Gore Design Completions has received its first supplemental type certificate (STC) for a Boeing BBJ3 completion. According to Joseph Barrett, Gore senior manager of programs, the completion took approximately 16 months and is for a Middle Eastern customer.
The BBJ3 is based on the 737-900ER. The -900 has been in commercial service since 2001 and Boeing announced its availability as a BBJ3 in 2005. The BBJ has 1,120 sq ft of cabin space, and compared to the original BBJ, by cabin volume the BBJ3 is 35 percent larger, 28 feet longer and weighs 16,700 pounds more at takeoff. Typical executive configurations are from eight to 50 passengers. With 25 aboard, the BBJ3 can fly 5,200 nm unrefueled at speeds up to 470 knots.
The BBJ3 completed by Gore features PATS auxiliary fuel tanks, custom kitchen, a shower, twin satcoms and satellite television. “The level of elegance on this aircraft was more than a VIP, this was more on the line of a VVIP interior,” Barrett said.
Gore (Booth No. 1763) is currently operating at capacity, with three wide-body and one narrow-body completions ongoing in its San Antonio hangars and more projects on the ramp. “We are certainly blessed,” he said.
Customers are trending to more sophisticated cabin electronics and higher-end fabrics, Barrett said. “We are finding that more and more customers are tech savvy. We are seeing a generational shift in the ownership. The folks acquiring these aircraft now are in their 40s and 50s and quite turned on by the technology. They know what kind of handheld phones they want to use because they are already using them in their daily lives. They want to be able to come onto the aircraft and use the same phone. We can do that on a foreign-registered aircraft and that is easily managed from a VVIP point of view.”
This desire carries over to other personal electronics, Barrett said. “When the contract is signed it can be one to three years before it is delivered, depending on the size of the aircraft and the interior’s complexity. As you go through the evolution of installing these beautiful interiors, the clients want the latest generation of technology. We tend to use a lot of in-flight entertainment systems and cabin management systems from Custom Control Concepts. Their technology fits properly with these VVIP interiors with high-definition and touchscreen capability and inclusion of iPads to control these systems. The customers are satisfied with what they get.”
When it comes to fabrics, silk is all the rage. “We’re seeing more silks used on cabin deco panels and in the carpeting for decorative patterns. A popular carpet blend is 70 percent wool and 30 percent silk inserts,” Barrett said.
Customer flight departments receive custom interior maintenance manuals tailored to their specific aircraft. “Every one of these aircraft is unique,” Barrett said. “They all have their own level of challenges.”