on a typical day. We’re extremely proud to have been selected to complete the work and enjoyed the experience of converting the VIP aircraft we’d completed into a corporate shuttle. It clearly shows our flexibility and innovative heritage to be able to perform such diverse modifications on this our third aircraft in the fleet,” concluded Gillespie.