23 - 25 May, 2023
Issue 8 May, 2023
Issue 8 May 2023
Gulstream G-650 "Amor" shown with vintage Ferarri
In this issue catch our Jetzign feature: Ms. Aurora Saboir shows off her unique style and talents on the above G-650, plus others.
F E A T U R E S
1 Transformation of a Vision (ATG) - Alexander Craker / Thomas Chatfield
7 A World of Luminescence - Organic Jet Cabin Bling
11 Design Legends - the European Heavyweights
18 Cabin Culture - The Inside Dope on VVIP travel
26 Jetzign Feature - Aurora Saboir's G-650 "Amor"
Issue 8 May, 2023
JetCabin Freshbook 2023 . all rights reserved
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Rick W. Roseman
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D E P A R T M E N T S
Boeing 787-9 at sunset / photo courtesy of Boeing
Words from the Editor
May means two things to me. Firstly, it's the spot on perfect time of year to sit outside at the local pubs. So, there's that. But secondly of course it's EBACE month, this year from the 23-25th - and always of course in picturesque Geneva. Of course the real reason any of us attend is to hang out with friends and colleagues - and maybe attend a party or two. Oh sure, we want to see all the new stuff at the show - but for me, that means showing up at the crack o' noon, walking the show and figuring where I'll spend the evening. Not trying to sound like a slacker or anything - but I kinda figure I work my tail off the whole rest of the year - so come Geneva time, it's kinda all about me.
And while we're on both those subjects, I'll be further honest and cop to the fact that on years I attend, I usually stay over a day or two and drive up the lake to Montreux. As if this little lakeside enclave wasn't cool enough already, it just also happens to be the the site of the Montreux Jazz Festival - this year celebrating its 57th year. Only done it once, but it was just about as much fun as a man can have and still be legal. So maybe I'm due for a repeat this year!
And then of course, there's the Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic - with a "killer" outdoor bar overlooking the lake - replete with plenty of alpine air and McCallun 12 to sip on.
So yea, it's Geneva month . . . and I applaud whoever it was that first decided to host EBACE every year in this awesome little slice of Switzerland. Hope to see you there.
Richard Roseman - Co-founder / Editor
First Visit? JCF Magazine is about jet interiors, and only jet interiors; the designers that design them, the centers that build them and above all, the cabin supplier groups - worldwide, that ultimately make it all possible.
If your company belongs to one of these groups, let yourself subscribe to something worthwhile for a change. Stay fresh, participate and grow .
We’re Changing the Way you think about Aviation Magazines
No flip viewers...no thumbing pages, no zooming to read text or adjusting scale to see images. Just smooth scrollable content, smartly written feature articles, full-width ads from the top companies in the world. Plus exciting departments that bring the FRESHEST in new rollouts and present the latest trends. Plus you'll always find glimpses of the near-term future of cabin design and products. And best of all, it's all interactive with video, live links and instant access to the people and extended content you're interested in.
A collaborative synopsis by designer Alexander Craker and Thomas Chatfield (Camber Aviation) on what it takes to bring the 'visceral' to the 'physical'.
© 2023 Alexander Craker
Alexander Craker Thomas Chatfield
The process of transforming a client’s vision into a fully realised, beautifully outfitted jet can be complex and demanding, as there are many specific factors to consider – any of which can derail the entire project if approached incorrectly. Using a professional completion management service, in conjunction with a talented and experienced designer, a deeply complex project can become a rewarding process for the client. The designer holds a pivotal role in the process by transforming abstract concepts into reality and, in collaboration with the completion manager, can use technical expertise, materials knowledge and experience to create a beautiful and luxurious living space without compromising on performance or safety.
Renowned jet interior designer, Alexander Craker, has worked with Camber on several projects and uses his wealth of technical knowledge to supplement his artistic vision to create exceptional design concepts. Alexander says: “My experience has allowed me to develop a Design Systems approach to my work where under understanding how design choices affect operational effectivity, delivery, cost effectiveness and long term customer satisfaction.”
In this article, we’ll look at the design stage of the process, picking up after the aircraft has been selected and exploring how the designer and completion manager work together with the client to merge beauty, function and innovation into a stunning design, ready for the outfitting phase.
standing how design choices affect operational effectivity, delivery, cost effectiveness and long term customer satisfaction.”
In this article, we’ll look at the design stage of the process, picking up after the aircraft has been selected and exploring how the designer and completion manager work together with the client to merge beauty, function and innovation into a stunning design, ready for the outfitting phase.
Let's take a walk through the various critical phases - from early concepts to final inspections and redelivery.
23 - 25 May, 2023
A Lake, The Swiss Alps, The Jet Biz . . . What Are You Waiting On?
BBJ Max Concept by: Cheryl Pelly Design
"The top DESIGN studios around the world are absolutely the ones that inform the industry and set the new trends."
Jetzign is where we highlight the very latest from the top designers and studios. Whether it be the iconic independents or the great design departments within the world's top completion centers, this is where you will find their latest works - and always with an emphasis on the near-term future of cabin design.
