Flight Control with Design Q

One of the leading aircraft interior design companies is teaming up with one of the largest aircraft companies to create every pilot’s dream: a luxurious and one of a kind flight deck.

By Marcos Colón


 Design Q has stepped up to the challenge and created an unmatched design concept that is sure to draw comparison to its previous level of work.

For most jet passengers, nothing is more comforting than stepping on board a luxuriously appointed, immaculately designed aircraft. Unfortunately, one characteristic that is excluded from the luxurious design that graces the rest of the cabin, more often than not, is the flight deck. Regardless of whether the cockpit is being utilized by a team of captains or by a businessman whose weekend hobby is flying high, it is about time that this often ignored aspect of private jets is brought up to the same standards by which the remainder of the aircraft is held to.

Out to upgrade the flight deck to award-winning standards are Design Q and Bombardier Aerospace and Design, two leaders in their respective fields. Their collaboration will transform an unappealing aspect of the plane’s interior, lacking in luxury, into a striking space that parallels the entirety of the cabin.

Design Q is known for innovative interior designing, with a portfolio that includes everything from cars like the Jaguar S-Type to jet interiors like Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Suites. The company’s groundbreaking, elegant designs have caught attention through the years, especially with the recent completion of the Airbus 319 Celebrity Jet, a perfect balance of versatility and comfort. Bombardier Aerospace, meanwhile, is at the cutting edge of business aviation, with its fleet of private jets. The two companies will now team up to redesign the flight deck of Bombardier’s Global Express XRS, the leader of the Bombardier Aerospace business jet fleet. Launched at the 60th annual National Business Aviation Association show in Atlanta in September, the Global Express XRS has been dubbed “the most accomplished business jet ever built” by the two companies involved.

The objective of the collaboration is to create a flight deck that captures high-end automotive interior design with regard for aesthetically enjoyable forms and surfaces, well-considered ergonomics, construction surfaces, and valuable materials. This will be the most challenging undertaking yet for the two companies, both of whom are known for pleasing customer requests with innovative designs. Introducing wholesale styling changes into an environment that is meticulously controlled by ergonomic functionality is extremely difficult. However, Design Q has stepped up to the challenge and created an unmatched design concept that is sure to draw comparison to its previous level of work.

Design Q didn’t have to start from scratch on this project-there were some control panels that have to remain unchanged due to FAA regulations. However, Bombardier did give Design Q the freedom to change the color of those panels, improving it from a military grey to a silky, darker color. Leather and brushed chrome were added to the mix for a soft, sophisticated look. One aspect that worked in Design Q’s favor was the new avionics suite designed by Bombardier’s engineers. This results in a simpler interface that significantly reduces the number of mechanical controls in the flight deck.

One difficult modification within the cockpit was to the steering yoke, which is generally lacking in stylistic panache. Instead of making a dilemma out of this, Design Q decided to make it the focal point of the flight deck. The design team worked around its ergonomic functionality, and ended up with a striking, hand-crafted leather yoke, with a center boss proudly displaying the Global logo, embossed in leather, and framed with a brushed chrome bezel. The resulting look is stunning and elegant, yet simple.

The seating was an extremely important aspect of the flight deck as well, and Design Q, with significant previous experience in seating design, decided to completely redesign the pilot and co-pilot seats. Typical pilot seating is both uncomfortable and mechanical. Sheepskin covers are common, keeping pilots cool in the warm environment (and warm in the cool), so Design Q decided to use sheepskin panels of varying pile depth, combined with expertly stitch-crafted, high-quality leather and custom cushions for an end result fit for a luxury automobile, such as a Maserati or an Aston Martin-both of which, not coincidentally, have had their interiors perfected by Design Q.

The leather is well upholstered, and, thanks to twin-needle stitching and piping detail, coupled with a gold-stitched Global logo on the headrest and tasteful, reflective carbon fiber, the seats have the requisite style to grace the cockpit of any top-of-the-line jet-or, even a top-of-the-line automobile, because, while sheepskin has never been utilized in car seats before, this triumph of design and comfort could be seen in a luxury car soon, the companies say.

What gives new life to the stark and soulless interior of the flight decks previous look is the new color that Design Q and Bombardier have created. It still achieves the need to see backlighting in bright daylight and night-flight conditions, but it’s visually warmer. A light tan, suede material with an embossed grain has been used on the overhead panels, creating the illusion that the roof is farther away than it actually is. All other primary and secondary controls have been tweaked by brushed black, anodized, or chrome finishes.

The companies’ attention to detail even extends to the windows, which are edged by high-quality black Elmo leather, as well as a glare shield that creates a more open feel.

The overall design of the Global Express XRS is set to leave a visually stunning mark in the private jet market, and it is sure to set a trend among other jet companies and designers. Pilots around the world will dive at the chance to fly in this one-of-a-kind, chic flight deck.