Six production Bombardier Q400M aircraft are to be modified by Flying Colours for Conair for special mission uses.

Flying Colours is a maintenance, refurbishment and completion specialist, while Conair is a leading provider of fixed-wing firefighting aircraft.

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
  • 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 customszed 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 facility in St. Louis, Minnesota, USA. 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.

“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,” said Sean Gillespie, Executive VP Flying Colours Corp.

“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.”

Conair operates the largest privately owned fleet of fixed wing firefighting aircraft in the world. Founded in Canada 49 years ago, Conair’s operations now extend to Canada, the United States of America, Europe, and Australia. Conair has developed a number of proprietary aerial firefighting products and Supplemental Type Certificates (STC) for modification of aircraft for aerial firefighting.

Flying Colours