THE ART OF FLYING- A magnificent paint scheme for a brand new jet…

Towards the end of December, Cessna celebrated the first deliveries of its new Citation M2 light jet following US Federal Aviation Administration type certification. Within weeks, the aviation world was dazzled as Robert Duncan and wife Karen were showcasing their new M2 aircraft, complete with a unique colour scheme…

Mr. Duncan (chairman emeritus, Duncan Aviation) and his wife surround themselves with the things they’re passionate about: aviation and art. So, when Duncan Aviation acquired one of Cessna’s new Citation M2s, they wanted the jet’s paint scheme to reflect the brush strokes of an abstract artist. (In doing so, they simultaneously took the term “green airplane” to another level with this lime green wonder!)

The designer of the airplane’s paint scheme, Teri Nekuda, has 24 years of experience combining colours and materials to match a variety of customers’ needs and desires. She used the same approach she uses with all of her customers when Robert and Karen asked to explore paint schemes at Duncan Aviation’s design centre in Lincoln, Nebraska.

“It’s enjoyable to create a paint scheme that people don’t expect to see on an aircraft,” Nekuda said. “The ‘wow’ factor gets people to react, contemplate and dream of what possibilities lay on the horizon.”

Multiple Options

After more than 50 different renderings, Nekuda and the Duncans narrowed the paint scheme down to two options: a lime green or bright blue base with paint splatters dotting the fuselage. Robert initially wanted to explore the idea of a decal on the aircraft, allowing it to be easily changed after a few years.

“It was a great idea, and I think we’ll end up using decals eventually,” Nekuda reflects, “but the decal isn’t simply printed on a clear background, so any space outside the paint splotches would have to be lime green and match the paint perfectly, or have a black outline. In the end, this was too complicated a paint scheme to be trying to implement decals for the first time.”

The Duncans also experimented with the idea of having graffiti on their new M2 jet, but the design team was concerned that even though the graffiti might be well-received and convey a positive message within the United States, not all countries would view the symbol the same way.

It was ultimately when the Paint Shop’s manager Doug Bohac mentioned he had recently seen a motorcycle covered in paint splotches that the idea came into being.

Having Fun

When asked to describe the final product in one word, Nekuda chooses ‘Fun’. “It’s fun on so many levels,” she elaborates. “I look at the paint scheme and I start to recognize shapes and images: There’s a pair of Mickey Mouse ears over here and Woodstock [the character from the popular US cartoon ‘Snoopy’] there. It spurs a child-like sense of excitement and creativity. That’s a cool feeling to have at any age,” she says.

“Robert and Karen Duncan want something unique. A lot of people like a simple aircraft, but I don’t see Robert ever having a white airplane. We do things a little differently here,” Nekuda concludes.

About the M2

The Citation M2 was originally announced to the public in Las Vegas, Nevada during the National Business Aviation Association’s September 2011 Conference and Exhibition. The first flight of the prototype model occurred in March 2012, and the first production unit flew in August 2013. The Citation M2 offers a maximum cruise speed of 460 miles per hour and a range of nearly 1,500 statute miles. It can operate at airports with runways as short as 3,250 feet and will climb to 41,000 feet.

When Cessna announced on December 23, 2013 that the jet had received US certification and first customer deliveries had begun, Brad Thress, Cessna senior vice president of business jets, summarised, “The Citation M2 is a versatile aircraft that fits many markets and missions, attracting owner-operators looking for an advanced, innovative aircraft of this size, capability and value.”

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