Maximizing Your Aircraft Cabinet Space

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Maximizing Cabinet Space

By Adam Doyle, Paint & Interior Manager, Elliott Aviation

As aircraft owners' needs are constantly evolving, the interiors and the cabinetry within them are fluctuating as well. With the ever-changing technologies and innovation for better options available each year, maximizing space within an aircraft can be highly beneficial to aircraft owners and their passengers.

New Market Trends

There are many ways to maximize space with new sleek cabinet designs, and you can achieve this by refurbishing old-style cabinets into a newer style for a fraction of the cost. Not only can this give aircraft owners significant cost savings, but it offers more practical use of your aircraft.

There are several options of new market trends to capitalize on cabinet space. For instance, aircraft owners are moving away from large electronic coffee pots by instead using a vacuum-sealed carafe. This carafe minimizes space within the cabinet, as many components are no longer needed, which in turn minimizes the upkeep. Other trends include electronic integrations, whether that’s hiding Wi-Fi units or adding charging stations. Another trend is to look for mechanisms that allow better-operating movements of the cabinet or more space within the cabinet. Another trend is to have custom-fit cup holders that suit a particular brand of bottles or cans. The possibilities and ideas are endless.

Customers have recently been requesting a seat addition while still maintaining galley space. For example, with a Beechjet 400A/Hawker 400XP, modifying the aircraft with the removal of the large galley and replacing it with the new seat can achieve this. However, to maintain galley space, two new fabricated custom slimline galleys can be designed. This does cost significantly more than just modifying the current cabinetry, but the customer is gaining an additional seat. Custom in-house cabinets are a suitable option rather than purchasing new generic slimline cabinets from the OEM. The customers would be getting custom cabinets that suit their individual needs.

In addition to utility, many customers often request an older style aircraft modification to gain a more modern look. For example, an older King Air 350 with a 1990s era interior can be refurbished using its existing cabinetry.

For example, we are also currently working on updating a King Air 350 built in the 1990s with original interior and cabinetry. By utilizing the current cabinetry, you can update the drawer faces and divider nosings from an older bulky style, along with the newest ball bearing slides and latching mechanisms. The more modern and sleek drawer faces and divider nosings will be finished to blend with the replacement veneer or laminate on the cabinet. This creates a more modern look for a fraction of the cost of new.

Choosing a Facility

When deciding on where to take your aircraft for cabinetry refurbishments, make sure you choose a facility that understands and constantly evaluates the new market trends. They should also understand your aircraft and be knowledgeable about what will work in terms of FAA approval. Look for a facility that understands your needs and guides you to the best option for you. As well as being able to keep up with trends and having knowledge of your specific aircraft, search for a company that may have an in-house engineering department. This will be considerably easier on you because the company does not need to outsource drawings or wait for approvals, creating less downtime. An in-house engineering department should be able to support your vision with the understanding of your aircraft. They will be able to support you directly. You will also gain an actual quote based on the drawings rather than a TBD price quote since the shop and engineering departments would work directly together to know exactly what it will cost.

When entering into an interior refurbishment, ask your service center about your options to redesign and recover, strip and refinish to modify your cabinets. There are many ways to maximize your space. Think about what you want and what would fit your needs, and go from there.

Adam Doyle joined Elliott Aviation in 2000 as an Interior Technician after graduating from Wyoming Technical Institute. While at Elliott Aviation, Adam has earned many different promotions on the shop floor, including Install Team Lead, Soft Goods Team Lead, Assistant Interior Shop Manager, and Seat Shop Manager. Adam’s most recent promotion has been to Paint and Interior Sales Representative for Elliott Aviation. He uses his experience with various vendors, products, and processes to educate our clients by providing direction and helping plan for future investment with realistic and accurate figures.