SkyYacht ONE / courtesy: Sotto Studios
by: Melissa Tokoriyama - Special Contributor
In technical terms Mother of Pearl is a completely organic bioluminescent material harvested from from the inner lining of both freshwater and saltwater pearls. Even the name itself rolls off the tongue beautifully - and certainly it evokes beauty in almost any context. But within the confines of an aircraft interior, mother of pearl can transform otherwise mundane elements into jewel-like architectural statements - unexpected corners of luminescent beauty and playfullness for the eye. Siminetti, a quite unique and very special company in the UK, has developed a process that separates the paper-thin, diaphanous pearl veneers from sustainably grown saltwater Pacific pearl shells and can lay them up onto pretty much any smooth substraight and in almost any shape imaginable. But it gets better. Mother of Pearl itself is naturally flame retardant so you can skip the flame testing - and with Siminetti's unique process of extracting the veneers, the weight is virtually inconsequential. Let's face it, custom aircraft interiors are challenging - challenging to design and challenging to build. And at the end of the day, the tactile materials you put into them, makes up a huge part of the success of their outcome. For my money, mother of pearl is one of those materials that have an almost universal appeal. Customer's love it and used in the right proportions, it can "WOW" like few other materials.
Siminetti works with some of the world’s leading Designers, Architects and Private customers to offer one of the most elegant surface finishes available. Utilizing both fresh and saltwater pearl, they can produce Mosaics and Decorative Panels in a series of stunning colors, styles and patterns with all of their pearl being sourced from eco-friendly sustainable sources. Harvesting only from the finest Fresh & Saltwater pearl farms around the world, Siminetti has built an enviable reputation, both in the yacht and architectural spaces. But only in the last couple of years has Siminetti begun to cater to the private aviation market. Due to weight and other factors, their products are extremely well suited for aircraft cabins. They can decorate bulkheads, walls, table surfaces and even wet areas, such as showers and lav basins. Their mosaics pass burn, are extremly lightweight and are certified to BS EN ISO 10545 therefore not requiring sealant for use in wet-rooms or sinks.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Simon Powell, the company's CEO and Operations Director (and then marketing director Lulu Laidlaw-Smith), a few months back. The conversation was inspiring and sets out a line of products and applications that would tantalize almost any aviation designer, be it within a modern or traditional design theme. Also JCFM's founder, Rick Roseman opens the interview with a little story of his own, that will resonate with many designers I'm sure. Just tap the link below and follow the full article.
TCS World Travel Adventures
On a recent trip abroad, I encountered a strange situation. Oh, I knew it was coming. We all did. We were all there for the same opportunity. But what I didn't know was how cool and rewarding it would turn out to be. On the first morning of business, there I was, sitting in a room (the same room) with nine other designers (a.k.a. competitors). Was it a little strange all sitting around staring at each other, knowing we were chasing the same donut. Ahhh. . . yea! But here's the big surprise. By the end of that evening, all ten of us had cozed up in the hotel bar downing adult beverages and watching the Grand Prix on an I-pad. And these weren't newbies mind you, they were, and are legends - designers, whose studios are ubiquitous in private aviation, around the world. Now, for whatever reasons, I was the only Yank - probably a snafu on the invite list - but I reckon my point is this. I will never again feel about my competitors quite the way I likely did before this trip. Turns out, it's a very nice feeling being in the company of your peers, people whom you respect, and people whose careers have aligned with your own. Regardless of where we go from here, or who takes the donut home, this lot are friends now, each and all - and so what better time to re-acquaint our readers with each of them and their studios.
-- Richard Roseman
And so with no further ado, here are "The Nimble Nine" + two
Greig Jolly - Winch Design (London)
Winch Design is a globally leading multi-disciplinary studio, specialising in the bespoke design of private jets, superyachts, residential and commercial properties. The studio was founded in 1986 by Andrew Winch and his wife, Jane, and now comprises of over 150 talented individuals who have designed and delivered some of the most iconic designs of the 21st century. Situated in an old fire station on the banks of the river Thames, Winch Design prides itself on having brought to life the dreams of its clients for the last 37 years; creating bespoke homes on land, in the air and at sea.
In the aviation studio, there are a number of projects underway including a Global 6000, BBJ Max 9 and a widebody concept on the drawing board. Some of the studio’s signature work includes delivering the first fully private Dreamliner, a Falcon 7X jet with an exterior inspired by Van Gogh’s artwork ‘A Starry Night’, and an Airbus ACJ319 with a gentleman’s club-inspired interior featuring a classic period style library with a hidden door into the master suite.
At the centre of the company are its people. In July 2021, Winch Design became fully employee owned. Employee ownership sits beautifully with the Winch ethos which has always placed the highest value on its people, whose loyalty, talent and commitment have played a vital part in the success of the business.
Greig Jolly, Partner, Yachts & Aviation
Greig originally joined Winch Design in 2005 for a year as a Junior Designer after graduating from Coventry University with a degree in Automotive Design. He went on to follow his passion for automotive design elsewhere but re-joined the team in 2008, lured by the prospect of working on private jet projects. Currently a Partner within the Yachts and Aviation department, Greig enjoys working on wide body aircraft projects, delivering the largest to date in 2021.
Fahad Hariri - Pinto Design (Paris)
Paris based decorators, Pinto, continues to master the art of creating luxurious interiors, from residences to yachts and private jets. With over 20 years of experience in aviation design, Pinto specializes in finding the right balance in delivering, comfort, elegance and a high end quality products. Every cabin is made to measure, from furniture, to fabrics, carpets, bed linens, tableware, uniforms, etc., without compromising the technical systems to enhance the travel experience. In fact, combining these various skills and elements result in unique, warm, and luxurious interiors.
Fahad Hariri, Pinto Design CEO
Born in 1980, Fahad Hariri is a collector, and an art and design enthusiast who graduated from the École Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris. He dedicated the early years of his career to real estate before becoming the new owner and CEO of PINTO in 2020.
