Adir de Jesus Barbosa is one of those collaborators who have been with Helisul since the beginning, whether from inside or outside. At the age of 58, he is currently the company’s paint inspector and can be found in hangar 10 at Bacacheri Airport. He comes from a family of eight siblings – three men and five women – raised in Adrianópolis, a municipality 130 kilometers from Curitiba.
As he was in the middle range, he helped his parents and elders in the care of a group of brothers younger. And life in the small town was anything but easy. “In the past, life was hard: countryside, rural areas, a lot of little brother, I didn’t have any conditions for studying, an illiterate father”, she recalls.
Adir tells that he, his parents, and “that current kid”, as he says, they moved to the Curitiba region in 1973. They went to live at an aunt’s house in the Rio Verde neighborhood, in Colombo, which is in the metropolitan region. The mother bought land with her brother and, with a lot of sacrifice, they built a house for the big family, while helping to support all the kids with two jobs.
“She was a janitor in a building in Cabral [neighborhood of Curitiba] and a janitor in the then INPS building (current INSS) in the Bacacheri neighborhood. She would go to Cabral in the morning and then from 5 pm to 10 pm to the INSS. She would come home late, everyone was sleeping”, remembers Adir.
At just 10 years old, I already liked to accompany Dona Francisca to work. He liked to ‘work’. It wasn’t unusual to get snacks, tips and make friends the same age. “Sometimes I would go with her and help clean the patio and go to the dentist, the doctor in the other building, which didn’t charge.”
Until then, Adir had studied until the fifth grade of elementary school. And then he started working, this time officially, with his father in a company in São José dos Pinhais, in the metropolitan region of Curitiba. “He found a job for me, he was 14, 15 years old. He was a general helper, he did a bit of everything.”
He and Antonio spent the week in São José dos Pinhais, living in a house provided by the company, among other aids. Even when Seu Antonio left his job, the 16-year-old teenager continued to work as a general helper. And, as it was before, he returned to the family home in Colombo on weekends off.
After a while, he decided to leave the place and went to work in a furniture factory in Quatro Barras, as a laminating machine operator, where he stayed for a year and a half.
Doors on auto, prepare for takeoff
Meanwhile, Antonio, without even knowing it, was preparing the ground for his son’s professional future in the world aviation since leaving that service there in São José dos Pinhais. “My father started working as a general services assistant at Bacacheri Airport. My brother also went to work with him. […] On vacation, I would go to the airport with my father and I started to fall in love with aviation”, recalls Adir.
The ‘carpenter animal’ that lived in Adir made him, even on vacation, go to help one of the colleagues from the firm where his father worked painting and sanding an airplane. It was an airline company that no longer exists. It didn’t take long, the young man was employed and sharing office hours with his father again.
Behold, one day, one of the customers who kept aircraft for maintenance on site became a great supporter and changed your life. “There I met Commander Eloy. After a couple of years, the Biesuz family bought Helisul in Foz. From time to time he provided a painting service, as an outsourced contractor. And that was when my story with Helisul began.”
A relação profissional que se criava entre Adir e o comandante Eloy abria as portas para o pintor viver um sonho. Mas, antes de se concretizar, o comandante mal poderia imaginar a confusão que estava por vir por conta de um gesto de agradecimento.
“One day a gentleman who painted helicopters didn’t want to go do a job in Foz and then he asked I paint. I slept inside the hangar. I stayed up all night copying the design of the other helicopter beside it. The commander asked how much it was, but I didn’t know how to charge yet”.
Commander Eloy, then, decided on his own how much the service was worth and delivered a ‘hefty’ of money to Adir. He also asked that he be looked for at Helisul when they returned to Curitiba. Indeed the commander was, but he could not imagine the size of the confusion that would lead Adir to meet him. Span>
“I came home with a bundle of money and my father scolded me, saying I had stolen it. I had to go with him in front of Commander Eloy, to prove that the money really was mine. Days later, he offered me a job. That was in 1988/89”, he recalls.
The boss also suggested that he take a pilot course, but Adir thought it better not to comply. “I didn’t like going to class [laughs] and I continued with painting, helping with maintenance”, he says.
Adir spent one year in the role and had his workforce transferred to a maintenance company, which was from a friend of the commander, where he remained for four years. He left to open his own company and spent 12 years as a maintenance and painting service provider, always connected to Helisul. “He worked more for Helisul than for other companies.” In 2002, he decided to sell the business and returned to work for Commander Eloy’s company.
On this return, to act as an aircraft painter, Adir studied and secured qualifications as a mechanic, graduated from Faculty of Technology and Aeronautical Maintenance and started working as a mechanic’s assistant, becoming a mechanic. For five years he divided himself between services for Ibama, wherever his presence was needed in Brazil, and for Helisul.
Behold, the Hero commander appears again – or rather, Eloy – and makes the request: “He called me again and proposed to stop traveling”, he says. For all these memories of encouragement and friendship, Adir is very grateful and keeps the best memories. “Everything I achieved in life was thanks to aviation and the push of Commander Eloy. The first car I had in my life, he lent me the money to buy it.”
Adir ensures that the loan money for the purchase of the first car has been returned to the commander. Seu Antonio, aged 93, and Dona Francisca, aged 87, today laugh about the episode of the ‘stolen’ money cake. The couple remains in Colombo and lives close to Adir’s house. The painting inspector is married to Hilda and father of Camila, 26, and Carolina, 22.