Renovation Hardware: Falcon 900 is back in service

 - November 8, 2006, 8:15 AM

Now that refurbishment of the Falcon 900 is finished and the jet is back in service, the experience for the owner and managers of the airplane can probably best be summed up thus: “The end result will be enjoyed long after the trials and tribulations of the journey have been forgotten.”

As with any “first,” the conversion process that transformed the flight deck, cabin and exterior of this 15-year-old Falcon 900 into something every bit as stunning as a new jet was not without its bumps, as chronicled in these pages for the past six months. Integration problems with the Honeywell CDS/R cockpit suite turned into delays that occasionally tested the harmony of the players (Duncan Aviation Lincoln, Honeywell and aircraft management company Volo Aviation), but these hurdles have faded now that the airplane is back in service and the owner is, in the words of Volo director of aviation Robert Tod, “impressed with the interior, paint and avionics, and looking forward to realizing the benefits of the work performed.”

Tod puts the delays in perspective: “Delivery was made, and the system is effectively as described. A few components and features of the system are not operating properly, but Duncan and Honeywell have already addressed the majority of these through software changes that we hope to integrate, along with file graphics servers for displaying charts on the PFDs, in the spring.”

Volo director of operations Chauncey Webb noted that during the one-hour first flight every aircraft system worked as advertised. “We debriefed, and were airborne again for a three-hour flight to shake down the Duncan installation. We tested everything you can imagine. We checked each and every mode and function of every avionic system on the airplane, including 10 instrument approaches. We came back with several problems that turned out to be software issues from Honeywell, as well as some faulty wiring connections. After seven more flights totaling 11 hours with FAA certification pilots, the STC was finally issued. All in all, I am extremely satisfied with the outcome of the project. The display is fantastic, easy to learn and an easy transition for anyone with just a little EFIS experience. After 25 hours on the aircraft, I am confident we made the right decision and that the aircraft will serve the owner and Volo Aviation well.”

We’ll follow up in a few months.