In the realm of aviation, adaptability is not just a luxury but a necessity. Aircraft owners and operators often face the challenge of configuring their cabins to meet diverse needs, from providing medical evacuation capabilities to offering luxurious VIP experiences. This challenge becomes even more complex when considering the resale value of the aircraft. How can one balance the need for a medivac setup with the desire to maintain the pristine condition of a VIP configuration for future buyers?
QCM Design, a trusted leader in the design and certification of modifications based in Switzerland, recently tackled this challenge, in collaboration with a Part-145 organization who would be installing the modification, and an aircraft interior manufacturer who would be producing the bulkhead.
The main objective of this project was to convert the aircraft, previously used for transporting VIP passengers, for medivac use, which included modifying the bulkhead to allow stretchers for medical patients to be quickly and easily brought on and off the aircraft. As the bulkhead protects passengers from the main door, the coldest and loudest part of a business jet, removing the bulkhead completely was not an option.
Another consideration when designing a solution was the operator’s desire to avoid modifying the original bulkhead, ultimately preserving the aircraft’s resale value.
In response to this brief, QCM Design designed a lightweight bulkhead consisting of three quick-release fittings, allowing for rapid installation and removal, as necessary for medivac use. This solution could be easily removed and reinstalled by the medical crew, rather than requiring a maintenance professional to be present.
This approach eliminated the need for a cut-out for a stretcher to be made in the original bulkhead, which would have compromised the luxurious feel of the VIP configuration and created logistical challenges due to the presence of numerous cables in the original bulkhead. By opting for a quick-release bulkhead, the operator could transform the aircraft for medivac use while keeping the original bulkhead in pristine condition, should they want to revert back to the VIP configuration for operational use or resale value in the future.
The project involved meticulous planning and coordination for design, certification, and structural analysis. QCM Design’s expertise ensured that the design, drawings, and materials for the modified bulkhead met all applicable certification safety standards and load requirements, including rigorous flammability testing.
The entire project, from conception to completion, took approximately two weeks. This timeline included one week for modifications, during which the original bulkhead was removed to allow for measurements to be taken, new designs to be created, and templates to be made accordingly. Meanwhile, our production partner fabricated the new bulkhead based on QCM Design’s approved drawings and the templates, ensuring a perfect fit upon installation.
One of the most impressive aspects of this project was its seamless integration into existing operations. The aircraft could continue to operate with its original bulkhead while the new bulkhead was being designed and produced, minimizing downtime and disruption to the operator. Once the new bulkhead was ready, it was swiftly installed during the next maintenance cycle, accompanied by comprehensive manuals for continued airworthiness and operational instructions, also developed by QCM Design as part of its design and certification process.
QCM Design’s innovative, tailor-made approach to aircraft interior modifications sets a new standard for versatility in the industry. By seamlessly integrating medivac and VIP configurations while preserving the integrity of the original bulkhead, they demonstrate a commitment to meeting the unique needs of aircraft owners and operators alike. As the aviation industry continues to evolve, solutions like these will play a crucial role in ensuring that aircraft interiors are not just functional but also adaptable to meet the diverse needs of passengers, owners, and operators alike.
QCM Design is an EASA Approved Part-21 DOA with over 10 years’ experience helping clients to achieve their creative and technical design goals, while ensuring that the highest safety regulations and industrial quality standards for their aircraft are met.
As well as assisting with the certification of minor and major changes to airplanes and helicopters, we offer tailor-made solutions for any desired design concept, including the installation of new avionics or electronics systems, cabin interiors, galleys, or various other equipment installations.
For more information about how we can assist you with any design changes, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.qcm.ch/doa/