Author: Ian French
Photographers: Sandro Rota/Ecuador Aviation Photography & Ian French/Aviation Press
The Army established its own aviation element in 1954 known as Servicio Aéreo del Ejército. The Army had operated aircraft before that for medical evac, logistics, reconnaissance and aerial observation. The role of aircraft in the Army continued in this vein for the next two decades but as happened worldwide, helicopters, which were first introduced to the Army in 1972, undertook an increasing role in operations and it became evident that Army Aviation was a crucial component in its own right. Aircraft operated in this period were:
PA-23 1960-61, PA-24 1960-1962, C172 from 1965, C185D 1965-, C206 from 1971, Skyvan 1971-1980, PC-6B from 1971, SA315B from 1972 & Arava from 1974
In 1978 Aviación del Ejército Equatorina became a separate operational unit of the Army. In 1987 the Brigada de Aviación del Ejército No.15 (“Paquisha”) was formed to operate all aviation assets and acquired its name in honour of its crucial role in the 1981 conflict with Peru.
Brigada de Aviación del Ejército No.15 is organised into three Grupo Aéreo del Ejército, an Escuela de Aviación del Ejército and the Instituto Geográfico Militar.
Grupo Aéreo del Ejército 43 “Portoviejo” at Portoviejo operates the SA342L & AS550C3e.
Grupo Aéreo del Ejército 44 “Pastaza” at Pastaza operates fixed wing aircraft and the Mi 171. The PC-6B were withdrawn in 2013. Other types have included: B100 from 1978, DHC-5D 1980-2009, B214 1981-1994, B200 from 1986, C212 & CN235M from 2005, CJ6 2006-2014, CTU206 from 2009 & An28 from 2018.
Grupo Aéreo del Ejército 45 “Pinchincha” at La Balbina operates the SA315B, IAR330, AS332 & AS550C3e
The Escuela de Aviación del Ejército at Guayaquil was established in 1970 and has operated the following:
T-41D 1970-, PA-18 1970-1972, AS350B from 1986, Maule MT-7-235 2002-2014 & C172SP from 2010
The Instituto Geográfico Militar del Ecuador was established in 1928 and is responsible for the country’s cartographic activity in support of defence, security and national development.
The Instituto Geográfico Militar del Ecuador operates at many locations. Aircraft operated have been:
B80 1965-1994, CTU206 1969-1998, SA315B from 1975, Learjet 24D 1975-1995, B100 from 1978, SA316B 1979-1987 & C550 from 1995
Aviation Press would like to thank Mark Forest/Forest Aviation Tours, Sandro Rota/Ecuador Aviation Press and the Aviación del Ejército Equatorina for their assistance with the visits.