An M28 short takeoff and landing (STOL) aircraft manufactured at PZL Mielec, a facility in Poland owned by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, has arrived in Ecuador following a trans-Atlantic flight from Poland.
Delivered five months after contract award, the twin-engine turboprop will meet the Ecuadorian Army's need for a proven multi-role transport aircraft that can perform in diverse climates and terrain.
The Ecuadorian Army contracted for the aircraft in April this year. PZL Mielec conducted training for Army pilots and mechanics, and a Polish crew piloted the aircraft 13,500 km via Iceland and Greenland, across the Atlantic Ocean to Canada, the United States and Central America to Shell Mera in Ecuador, where the aircraft was officially accepted by the Army.
"The M28 aircraft's powerful turbo-prop engines, a large cabin with clamshell rear door, and the airframe's rugged structural characteristics, will give the Ecuadorian Army a highly versatile short takeoff and landing platform with which to perform multiple types of missions in diverse climates," said Adam Schierholz, Sikorsky regional executive for Latin America. "We welcome Ecuador to the M28 family."
A proven, durable and reliable STOL aircraft, the M28 aircraft can operate from runways or airstrips inaccessible by other airplanes, and can fly in extreme environmental conditions and temperatures ranging from +50° C to -50° C.
Currently, over 100 M28 planes are used worldwide, both in commercial and military configurations. Among other missions, they perform passenger transport, parachutist training, border patrol and supervision over fisheries. The Polish Air Force flies the M28 Bryza variant for both maritime and transport operations.
The M28 aircraft weighs 7,500 kg (16,500 pounds) and can be equipped with 19 passenger seats, or transport up to 2,300 kg (5,000 pounds) of cargo, as well as perform parachute missions via the rear cabin door.