An architect who graduated from Paris’s École Spéciale d’Architecture, Fahad Hariri is also a collector with a passion for the decorative arts. Since 2011, he has established close ties with Alberto Pinto, entrusting the practice with five personal projects. During that time as a client, Fahad Hariri has developed a taste for interior architecture and interior design. So when in 2020 Linda Pinto announced her decision to step down, it was only natural for him to come forward and express his interest in taking over the practice he had come to know so well.
Howard Guy - Design Q (Worcestershire, England)
Formed in 1997, Design Q has grown and developed to become a leading independent transport design consultancy with a client base that includes some of the world’s most famous brands. Building on automotive design expertise, Design Q soon diversified, establishing an enviable reputation in the aircraft industry. With years of experience in commercial aircraft interiors, the company has developed many ground-breaking products for clients such as Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific. Design Q have also been prolific in the business jet sector - producing class-leading designs for Bombardier across their Learjet, Challenger and Global brands. Utilizing latest practices and technology, Design Q’s highly motivated team of experienced designers and engineers offer a comprehensive design service - from concept sketches, visualization and branding to working prototypes, A-class surfacing and fully engineered, production-ready products.
Howard Guy - Founder / CEO
Inspired by the 1960’s TV show ‘Thunderbirds’, Howard spent his childhood dreaming and designing remarkable things. Howard obtained a BA Honours degree in Industrial Design and Engineering before successfully gaining a place at The Royal College of Art in London, where he went on to achieve a Master’s Degree in Automotive Design. Howard began at Jaguar Cars in 1987 where he took concept designs through to production with engineering and the supply base. Later progressing to Principal Designer in 1993 he established the marketing direction on the iconic Jaguar XJ6 series. In 1997 Howard Guy formed Design Q with fellow Jaguar designer Gary Doy. For Howard, Design Q was born out of a desire to venture into the unknown and to be more ambitious and forward thinking in the world of design. Howard’s objective now is to elevate Design Q’s clients higher than the rest, creating products that are “bigger, faster and sexier”
Grischa Alexis Schmidt - Jet Aviation (Basel, Switzerland)
Jet Aviation Completions
Since 1977 Jet Aviation has been crafting beautifully customized private aircraft interiors. Each project is one of a kind; a hand-made reflection of an individual aesthetic or idea. Jet Aviation is one of the most experienced centers in the world, with some 70 Airbus Corporate Jet and Boeing Business Jet wide- and narrow-body projects to its name. Having evolved with the industry, the center offers unparalleled experience combining the demands of safety and certification with the flexibility of a bespoke design. A commitment to excellence and personalized service at every stage of the process, and extensive in-house facilities, result in only the finest privat and business aircraft delivered from their hangars in Basel, Switzerland.
Grischa Alexis Schmidt, Senior Director Jet Aviation Design Studio
Grischa Schmidt was appointed Senior Director of the Jet Aviation Design Studio in 2018. He is responsible for leading a team of some 16 interior designers, who work directly with the customer or the customer’s designer to bring a bespoke interior concept to life. He joined Jet Aviation in 2009, as Senior Designer Project Manager. Grischa then left the company to pursue opportunities abroad, before returning again in 2016 as Senior Project Manager, and later taking over as Senior Director of the Jet Aviation Design Studio in 2018. Grischa has over 28 years of design industry experience, with a number of international companies specializing in interior and exterior super yacht design, interior aircraft design, as well as cars and residential interiors. He began his career at BMW Designworks USA in California, before moving to Munich to open the first European branch of BMW Designworks USA and working for external companies and the BMW Group members including, at the time Rolls Royce, and Range Rover. He also owned and led the Cayros design studio in London and Switzerland for ten years.
Warja Borges - Unique Aircraft (Munich, Germany)
At Unique Aircraft we do not create simply a design, we create an atmosphere. Wellbeing on board is as important to us as the design itself and is embedded into the heart of what we do - from the technical functionality to the materials selected, bespoke details and elegant use of lighting, we work tirelessly to ensure the onboard experience caters to all the senses. Our clients say that they can truly feel the Uniqueness.
UNIQUE offers tailored, custom solutions, which respect maintenance and operational needs, appreciating that an aircraft’s main purpose is to be a comfortable and efficient transportation tool. We therefore channel our efforts to ensuring that the designs are right first time and that our speed matches yours in terms of decision making and response.
Our approach is personal - we draw on our knowledge - we act decisively.
Warja Borges - Owner / Director
Warja Borges was born in Munich and raised by an artist mom opening her eyes for culture and art by travelling with here from early age. Ever since, she was always creative in many ways which logically lead to the decision to study design. After 4 years engineering study of interior architecture and design and some years of practice creating interiors for residences and offices, she got the chance to work with Reiner Heim Aircraft Interior Design. For ten years she was with his team designing bespoke interiors for various customers and aircraft types in cooperation with well-known completion center mainly Lufthansa Technik. After fruitful and experiencing years with Reiner Heim she started her own business and became an independent designer. Since 2010 she is working with clients and aviation facilities worldwide.
Warja Borges´ inventiveness skills combined with her knowledge of engineering constrains in the aircraft allows her to extend the limits.
Vincent Rey - M&R Associates Design (Geneva)
M&R are designers. Specialized since 2006 in the highly technical world of aviation, we leverage our expertise to design not just private aircraft, but villas and yachts too. Our creativity is Always guided by the same design principle : imbue each shape with meaning. The complementary expertises of duo of Florent Magnin & Vincent Rey is mainly gained in the aerospace segment over the past 20+ years with the largest aircraft / helicopters manufacturers and completion centres in the world. They strongly believe that the creativity, quality of the work and personal attention to details remain the key factor for a unique design and peace of mind experience
Vincent Rey, Board Member & Creative Director
Vincent spent his childhood amongst his parent’s tapisseries/upholsteries, learning textiles, luxury materials, and paying attention to the finest details very early .
