PZL-Mielec M-18 Dromader


Country of Origin
Ag spraying and firefighter aircraft
The M-18 Dromader agricultural aircraft has been one of Poland's most successful aircraft exports. PZL-Mielec designed the Dromader in collaboration with Rockwell International in the US during the mid 1970s. From the outset the aim was to certificate the aircraft to western standards. The first prototype of the basic single seat M-18 first flew on August 27 1976, a second prototype flew that October. Poland awarded certification for the Dromader during September 1978, and series production began the following year. The basic Dromader design was conventional, with power supplied by a nine cylinder radial engine, while the outer wing panels were based on those on the Rockwell Thrush Commander. The basic single seat M-18 was in production for five years until 1984 when it was replaced by the two seat M-18A, but has been available to special order since. The two seat M-18A was developed to allow the carriage of either a mechanic or chemical loader to austere fields. In the meantime PZL-Mielec had developed a firebombing derivative which first flew in 1978. The M-18AS trainer has a second cockpit for flight instruction. Since 1996 the M-18B, with a 5300kg (11,684lb) max takeoff weight, has been the standard production model. The M-18BS is a two seat trainer based on the M-18B. The M-18C with 895kW (1200hp) Kalisz K-9 engine flew in 1995 but has not entered production. In the USA, Melex (part owned by PZL-Mielec) developed a PT6A-45 turboprop development dubbed the M-18/T45 Turbine Dromader. The Turbine Dromader first flew during 1985 and the US FAA issued it a Supplementary Type Certificate in April 1986. Others have been converted with a PT6A-65, TPE331-10 or T53-L-7 turbine engine.
One 745kW (1000hp) PZL Kalisz (Shvetsov) ASz-62IR supercharged nine cylinder radial piston engine driving a four blade constant speed propeller.
M-18 & M-18A (with ag equipment) - Max cruising speed 237km/h (128kt), typical operating speed range 170 to 190km/h (90 to 103kt). Initial rate of climb 1115ft/min. Service ceiling 21,235ft. Max range with no reserves with max fuel and no ag equipment 970km (520nm). M-18A (without ag equipment) - Max speed 256km/h (138kt), cruising speed 205km/h (110kt), typical operating speed 230km/h (124kt). Initial rate of climb 1360ft/min. Service ceiling 21,235ft. Max range with no reserves with max fuel and no ag equipment 970km (520nm).
M-18A - Empty 2690kg (5930lb), max takeoff 4700kg (10,360lb) but restricted to 4200kg (9230lb) under FAR Pt 23.
M-18A - Wing span 17.70m (58ft 1in), length 9.47m (31ft 3in), height over tail 3.70m (12ft 2in). Wing area 40.0m2 (430.5sq ft).
M-18 seats pilot only. M-18A has second seat for a ground loader or mechanic behind the pilot. M-18AS and BS have a second cockpit with instrumentation for an instructor. M-18B hopper capacity of 2500 litres (550Imp gal/660US gal) of liquid or 2200kg (4850lb) of dry chemicals.
By 2002 over 715 Dromaders built, most for export. M-18 single-seater production ceased in 1984 after 230 built.
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PZL-Mielec M-18 Dromader
The backbone of this section is from the The International Directory of Civil Aircraft by Gerard Frawley and used with permission. To get your own copy of the book click here.