FEATURE: G550 refurbished at Duncan Aviation


Duncan Aviation’s team in Battle Creek, Michigan, has completed a Gulfstream G550 interior refurbishment for a long-time customer. The project also entailed avionics upgrades and exterior paint work. The customer specified colour schemes and designs to resemble those of his three other aircraft.

“I just love helping make this customer’s vision come alive,” said lead designer Emily Krawczak. “I’ve had the good fortune to work on all four of the aircraft, and although each has touches that let you know they’re part of the same fleet, they also have unique features that give each aircraft a slightly different personality.”

The G550 is the customer’s go-to aircraft for travel from Mexico to northern Africa to Spain and back, so the aircraft was given a complete overhaul.

The project included the installation of an Aviation Clean Air (ACA) ioniser system. “Our customer absolutely wants continuous protection from harmful, airborne pathogens, especially as he travels all over the world,” said Justin Vena, senior avionics sales rep. “We also completely customised the Collins Venue CMS and its monitors and switches.”

One of the more interesting modifications that captivated the team and customer alike was the way the Venue touchscreen switches were mounted.

“Completions and modifications sales rep Adam Bruce and I worked with our engineers and cabinet shop team to create a bump-out feature that mounts the switches at a 45° angle instead of flush with the drink rails,” said Vena. “I saw a picture of a mythical aircraft, showed it to the team, and they created it. It’s one of the customer’s favourite features!”

Throughout the cabin, there’s very little Duncan Aviation technicians didn’t touch. The cabin was reconfigured so the forward four seats were set aside as a crew-rest area. “It makes a lot of sense when you think about it,” said Krawczak. “The crew uses the forward lav and now their rest area is right there, too, so they don’t have to walk the length of the aircraft and through the cabin to reach the aft lav.”

The owner’s family is frequently aboard the G550, so the owner’s wife took an active role in the material choices and focused on the overall appearance of the interior, especially the veneer.

“We put new veneer and countertops in the galley, and as the floor in the galley is a high-traffic area, we went with vinyl,” said Krawczak. “We also moved a curtain forward to close off the cabin, and the customer opted for a luxurious-looking material that provided additional sound-proofing.”

Duncan Aviation’s teams also updated the cabin with new ALI LED lights, carpet, shades, seats, several new flatscreen monitors, a credenza and a divan. It enhanced the existing onboard internet speed and connectivity experience by installing a new high-speed router and equipment from Satcom Direct.

The teams also updated the look and feel of the flight deck, cleaning up the pedestal, touching up surfaces where paint had chipped, and putting in new seat covers and soft goods.

“Our teams outdid themselves on this project,” said Bruce. “We’ve worked on this customer’s Learjet 45 and Learjet 60, and his Challenger 605, too. He considers the G550 the crown jewel of his fleet, and he absolutely loved how it turned out. It was a transformative project, and after we finished with it, the G550 looks like a brand-new aircraft.”

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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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