With an apprenticeship of both interior designer, as well as carrying an interior architecture degree, Vincent started his career with the well-known DeMaria Design company in Los Angeles, California, USA, working on very modern and awarded residential/commercial architectures. In 1998, as designer, he joined JET AVIATION Basel, Switzerland, becoming rapidly responsible for the Design & Project Management, in charge of a complete BBJ project followed by four additional BBJs and one B767-300. All these experiences helped him gain technical / production knowledge on narrow and wide body airplanes, as well as interacting with many customers from different cultures. Vincent was also in parallel appointed Deputy of the entire Interior Design Department during this time. After 6 years working with one of the leading completion center in the world, he then joined in 2004 another industry leader, BOMBARDIER Aerospace Business Airplane in Montreal, Canada, Vincent is now one of two Board Members & Creative Directors at M&R.
Ben Rowan - Priestman Goode (London)
Ben Rowan is one of the world's leading aviation designers. Originally from Whakatane - New Zealand, Ben has worked on projects in aviation and marine for the last 20 years. He's a Director for multi-disciplinary consultancy PriestmanGoode, a collective of designers, creative thinkers, practical makers, strategists, and trends forecasters, united by a common vision to imagine and shape a better future. The London-based company is known for transforming and improving everyday experiences in transport, with an estimated 400 million people using products and interiors designed by PriestmanGoode every year.
With a personal passion for visionary thinking and user experience design, Ben has led projects for major commercial clients including: Airbus, Malaysia Airlines, WestJet, SWISS, Collins Aerospace, United Airlines, and the QSuite for Qatar Airways, the Business Class product with movable panels that allow passengers to transform the space, to work, dine or socialise; whether traveling with family friends or business colleagues. The suite is recognised as one of the most innovative Business Class products and continues to win awards 5 years after it was first introduced.
Ben is also in demand with private clients, working with completion centres, and is on the speed dial of some of the world's most notable high-net-worth individuals. Leading his team and working with bespoke makers, craftspeople, and material specialists, he's produced ground-up developments and first-of-a-kind concepts for remarkable private aviation and marine projects.
Francis Munch - Studio E/Motions (Habsheim, France)
Studio E/Motions is a leading Aviation Interior Design and Program Management company focusing in the Private and Corporate aviation world. Founded in 1999 by Francis Munch, Studio E/Motions has been delivering exclusive aircrafts interiors to Heads of State, High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI / VVIP) and Corporations, ranging from a variety of jets to wide body aircraft. A team consisting of designers, 3D artists, engineers, cabinet makers, material specialists and program managers ensure that each “green” aircraft completion or refurbishment, delivers to customer expectations in both design aesthetics and quality, plus within budget and schedule. Based in Habsheim France and Basel Switzerland, Studio E/Motions has built strategic alliances with Customers, Completion Centers and Vendors to create a “win-win” partnership in assessing needs, trends and developing innovative designs. Passion, creativity, expertise and commitment to excellence are the founding pillars of Studio E/Motions.
Francis Munch, Program Manager / General Manager
In summer, 1999, Francis Munch started his own agency under the name Studio E/Motions. The studio is a team of 14 individuals and is composed with Francis Munch as Program manager, Artistic Director & General manager - supported by 3ea Senior Designers / Program managers, 2 ea Senior Engineers / Program managers, 1 Material specialists, 1 High profile woodwork specialist, 1 High profile Upholstery specialist, 4ea 3D modelers and 1ea Management Assistant. On top of his leadership of this full-time permanent team, the company enjoys a worldwide network allowing Studio E / Motions to be represented either in Europe, America, Asia and Middle East regions.
Giuliano Sabadin (Florence, Italy)
Giuliano Sabadin is an Italian designer specializing in interior, concept, and product design with over 14 years of experience serving clients in the aviation, real estate, and automotive industries.
Always passionate about architecture and technology and eager to deepen his knowledge of the processes that link form and function, he dedicated his training to visual design and 3D visualization techniques. His utmost attention to detail and love for materials, led him to realize numerous projects including furniture, buildings, helicopter, yacht, and private jet interiors. Very often collaborating with some of the world's best-known fashion, design, and architecture studios.
During his eight years at one of the most prestigious car manufacturers in Italy's Motor Valley as Creative Design Manager, Giuliano participated in creating all the brand's corporate showrooms worldwide, developing the interior design guidelines that would define the brand's identity from then on. Not only that. Also by his hand are all the pieces of the iconic furniture collection that bear the car manufacturer's signature: luxury objects that perfectly translate the brand's unmistakable design DNA.
When you receive an invitation to some fancy gathering, what's better than getting a Plus 1? Getting a Plus 2!
And that's what's happening here. The "Nimble Nine" above are indeed some of the premier renown designers in Europe, but we would totally be remiss if we left out the renown duo below; two other long time friends of JCF Magazine and
two award winning studios based in Europe - and recognized around the world.
Jacques Pierrejean / Pierrejean Vision (Nice)
Renowned for his work across the domains of aviation, yachting, architecture, and design, Jacques Pierrejean is synonymous with creating works of astounding elegance. He founded the company PIERREJEAN in Paris in 1975 and has since then completed a wide array of projects for renowned companies across the world.
