As part of a two-month demonstration tour that has already generated considerable interest from both commercial and military potential operators, the Sikorsky PZL M28 twin turboprop arrived at Jacarepaguá airport in Rio de Janeiro on 3 April. It will use the opportunity presented by LAAD 2017 to showcase its verstaility – particularly its impressive short takeoff and laning (STOL) performance: takeoff in just 548m with 2,300kg of cargo.
Potential customers in Trinidad and Tobago and Brazil have taken advantage of opportunities to assess the aircraft’s suitability for a wide variety of missions. The Brazilian Army witnessed how the dual-piloted aircraft can be loaded with mission equipment or up to 17 fully-equipped troops, can perform medical evacuations and can precisely drop paratroops and cargo from the rear of the plane. Mission equipment inserted into the cabin using a manually operated cargo hoist with a 700kg loading capacity was shown to give the flight crew independent cargo-handling flexibility in remote locations.
"Operators are looking for a powerful, versatile and low maintenance aircraft that is expressly designed to fly cargo and passengers into unprepared landing strips, and to para-drop relief supplies or troops, whether in mountain regions, jungle clearings or small island strips at sea level," Adam Schierholz, Sikorsky regional executive for Latin America, commented.