FLY ING C OLOURS
EXECLINER CONVERSION PROGRAMME BEGINS
Flying Colours Corp had been around since 1989, and
completed plenty of interior projects, including its first
Challenger 601 refurbishment and modification in
1992. However, its ExecLiner programme, launched in
2005, saw the company jump from 5,000-10,000-hour
refurbishments to projects in excess of 25,000 hours.
Since launch, 34 CRJ200s have received the treatment.
The programme was devised initially for an Indian
client, as a clever way to get around the fact that there
was a four-year wait at the time for Bombardier
Challenger 850s. Flying Colours instead stripped
the regional airline interior from a Bombardier
CRJ200, installed a VIP interior and developed
an STC for an auxiliary fuel tank.
“It was basically starting from scratch
from an engineering and build standpoint,”
says Eric Gillespie, executive vice
president at Flying Colours. “It was a huge eye opener
for us in terms of workscope and workload, and the
amount of people needed.”
Demand for the model took off. “We had anywhere
from 10 to 20 of these projects at one point, and
customers all over the world,” says Gillespie.
This led to the 2009 acquisition of JetCorp Technical
Services in St Louis, Missouri. “We were bidding on
the same project and they came to us wanting to buy
the fuel system,” says Gillespie. “We couldn’t keep up
with demand, while their parent company was having
financial issues. So we bought the company and they
took overflow on the CRJ programme.”
JetCorp’s maintenance expertise married nicely with
Flying Colours’ refurbishment experience, which Gillespie
says enabled both facilities to grow and led to the
completion of larger jets.
TAKING ON CHALLENGER 850 COMPLETIONS
The CRJ work grew into Challenger 850
completions. Flying Colours delivered its first full
green completion on the type in 2008, from its
headquarters in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.
At that time, customers could buy the green
aircraft from Bombardier and have the interior
completed at the centre of their choice.
Flying Colours has completed 15 such
aircraft, and the last five were done directly for
Bombardier. “That took us to another level with
Bombardier,” says Gillespie. “The relationship
has grown over the last decade; it’s been one
thing after another. You can try to plan as much
as you can, but some of this you can’t plan for.
We’re very entrepreneurial in responding to what
customers want. That’s why customers like
Bombardier like us, because we’re flexible and
can do unique installations. That’s very much
at the core of our business.
Gillespie says Flying Colours still sees
some interest in CRJ conversions, and a lot in
Challenger 850s. One of the original completions
is now back in St Louis for refurbishment.
The company is
now building its largest
facility yet – another
hangar in Peterborough,
Canada, which will be able to
accommodate airliners, and
also includes a fourth