Pierrejean’s philosophy on design and conceptual projects is largely based on nature. He looks for the symbiosis and symmetry in the shapes and forms of flora and fauna, and carries these into his work. Also fascinated by the perfection of the human body, he is inspired and driven by the art of dance, in particular the American dance illusionist company MOMIX. The seeds of much of his creative work have been developed based on beauty of the moving figures, and on the ergonomic refinement their bodies create.
In 2018, he created the PIERREJEAN VISION, which encompasses his 44 years of professional experience into a new and complete brand spanning across all four sectors.
Jean-Pierre Alfano (Toulouse, France)
SAVOIR FAIRE AND EXPERIENCE
Air jet Designs was started by Jean-Pierre Alfano, well known for his innovative and avangarde design projectss. As Creative Director of Air Jet Designs, today he leads a highly talented multi-disciplined team of designers and engineeres with the creativity, savoir-faire, and enthusiasm needed to design modern luxury aircraft and yacht interiors.
With a dual background in Industrial Design and Engineering, he is a sought-after designer that brings fresh ideas, technical know-how, and over 20 years of experience to every project. Jean-Pierre studied design in France, Italy and the United States and completed a Masters degree in Design and Engineering in 1997 at the University of Troyes in France.
Always focused onthe user experience in his design vision, Jean-Pierre favors clean lines combined with superior detailing and traditional luxury craftsmanship, to design upscale interiors, products, and art that make a unique statement.
C H A N G E I S I N T H E A I R
If I asked you to spit out your top-five list of major VVIP completion centers around the world, what would they be and where? I’m betting that among them would likely be the usual suspects in Switzerland, Germany and the US. And just as likely you’d probably not be automatically be including anything in the Netherlands, right?
But I’ll also bet, that if I asked you the very same question a
couple of years from now, you will!
Why? Because FokkerServices Group (rebranded from Fokker Techniek to Fokker Services Group in 2022), sitting on Woensdrecht Airport in the southern part of the Netherlands, just upped their game in a BIG way. Making a huge commitment to VVIP completions, they've nearly completed the construction of a brand-new state of the art 87 x 86 meter wide-body hangar. Such decisions neither come cheap nor are taken haphazardly. Fokker is about to be a serious player in large wide body VVIP completions and it was my pleasure to sit down with Boaz Bal, the company’s Sales Director for VIP Completions, for a discussion on how it all came about, their historical beginnings as an aircraft OEM and some other key aspects that made the timing right.
My first question to Mr. Bal was the obvious one. “Ok” I asked, “so is this the same Fokker Aircraft that actually manufactured commercial aircraft back in the day, like the Fokker 100?”
He grinned and politely replied, “yes, one and the same.” As if he were answering the question for the 60th time in a week. For those of us in the western hemisphere though, that’s mostly the perception we have. Fokker is /was an aircraft OEM, right? And we’d be right, they were. In fact, the company began manufacturing commercial airplanes way back in the 30’s and after more than a half-century of
building and supplying aircraft to major carriers around the world, by the early
nineties, they’re market share began steadily declining until finally in 1996, the OEM division was forced to file bankruptcy. That explains why, for many, the Fokker name has sept into the backfield. And for some, the perception is that the company is simply no longer in existence (other than supporting the operational Fokker fleet). Yet many others are well aware, as I discovered in my conversation with Mr. Bal, that Fokker Services Group is very much alive with five locations scattered around the world and over 1100 employees.
With the OEM division retired, Fokker now concentrates on a range of aircraft services including Aircraft and Component MRO, modification services
and other supply chain oriented support etc. But of course, the division we were interested in discussing was the completions unit. Of Fokker’s 1100 employees, 400 of them reside here and they’ve been busy for a lot longer than most of us know and on quite range of completions. I asked Mr. Bal to elaborate on their history a bit more and some of their interior completions over recent years. He took me through a rather impressive, and unexpected, roster of aircraft including Gulfstreams, a VIP version of the CRJ700, multiple BBJ’s, multiple ACJ’s and last year we contracted an Airbus ACJ-330-300 green completion.
“Yes it's kind of right” he begins, referring to the perception issue. “But we are one of the hidden gems in the industry when it comes to VIP completions. Furthermore we are humble and down-to-earth Dutchies, we prefer to prove it rather than shout it. The company was actually founded in 1919 by Anthony Fokker. He designed and developed all kinds of airplanes, in the early days, primarily serving military applications. But in the 1930s Anthony Fokker increased his focus on commercial aircraft. There’s a lot of history there but let me jump forward a bit. So I believe our first brush with a VVIP was a US billionaire Mr. Van lear Black in the year 1927. He actually chartered the first international flight with a Fokker aircraft from Amsterdam to Batavia city. We couldn’t have predicted at the time of course, but I think that set us on a course for VVIP completions.”
“So at that point, you were manufacturing aircraft, is that correct?"
That’s correct, but because we produced aircraft in those days much the same way as other OEM's (e.g. Gulfstream) – airframe and interior all delivered at once, we were set up to do completions. And those early completions were done in the same place where we do them today. So, we were rather well positioned to capture some of the more affluent and better positioned clients. But it was formally taken over by Fokker in 1967, the manufacturer, the facility opened under other branding 1955 - the site where we do our completions today, has existed since then. In many cases we were used as the end-line of the Fokker product for cabin installations so, when customers wanted very specific items which they couldn't do on the end line, they brought the aircraft from Amsterdam to our location on Woensdrecht Airport and we did all the customizations here.”
