One of the biggest tests of quality is how long something lasts. Aircraft interiors are no different. Years of constant passenger use during flight tend to wear on the function and aesthetics of interior components. Seats, tables, cabinetry and galleys tend to show wear and tear, which can date an aircraft and affect the impression it makes on passengers.
“Longevity is subjective; a lot can depend on how often the airplane is used and how many passengers are regularly on board. In addition, the longevity is based on the quality of the products used coupled with quality installation standards and processes. Of course, how well the interior is taken care of, cleaned, and maintained also plays into its lifespan,” says Duncan Aviation Aircraft Modifications Sales Manager Nate Klenke.
Signs of a quality refurbishment don’t always show until several years after the work is done; it rests in the durability of the products selected and the quality of the completion process, most of which isn’t visiable in the end product.
Case in point: Duncan Aviation completed a Gulfstream GIV in 2007 that was placed on static display at the National Business Aviation Association’s annual convention in Atlanta, Georgia. The aircraft had new paint as well as a fresh interior that showcased a multitude of industry firsts. A look at that aircraft today after 13 years of regular use, proves that its design was timeless and the interior installation and construction was of the highest quality.
From the beginning, Duncan Aviation’s design experts worked alongside Aviation Aesthetics’ owner and founder Havilande Whitcomb to turn the owner’s vision into a reality. The project started off strong since Duncan Aviation has a long history of experience in collaborating with external designers. Aviation Aesthetics and Duncan Aviation’s design team worked closely with many parties. The owner Who chose high quality materials such as mohair upholstery and dark wool custom carpet which were integrated into a cohesive unit that flowed seamlessly. The team also worked closely with the flight attendants to be sure items, like silverware, snacks and beverages were exactly where they needed to be in the reconfigured galley. The finished product featured high-quality materials and intricate design details, such as inlaid polish nickel.The drink rails had a high-quality carbon fiber flat finish installed so the fiber pattern lined up perfectly along the entire drink rail. Paldao and wenge woods were the primary finishes used to complement the carbon fiber accents. On the lower side wall stingray skins were used to futher enhance the design. The stingray skin had to be cut to perfection with a high pressured water cutter and needed to be tightly sealed to provide a continous pattern using a unique, natural product. Rounding off the plethora of innovations in the interior is credenza THAT features a pop-up monitor that was ahead of its time being the first automated lift to raise and lower the monitor from the credenza for viewing.
“The collaborative effort between a discerning owner, me as an interior designer, the Duncan Aviation design team and the production teams was refreshing,” says Whitcomb. The level of craftsmanship was incredible and there was razor-like focus on the small details.”
13 Years Later
Fast-forward to 2020. The GIV interior and paint have held up incredibly well, much longer than typically seen in the industry, Klenke says.
”The aircraft featured a selection of high-quality materials and have held up due to excellent design and craftsmanship by Duncan Aviation,” agrees Whitcomb.
The GIV is managed by Volo Aviation and is available for charter through Solairus Aviation’s charter certificate. Volo Aviation Director of Maintenance and Chief Pilot Robert Tod, says: “When I tell passengers that the paint and interior are 13 years old, they are usually stunned.”
Timeless design, high-quality materials, expert installation and application of the interior components combined to allow this aircraft surpass the test of time.