A SINGLE M28 short takeoff and landing (STOL) multi-role transport aircraft has been ordered by the Aviación del Ejército Ecuatoriano (Ecuador Army Aviation) from Sikorsky/PZL Mielec. The contract was announced by the manufacturer on May 16 and the aircraft is scheduled for delivery later this year from the company’s Mielec factory in Poland.
Adam Schierholz, Sikorsky regional executive for Latin America, said: “The M28 aircraft’s unique flight and performance attributes are ideally suited for Ecuador’s diverse climate and terrain. We are providing Ecuador a proven platform that will accomplish a wide range of national security missions. With the ability to operate from any type of runway or airstrip inaccessible by other airplanes and to fly in extreme environmental conditions without decreasing payload, the M28 brings formidable capabilities.”
After a pilot and mechanic training course in Poland, a PZL crew will fly the aircraft across the North Atlantic Ocean to Shell Mera, Ecuador, via Iceland, Greenland, Canada, the United States and Central America. Ecuador is the first Latin American country to acquire an M28 aircraft following a two-month demonstration tour of seven Caribbean and Latin America countries in 2017. Flown by two PZL pilots, the touring aircraft demonstrated landings at two remote Ecuador airfields last April – a 1,968ft (600m) gravel runway and a 1,738ft (530m) gravel/grass runway – with eleven passengers on board.
Sikorsky has received requests for proposals from commercial operators and militaries in Latin America as a result of the tour. A majority of the proposals seek to carry passengers and/or cargo into unprepared landing strips at sea level and high-altitude locations.