Bombardier brought its newest Authorized Service Facility to LABACE 2017, a customized long-distance bus. It's got a crane on the roof that can remove an engine from a Challenger and a lift that can extend to a height of seven meters (23 feet) to work on a tail.
In the baggage compartment, there’s a ground power unit that can provide four aircraft with 28 VDC and 115AC at 400Hz; a 380 volt 125 kva generator; and 600 liters (159 gallons) of Jet A, enough to keep an aircraft APU running for five hours.
The bus body has a hydraulic tailgate, strong enough to support a cradle for an engine lowered by the crane. From there, the cradle can be rolled into a steel-walled work room in the rear of the bus, where it can be serviced. Or the engine, work room, bus and all can drive to another facility.
What’s the customer to do while waiting? The front of the bus is outfitted as a VIP room with internet, galley, and a skylit shower.
The mobile service facility is the brainchild of Edivaldo S. Coelho, pilot, mechanic and engineer, president of MAGA Aviation, headquartered at Campos dos Amarais airfield in Campinas. Widely known as “Engineer MacGyver,” (for the scientific crimebusting television character) Coelho is at the Bombardier stand (5122) throughout the LABACE show. He's joined by a team that includes his wife, who “administers the firm, and does all the MAGA paperwork”; The couple's three daughters; and a son who “designed the bus conversion” along with his father.
Several LABACEs ago, MAGA showed (independent of Bombardier) a smaller van. “The small one is for Learjets, the big one is for Globals and Challengers,” Coelho boasts. The new bus was completed two days ago, but the smaller one remains in service; “Sometimes it goes to São Paulo four, five times a week,” a daughter noted. “It’s much cheaper to bring the bus to São Paulo to repair a tire than to bring the aircraft to Campinas.” The smaller MAGA bus also visits such neighboring airports as Sorocaba and Jundiaí.
While the flamboyant exterior of the bus is the first thing to catch the eye, its backbone is strong. The steel column that supports the crane runs through the work room beside an industrial-style panel that controls all the custom equipment, including the APU and the crane. A remote control maneuvers the crane from outside the bus, and stabilizers lower from the undercarriage. The hydraulics can handle 56 gal/min of MIL5606 fluid. At LABACE, the bus is parked beside a Challenger, and Coelho gestures, “If the [airplane's] APU is out of commission, the main engine won’t start. Well, I've got an APU.”
Coelho’s children all spent a year of high school in the U.S. upper Midwest, and two daughters are now in college in Florida, one at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Coelho has some 7,000 hours of flying in his logbook, all in Learjets or Challengers, and is currently flying a 350 out of Sorocaba airport for a brewery.
Asked to compare Sorocaba, MRO base for the other manufacturers, to Campo dos Amarais, his verdict is, “The runway at Sorocaba is longer, but the highway to Campinas is better.”