“What sort of customizations?”
“Well, for example, cargo loading systems, auxiliary fuel tanks and a number of similar mods but also VVIP jets and other special conversions. We were like the dealership for Fokker aircraft so let's say delivering new airplanes but also for the maintenance and the transitioning from one owner to the other from refurbishment activities - all provided under the Fokker name. So, if you purchased an aircraft, you were able to get the maintenance and everything else done under the OEM’s umbrella. It yielded a lot of advantages for our customers; things like structure issues which were much easier to address because the engineering was also located onsite. There was no line between let's say, the production and engineering departments.”
This question has to be rephrased a little bit. As above and below we are still in the early days of manufacturing.
“Can you name a few examples of high-profile aircraft delivered by Fokker?
“Yes, in the early days, we delivered quite a few head of state aircraft. For example, we delivered a couple of aircraft to the Ford Motor Company as executive jets. Also, many head of states customers all around the globe, including the Argentine Air Force, Gabon Air Force, Ghana’s Air Force, Government of Malaysia and many others, so a lot of specialized Fokker F27, F28, F50, F70 and F100 aircraft. Fokker manufactured and delivered a total of around 1380 F27, F28, F50, F70 and F100 aircraft and close to 100 of them were in VIP or Specialized configurations. Even the Pope flew with the Columbia Air Force F28 Presidential aircraft several years ago.
“Well clearly, you have a long history of completing VVIP aircraft, going back further than most centers in fact. But bring us a bit more current if you can.”
Yes, so as you mentioned earlier, Fokker, the aircraft manufacturing division filed for bankruptcy in 1996. But still of course, many Fokker 100s flew for carriers like American Airlines, KLM, Swiss Air and others. So, the company restarted the next day but primarily as a service company, supporting the TC, maintenance, supply chain and other activities. But with all those manufacturing back-shops etc. still in place at our location, we were well positioned for VVIP completions. Since then, we have completed many ACJ320 family aircraft including the first ever ACJ319 NEO, several BBJs and most recently started with the green completion of the ACJ330-300.”
Dutch head of state BBJ1 aircraft - completed turnkey with BBJ
Dutch head of state BBJ1 aircraft - completed turnkey with BBJ
From Cockpit Crew to Cabin Crew. . . the Inside Dope on the Rich & Famous at 51,000 Ft.
4:40 am EDT – Portland, Maine / Flight Log: March 6th, 2015
It was coming up on 17 years I had flown for Mr. Frederick; 17 good years. He always treated me well and whenever he was the only passenger on board, he would often invite me to dinner with him wherever we happened to be. We would exchange mostly frivolous conversation, which he seemed to enjoy. He was an intense individual by nature and so I think he enjoyed my sense of humor as levity to the otherwise demanding life he led. Still I was careful to not “get loose” with him as I’m inclined to do on occasion with my mates. The boss is the boss…and in this kind of job, it’s never a good idea to let that hierarchy get out of balance.
Edwin Alton Frederick had made his money fairly early in life becoming a millionaire by the time he was 30. He was a coffee importer and routinely traveled back-and-forth to places like Colombia, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. His first jet had been a Lear 55 back in the early 90s but since that time he had progressively worked his way up through the echelons; first with the falcon 50 then a Gulfstream lV and, as of ten months ago, a new Gulfstream 650.
The boss had always looked at his aircraft as tools more than anything or at least that's what he projected but in the case of the 650 he was prouder of it than anything he had ever owned or aspired to. He had employed an outside designer and labored with both her and Gulfstream's design department to get the interior perfect. She was quite elegant but not over-the-top. He always said he wanted the cabin to feel like his living room at home and save the curved sidewalls, that’s pretty much the way her cabins look and feel. It is comfortable, inviting and he’s always anxious to bring his colleagues and friends aboard.
More than most men I know, the boss has a refined appreciation for things. I never felt like he took for granted anything he has, including his family, the multiple homes he owned or even the clothes he wore. He had grown up the son of a policeman in Boothbay, MN (up the coast from Portland) where he shared a small house with four siblings. As he often said “we didn’t have two nickels to rub together” referring to his upbringing.
He appreciated the life he had and the journey that got him there. He was an innately skilled businessman and could smell bullshit a mile down the tracks. But with people he liked, he was always gracious and humble.
Just out of college, he bought a small coffee store in Portland where he had spent his adolescent years. It eventually lead to opening two more and that eventually led to meeting the “new products director” for Whole Foods in 2000. Whole Foods had purchased a piece of land in Portland’s central business district and were planning to build their first store in the state of Maine. They were seeking to have a local independent coffee bar inside the store.
“Portland this is echo foxtrot two-niner… we're rolling.”
When the opportunity came along he decided to make a trip back to Costa Rica where he was born and had lived until he was 13. He made three trips to a small village called Monteverde, not far from where he'd grown up. Before it was done he had locked up a deal to supply coffee to 29 whole foods in the northern tier states. The boss was a personable soft-spoken man and it's clear to me that his original desire was not to make a fortune but to bring a new coffee experience to his customers and to see and feel the coffee beans in the soil from which they came.
At any rate, by the time he was 32, he sat on a US coffee importing empire that stretched from Vancouver to Atlanta. And while he was proud of his accomplishments, I never got the sense that his demeanor and overall persona was much different than it had been back when he started that first coffee store.
The boss had called me two afternoons earlier asking me to file a flight plan to Miami, where he would pick up his daughter, then on to Anguilla in the British Carribean. Altogether it would be roughly nine hours in the air.
