Flying Colours the maintenance, refurbishment and completion specialist has signed an agreement with, Conair Group Inc., a leading provider of fixed wing aerial firefighting aircraft, to modify six production Q400MR aircraft to support multi-purpose missions.
Flying Colours will be responsible for the engineering, fabrication, installation, certification and completion of four different cabin interiors to support passenger, cargo, combi-transport and medevac special missions. In passenger mode, the interior will accommodate up to 64 passengers; the full air freighter mode will transport up to nine tons of cargo; while the medevac format will support up to six stretchers, associated medical equipment and clinical team. The combined passenger/cargo interior will carry up to 19 passengers along with freight.
As part of the modification process Flying Colours will integrate a customized Inmarsat Cobham Aviator 700 system. This will enable flexible communications and connectivity via the Inmarsat network that can be adapted for each aircraft mission.
The first aircraft will be inducted in March 2018 at the Flying Colours KSUS St. Louis, MO. facility. The subsequent aircraft modifications will take place over the next several years. When redelivered each aircraft will benefit from access to four interior options, that can be quickly switched in and out, according to mission requirements. Each aircraft will also incorporate an upgraded version of Conair’s proprietary Retardant Delivery System which will carry more water, or retardant, than the existing 10 000 litre capacity. The retardant tank can be easily removed and installed in the field within a few hours. The ability to easily change the aircraft to one of five different mission options will maximise operational efficiency, and costs, in a diverse range of operating environments.
Flying Colours will use its considerable experience in the completions field to fulfil the specialty aircraft mandate. “We have been awarded the project based on our extensive know-how and capabilities having worked on complex special mission projects for military and governments around the world. We worked hard throughout the highly competitive bid process to demonstrate that we will provide an innovative approach to completing a multi-faceted project. This is the first time that a Q400 has had all these interior types configured for a single fuselage, it’s a unique project and we are delighted to have been awarded the contract,” said Sean Gillespie, Executive VP Flying Colours Corp.
“This is a very important project for Conair Group Inc. as it maximizes the potential of the interior of the aircraft while maintaining its exceptional ability as an aerial firefighting aircraft. We selected Flying Colours as it is renowned for its flexibility and expertise in missionizing aircraft to very particular cabin specifications,” added Barry Marsden, Chairman & CEO, Conair.