FEATURE: Duncan Aviation transforms CL-604


Duncan Aviation has redelivered a CL-604 following an extensive project that involved upgrades to multiple avionics systems, a new interior, and new exterior paint.

Facing obsolescence issues with multiple avionics systems, the new owner opted to upgrade certain systems and replace others. In addition, Air Partners’ president Vik Saini, who manages the CL-604 for the new owner, reached out to Duncan Aviation completions and modifications sales rep Tiffany Buschini and lead designer Heather Pridemore. Having worked with both of them before, Saini 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,” said Saini. “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.”

Flight deck upgrades

The flight deck now features Collins Aerospace’s Pro Line Fusion, with full-colour touchscreen displays in place of the old CRTs. The cockpit also now features Synthetic Vision System (SVS), and Wide-Area Augmentation System-Localizer Performance with Vertical guidance (WAAS LPV).

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 CL-604 is now ready for any future mandates. A new Gogo Aviation Avance L5 system was installed to boost inflight connectivity for pilots and passengers.

Cabin upgrades

Working with senior avionics sales rep Justin Vena, the cabin was outfitted with a new Collins Venue CMS to replace the obsolete system. The upgrade included a 10.6in galley monitor, and in the cabin, there are now 10 TC 6000 touchscreen controls, installed at most switch locations; two 24in LCD screens installed on the bulkheads; the new HD Airshow, featuring moving maps; two HDMI ports; and a channel of Bluetooth audio streaming. For cabin audio, new Alto Aviation speakers were installed.

“We reached out to Collins Aerospace on behalf of the customer and we were able to take advantage of a combined incentive programme and get a discount on the Venue and Fusion systems,” said Vena. “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.”

Interior and exterior refurbishment

Despite having an MRO facility of its 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,” said Pridemore. “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.”

The PSUs are covered with a black carbon-fibre-print ultraleather, with contrasting gunmetal grey plating. Other details include gloss-finished Black Ebony veneer; and a woven vinyl flooring in the entry area, 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 CL-604 to make a bold statement,” said Pridemore. “His company’s logo is grey and black; he wanted those colours featured in the paint scheme, which is black on the belly and tail with a splash of grey across the sides. We also carried those colours throughout the interior. There are so many unique details we incorporated throughout the interior, and the logo added an additional, personal touch.”

Pridemore’s design for the CL-604’s upholstery is intended to lend visual interest and variety to the cabin while preserving an overall theme. Two-tone club seats are contrasted with a charcoal grey divan, both of which incorporate 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,” said 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 delivered, the team was on hand to witness the customer’s reaction. Duncan Aviation shares that there’s always a little nervous excitement mingled with pride as the team looks on, but they needn’t have worried; the customer was ecstatic.

“We are excited to showcase our Fusion-equipped CL-604 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.”

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About Author


Izzy has been part of the Business Jet Interiors International team since its second issue, and the editor since 2011. She also edits Auditoria and Railway Interiors International. Outside of work, Izzy is rediscovering her love of art by learning how to paint with watercolors.

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