His only daughter, Anja would turn 21 in two days and she loved the Carribean, having lived on multiple islands during summers between collage semesters. But her big love affair was with Anguilla. Only 16 miles long and 3 miles wide, it was the northerly most island in the Lesse Antilles, and it was the crown of the British controlled Carribean territories. She'd worked there for two summers at one of the major resorts and scorned anyone who dared contest her assertion that Anguilla had the best beaches in the world.
It was early March and the pre-dawn air temperature was 11°; not uncommon for Maine this time of year. The cabin was almost as cold as the outside air when my crew and I arrived. I rubbed my hands as I crawled into the cockpit to fire up the APU.
The boss hadn't arrived yet but he wanted to be in the air by 5:30 so I knew he would be driving through the gates of the FBO at any moment.
It wasn't hard to spot his car. It was a Range Rover unlike any you’d find in the showroom. And it’s color matched the G650 identically.
The design team at Gulfstream / Long Beach had presented several paint schemes, all of which the boss politely declined. In fact his delayed decisions over paint was holding up the delivery of the aircraft when one day he showed up and spilled a small sack of coffee out onto the conference table. He told the designers this was the color he wanted. Three days later the sample was complete; a stunning rich coffee brown with a slight infusion of pearl essence. After looking at it only a few minutes he signed the order and the plane finally went for paint.
The aircraft had an uncommonly appealing signature and she was particularly beautiful in the morning or evening light. She had no stripes or markings of any kind other than the ‘November’ registration on the tail. The boss was proud of his decision about the exterior and I often received comments from FBO ground personnel and other owners about her striking appeal.
Inside the aircraft there was a large candy bowl that had been hard mounted onto a long credenza on the aircraft’s right side in the main cabin. It was filled with a sweet licorice candy that to the eye, were roasted coffee beans in every detail. Guests mostly assumed it WAS coffee beans and rarely partook. To say the boss was proud from where his fortune originated, was an understatement. He was constantly giving bags of fresh roasted coffee beans to friends, that had been grown in this region or that. He appreciated anybody who loved their coffee and always wanted their opinion. But it was rare they ever had more to say than he himself. For him coffee was much more than a drink. It was a delicacy and a ritual to be taken seriously. But this wasn't going to be a 'coffee' trip, nor anything related to business. It was his daughter's 21st birthday. It was time to kick back and exchange coffee beans for distilled Agave.
Right on schedule the gate opened and in came the boss in the Rover. He was the ultimate light traveler; rarely showing up with anything more than a duffel and a coffee earn bearing his company’s name Jolt. As he came up the stairway I could see his breath in the frigid morning air.
"Morning Jack" he said with a smile. "Hope I didn't get you out of bed too early."
"Never been to Anguilla," I said "kinda looking forward to this one." Our flight attendant Mandy took his coat and we closed the door immediately in order to get the cabin warm.
My first officer Peter Boles keyed the radio. "Portland, this is Echo-Foxtrot two-niner. . . we're rolling.
“Echo foxtrot you're cleared for three one left.”
At 5:21 we were airborne and climbed out as the pink light of dawn crested the eastern horizon. We made a slow right turn to bring us onto our southerly heading. It provided a gorgeous view of Portland’s bay and the coastline stretching South.
The one thing that was so noticeably different about the 650 versus other aircraft the boss had owned was how incredibly quiet she was. Even in the main cabin the high-pitched whine of the engines were dampened, almost to the point of being soothing.
We leveled off at 46,000 and the stars were still well in view above us. Our ETA showed to be 0920 local and except for a few thunderstorms over the Yucatán peninsula, the weather showed good all the way down.
Radical design has been with us from the beginning, in every imaginable space - but nowhere is it more present and prolific than in yacht design. It's become a playground for yacht designers. In this YACHTSPACE segment, we're not focussing on any one yacht concept, but rather a romp through some of the more radical concept designs over the last two years. Are they always practical? Perhaps not. . . but they're always fun!
One of Europe's Leading Aviation Tanneries.
Leather that will melt in your seat
Simon Beals - Special Contributor (Europe)
Ever wondered where most of the world's leather comes from? Well according to Google (and who knows more than those guys), the top six producers of leather, are: China, Italy, India, Brazil, Korea and Russia. But when it comes to high-end defect-free leather used in aircraft and luxury automotive, I think we can agree, most of it is sourced from Europe, and the popular notion is that most European leather comes from Italy. But it might surprise you to know that one of the most significant tanneries in Europe, is headquartered in a little burg in southern-most Austria. And you might further be surprised to know they have satellite locations around the world. By no accident I'm sure, both the township and the tannery have the same name, Wollsdorf.
Firstly, I should say that Wollsdorf doesn't do anything dramatically different than most other top-tier leather producer. But they've been doing it for an extremely long time - and that always equates to a vast wealth of experience - the kind of experience that yields vital techniques and innovations over time. This is Woldsdorf's stock & trade - and it's what produces some of the highest grade aircraft leathers.
So, when we talk about leather production, we're talking about TWO very distinct and separate aspects; one of course being the raising of the cows themselves and the subsequent harvesting of the hides. The other of course, is the processing of the hides (the tanning process). Both are extremely important because you 're never going to wind up with high-quality aircraft-grade leather unless the cattle are raised under a strict set of guidelines, not the least of which is no barbed fences and other avoidance practices that ensure against blemishes during the life of the animals.
