Empresa Ecuatoriana de Aviación was established in July 1974 as a Ecuadorean state owned national carrier replacement for the privately owned Compañia Ecuatoriana de Aviación (CEA), which had been in operation since 1957. In line with many South American airlines of the time Ecuatoriana was run by the Ecuadorean Air Force with the aircraft carrying dual civilian / military registrations. Ecuatoriana's first aircraft didn't suggest anything special would be coming as the Boeing 720B was leased from Pan Am in January 1975 still wearing a hybrid PA scheme albeit with new titling and a small E logo on the tail.
The next pair of 720Bs however were something special - both being painted in special schemes. There appears some confusion over who designed the schemes. Some sources have said that they were designed by an Ecuadorian artist, Oswaldo Guayasamin, however it may be that they were inspired by his work. Following the painting of the second and third 720s the first aircraft was re-registered as HC-AZO in early 1976 and then bought off lease and re-registered again as HC-BDP. She too gained a colourful scheme. All three 720s were series 023Bs originally delivered to American Airlines in 1961 and then leased by Pan Am in 1963 (all were purchased off lease in 1964).
Eventually the Ecuatoriana fleet comprised 5 aircraft all with special schemes to represent the regions they were named after:
Both of the 707-320s were also acquired from Pan Am and were relatively new machines. HC-BFC had been delivered new on July 23, 1967 as N424PA 'Clipper Golden West'. She served a short lease with Merpati Nusantra of Indonesia from November 1975 to January 1976 prior to going to Ecuatoriana on lease from ATASCO. She was retired in February 1992 when she was exported to Israel as 4X-ATF for Arkia, however it doesn't appear that she ever flew with them and was instead used as a source of spares. The 'Pajaro Del Sol' scheme she wore with Ecuatoriana was probably the most attractive of the jungle jet schemes.
In 1:400 the airline is relatively well represented with 8 releases (though two are duplicates - and the Herpa 707 is awful) however of the Jungle Jets only HC-BFC has been made, by Aeroclassics. 'Pajaro Del Sol' was the last of the special schemes with the next two 707s both wearing variations of the new standard scheme, itself no slouch. In part 2 we'll look at those schemes and how Ecuatoriana faired into the 1990s.
I want to thank my friend Claudio for pointing me to a great site in Spanish with lots of information. This site can be found here:
Ecuatoriana: Rainbow of America
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: