Started last year, a project that—figuratively speaking—flew under radar for Stephen Miles Design led to a project that literally will end up on it. Stephen Miles, the owner of the Owensboro, Ky., paint shop has “99.9-percent completed” a design for a media-shy client’s private Bombardier Global 5500 aircraft.
In 2022, Miles designed the graphics for his Florida-based client’s 52-foot sportfishing boat with a 15-foot beam.
A client’s Bombardier Global 5500 private aircraft will be the fastest vehicle yet with graphics created by Stephen Miles Design. Rendering courtesy/copyright Stephen Miles Design.
“The boat was too wide, by exactly one foot, to fit through the doors to our shop, so we did the work in conjunction with some painters in Southwest Florida,” Miles explained. “They don’t have it finished quite yet, but they’re very close.”
Pleased with the results so far, the client tasked Miles to create graphics for his aircraft. But at 96 feet long with a 94-foot wingspan, per the specs for the Global 5500 on the Bombardier website, the jet also is a touch too large for the Steve Miles Design paint-booth. And even if it were, Miles doesn’t have the FAA certification required to paint aircraft.
“There’s a company in Chattanooga (Tenn.) called West Star Aviation,” Miles explained. “They’ll handle a majority of the paint work as they are an FAA-certified shop. We will be there to oversee the layout of the initial mask and then come in at the end to spray the shadows and effects.”
The private jet project has been something of a full-circle journey for Miles, who served as an aviation structural mechanic in the United States Navy.
“Here’s what is kind of cool about all of this,” he said. “One of the earliest hands-on projects that I can remember during my time at the aviation school in Millington, Tennessee, which is where I went directly after boot camp, was laying out aircraft tail numbers with tape and then painting them. So here we are with this project—30 years later.”
Powered by a pair of Rolls Royce turbine engines producing a combined 30,000-plus pounds of thrust, the Bombardier Global 5500 can reach Mach 0.90 and has a range of almost 6,000 miles.
“Without question this will be the fastest vehicle we have ever painted,” Miles said, then chuckled. “But my goal is still and always will be making my canvas looking fast, even while it’s sitting still.”
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