The 1991 Falcon 900 moving through Duncan Aviation’s facility in Lincoln, Neb., has been stripped of her weathered coat in preparation for a makeover in the paint shop, and work continues apace on furnishings and fixtures for the cabin. The schedule slippage described in last month’s bulletin on the project (page 68) has prodded at the heretofore cheerful optimism of operator Volo Aviation, and the owner has taken up Duncan on its offer of substitute lift beyond the original August 18 target for delivery of the completed airplane. Beyond that date, Duncan Aviation is providing him with a chartered aircraft for the direct operating cost of his own, currently immobilized Falcon 900.
As of August 23, the revised target for handover of the finished airplane is October 6, following first flight to check the proper operation of airplane systems on September 5. Volo pilots Chauncey Webb and John Bowley alone will be aboard for that flight. Between those two dates, says Webb, he and Bowley, accompanied by Duncan and Honeywell technicians as appropriate, will fly the airplane for 20-plus hours to test the new avionics and to confirm that everything works as expected once the machine is cold-soaked at altitude.
In the meantime, Webb and Bowley have undergone some training on the new Honeywell avionics that await them in the finished airplane. The two traveled to FlightSafety’s Wilmington, Del., facility and received about seven hours of instruction from a Honeywell test pilot armed with PowerPoint presentations and plenty of hands-on experience. At Lincoln, Webb has also spent time in a powered-up Hawker with the new avionics for more familiarization. At press time, Webb was working on scheduling a Honeywell visit to Volo’s Connecticut base to train half a dozen more pilots.
Once all the avionics have been approved, an FAA inspector will ride in the jumpseat (insurance was an issue with putting him in either of the two pilot seats) to observe and confirm that everything works as advertised by Duncan in its certification paperwork.