Flying Colours has completed the reconfiguration of a third Bombardier Challenger 850 for an undisclosed Fortune 500 company based in North America. Flying Colours actually completed the aircraft’s original VIP cabin in 2011. The aircraft returned earlier in 2020 to be reconfigured into a 19-passenger corporate shuttle.
Flying Colours was involved in this project from the aircraft sourcing stage. Experts at its headquarters in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, identified three potential aircraft for the customer, and technicians were dispatched to evaluate the merits of each model. On final selection, Flying Colours worked as a liaison between the relevant parties, resulting in a successful pre-purchase inspection and sale.
The technical project included extensive maintenance work, avionics upgrades and a complete interior reconfiguration at Flying Colours’ facility in St. Louis, Missouri. The external paint application was completed at the recently opened paint shop in Peterborough.
“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,” said Sean Gillespie, executive vice president at Flying Colours. “The project provided a great showcase for our end-to-end service; there are not many organisations that can provide such an integrated offering. 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 and functional yet comfortable interior. The layout was remodelled to include a four-place club format plus built-in side counter worktables at the front; a middle segment of three rows of 2-1 seating; and an aft four-seat club group with a half-club arrangement opposite. A forward galley with ample storage space, and front and back lavatories fulfil the mandate.
The Alto Cadence Switch System (CSS) provides a comprehensive CMS and Collins Aerospace’s 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. A new “gaseous” passenger oxygen system was certified and installed to align with the equipment fitted in the first two Challenger 850 conversions. Gogo Avance L5 provides inflight connectivity, while USB charging ports feature in each of the standard business-class seats.
Flight deck upgrades include the installation of the Safe Flight International AutoPower auto-throttle system, and ADS-B Out version two, plus enhancements to the ProLine IV avionics suite and a TCAS upgrade to incorporate change 7.1. The aircraft was also equipped with a Runway Awareness and Advisory System including smart take-off and landing capabilities, from Honeywell Aerospace. A multiple-channel Iridium phone system supports FANS and ICARS capability.
Maintenance work included 12/24/48/96-month airframe inspections and a 120-month landing-gear inspection, plus additional miscellaneous inspection tasks.
“This aircraft clearly demonstrates our comprehensive offering and the high levels of expertise we deliver under one roof,” said Gillespie. “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.”