Modular BBJ-C fills multi-mission niche
So your best friend has a nicely appointed Boeing Business Jet. Big deal. Your BBJ is also nicely appointed, and it has room for your new Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4, a million-dollar automobile that comes as close to flying as any road car ever built. Now that’s one-upmanship, and New Zealand-based completion and refurbishment specialist Altitude VIP Interiors (Booth No. 1639) has just the airplane you’re looking for.
Altitude, with facilities in Auckland, is at EBACE promoting its new BBJ-C, based on the BBJ Convertible variant with a large cargo door forward. The idea of a dual-role cabin is not unusual, but Altitude has taken it a step (maybe even several steps) beyond by offering a choice of five palletized modules for the discriminating owner–cargo, economy seating, business class seating, medevac and executive/VIP and any combination of those five. Each module is created as an independent cabin zone and each is rolled into the cabin via the 140-inch by 96.5-inch cargo door.
The standard executive/VIP module offers a range of layouts that include conference and dining areas, double-club executive seating, side-facing divans and a master suite. Or the module can be more highly personalized to match the tastes of the owner.
The cargo space can cover the total 800-sq-ft floor area, or a portion thereof. However, if it is a fraction of the total cabin, it must be placed forward to allow loading through the forward cargo door. Aware that the owner may wish to carry several of his prize race horses, or the Veyron, there is the option of a “grand entrance” via the starboard side door in the aircraft tail.
There are also four permanent galley and lavatory options, two forward and two aft. One of the aft choices includes a lavatory, vanity with wash basin, storage space and a shower.
Altitude figures the time for a standard “quick-change” is less than eight hours; however, it assumes most configurations would be switched considerably more quickly. The more lengthy change times are required when overhead bins and PSU panels have to be removed to accommodate a particular configuration.
Depending on the weight of the modules, the maximum range of the aircraft is approximately 5,200 nm and the cruise speed is about Mach 0.82.
According to Altitude head of commercial and VIP aircraft Matthew Woolaston, the cost of a multi-role refurbishment or configuration of a new aircraft is not necessarily any more than that of a standard cabin completion project, other than the expense of palletizing the modules and the cost of certification.
The modular change-out system, said Woolaston, offers “a solution that enables the same aircraft to deliver a head of state in the morning and fly a humanitarian mission in the afternoon.”
He added that Altitude is in discussions with two clients interested in the BBJ-C solution and partner Rainsford Mann Design in the UK has been retained to do the design work.