Published in Flight Levels Winter Issue
These are unusual times. Pilots and aircraft owners, fortunate to have access to time machines that can take them anywhere they want to go when they want to go there, have at times been stuck on the ground due to everything from local laws to pilot currency challenges. Eagle Creek Aviation Services is adding a new service to ensure maintenance isn’t added to the growing list of challenges.
The Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center recently announced a mobile maintenance unit capable of performing routine line maintenance, basic inspections, and expanded AOG service.
Based in Indianapolis, Eagle Creek has long had a mobile AOG unit to get customers flying again after unexpected problems occur on the road. Based on customer feedback and seeing a need to better compete in the mobile service arena, the company purchased another truck that can be dispatched for a wide variety of jobs. “We’re trying to offer more services in client hangars,” said executive vice president Rick Branch. In addition to AOG maintenance the company has always offered, they’re now able to perform limited upgrades, some service bulletins, and a range of minor or multi-day projects.
“We’ve always supported our clients by airplane, car, boat, or hiking. We’ll help however we can,” said Branch. President Scott Dillon said the mobile service is just something they knew they had to do, in part because owners were starting to request it. “People don’t want to relocate their airplane and are hesitant to take on that expense for a small inspection.,” he said.
Part of that may be driven by the coronavirus. Customers aren’t as willing to travel on commercial airlines, which sometimes needs to happen if an airplane is dropped at the shop. Eagle Creek, like most service centers, usually can give a customer a ride home, but owners might not opt for that. The company will also pick up and drop off the client in his or her own airplane. “We’re trying to meet the demands of what our customers are asking for,” Branch said, and now that includes expanded maintenance capability at the customer’s base using the mobile unit.
Right now, each job is being custom quoted, but flat-rate offerings may be offered in the future. Travel costs are baked into the price, so customers don’t have to worry about additional charges. The mobile unit is equipped with the tooling and most parts required for common inspections. Experience tells Eagle Creek what is most often replaced, and those parts are on-site ready to go. Also, anything from the company’s parts stock can be overnighted to the customer’s location.
Branch said ultimately the mobile unit is a logistics play. “It’s almost like a remote location for us,” he said.