Ecuador has ordered a single M28 short take-off and landing multi-role transport aircraft for the Aviación del Ejército Ecuatoriano (Ecuador Army Aviation). Manufacturer Sikorsky-PZL Mielec, a Lockheed Martin company, announced the deal on May 16 and the aircraft is scheduled for delivery later this year from the company’s Mielec factory in Poland. After a pilot and mechanic training course in Poland, a PZL crew will fly the aircraft across the North Atlantic 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, following a twomonth 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 in April 2017 — a 1,968ft (600m) gravel runway and a 1,738ft (530m) gravel/grass runway — with 11 passengers on board.
Because of the tour, Sikorsky has received requests for proposals (RFPs) from commercial operators and military air arms in Latin America. Most of the RFPs are from organisations seeking to carry passengers and/or cargo into unprepared landing strips at sea level and high-altitude locations throughout Latin America.