Once they are harvested, the preparation process begins. The growers prepare the hide for tanning which consists of curing, soaking, liming, fleshing, splitting, de-liming, bating and pickling. The first step, curing, takes place prior to the tannery to ensure the hides do not spoil prior to arrival at the tannery. The highest quality pure aniline leathers are made from fresh hides which are not cured--requiring quick transport from the raw hide supplier to the tannery. These are the leathers that wind up in VIP and FC commercial aircraft.
It's no secret that many regional leather suppliers to the trade found their way to Wollsdorf at various points along the way. They are, in fact, the largest and oldest tannery in Europe - and perhaps the world. But one notable and very familiar supplier to those of us in the western hemisphere, is OmnAvia. According to Mr. Robin Butler, the company's Managing Partner, they began their relationship with Wollsdorf some ten years ago with some project specific smaller orders - always with exceptional results. Three years later, Butler had an idea he thought might make sense to both companies. In the absence of any apparent US distributor, he pitched his proposal for just such a partnership. Barely more than 24 hours later, Wollsdorf's upper management said yes to the idea, and the deal was done!
Today OmnAvia is the official North American distributor of Wollsdorf leather. Mr. Butler says his company now features four particular Wollsdorf offerings as a permanent part of their offerings - products that are particularly well suited for aircraft, each serving specific applications. "Our four top sellers originating from Wollsdorf," says Butler, "are: Ambassador, Paloma, Mammut and Gaucho."
"24 Hours later, they came back with an enthusiastic yes...and the deal was struck. We're proud of our relationship with Wollsdorf - and our customers love the product and color options."
The Schmidt family has been producing leather for at least 5 generations. The patriarch and founder of the company, one Alexander Schmidt was born way back in 1896. As a boy, he probably didn't know he would be spending his life as a leather producer, butthat's precisely what he did, not to mention most of his familial predecessors. Sometime prior to 1919, the original facility burned to the ground, an occurrence not that unusual in those days - and even less so in largely rural Austria. That original factory and the one that followed, was in Lederergasse in Weiz, both hydro-powered rosary tanneries.
Eventually the name was changed to Wollsdorf and since that time, they have won almost every award and earned almost every certificate bestowable to a leather company - including virtually all ISO-9000 series certifications.
While Wollsdorf’s initial focus was on furniture leather, the leather manufacturer now also services the leather needs of the automotive and aviation industries. Wollsdorf is also a pioneer with respect to the production of sustainable and environmentally compatible leather. An overview of the various milestones in the developmental history of the international leather supplier is well-recognized by the industry and it's customers.
Wollsdorf's primary factory in southern Austria.
Wollsdorf's expertise during leather production is palpable.
For more than 80 years, they have been working with leather as they make they natural product available to their customers. Wollsdorf's experienced staff manage every individual step in the value chain – from tanning as one of the oldest cultural achievements in the history of mankind to cutting all the way to sewing prefabricated leather parts.
Over the years they have expanded their leather production in Austria with further production and sales sites in Croatia, the US, Mexico, Uruguay and China. They were able to optimise the entire process – from the delivery of raw materials to prefabricated products. They are by no means satisfied with providing average services and are always striving to get the most out of our natural leather products. Wollsdorf Leather is characterised by this passion and drive, which they invest in each of their products and their customers appreciate this dedication.
Of course, the hides of cattle constitute the basis of Wollsdorf's leather products. The art of leather-making requires comprehensive expertise and up to 160 manufacturing steps in order to turn the perishable rawhide into a resilient leather product. At Wollsdorf, they combine long-standing experience over decades with highly advanced manufacturing processes and traditional craftsmanship. This allows them to create expertly processed products with a long lifespan that look and feel great and are available in a wide variety of colors.
And yet, there is no such thing as perfect leather since it would otherwise not be a natural product. Thus, the art of leather-making also consists in bringing the benefits of the raw material to bear and creating high-quality leather from this raw material.
ANIMAL WELFARE AS A PRIORITY
Just as every human being, each animal also has its own unique life story. Each bovine hide reflects the living environment and experiences of the animal over the course of its life. Living circumstances such as feed, care and the number of birthed calves leave behind traces on the hides of animals just like a seal of nature. Each animal and therefore each hide is unique.
Only high-quality leather brings out the best characteristics of leather, which is why we conscientiously insist on species-appropriate animal husbandry and the consistent fulfilment of ecological procurement criteria when selecting our suppliers. Only hides from healthy and uninjured animals can be processed into premium leather and other products.
By the way, none of the animals used by Wollsdorf for leather production are butchered on account of their hides as the rawhides are a by-product of the meat and milk industry. Thus, leather manufacturing is a perfect example of upcycling whereby otherwise superfluous materials, i.e. the hides of animals, are processed into sustainable and valuable products.
Even above the clouds, we provide unique comfort for passengers with our lightweight leather. Aviation leather poses numerous challenges with respect to development and manufacturing. At Wollsdorf Leather, we take on the entire production process – from the untreated rawhide to the prefabricated aircraft leather seat cover. We operate in a sense like a one-stop shop as we provide individual leather variations, cut leather parts, sewn seat coverings as well as prefabricated and certified components for our customers. Here as well, virtually no limits are imposed with respect to desired materials, surfaces, haptics and colours. Our Ambassador stock programme for aviation area includes more than 30 leather colours, which are also available at short notice and in small quantities.
Certified quality aviation leather for our aircraft seats
For many years, both international airlines as well as manufacturers of small private planes have relied on our premium light leather for aircraft. No matter whether sophisticated and durable or exclusive and refined leather – customers can feel the quality in all our leather products. We have been certified since 2007 according to EN 9100.