SIL Philippines


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Serving Language Communities through Linguistics, Literacy and Translation since 1953


Courier on approach to land at Belanga, Sultan Kudarat on the island of 

Due to the difficult access or remoteness of many locations where SIL personnel worked, aviation played a vital role in the work of SIL in the Philippines since 1958. This service was rendered to SIL personnel, government agencies, and members of the cultural communities, especially for emergency medical transportation and assistance in disaster relief operations.

Over the 52 years of the program, the Helio Courier Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) aircraft (models H-391B and H-295) was the mainstay of the fleet. Other aircraft operated at various times were a Piper Super Cub, Hiller UH12E helicopter, Aero Commander 500B, and a Piper PA31 Navajo.

Many locations where SIL personnel work are or were several hours from the nearest road or public transportation, so air transportation was essential. Over the years, however, access roads were developed into many of those areas and SIL’s work with the communities progressed to the point that air transportation was no longer critically needed.

SIL’s aviation program in the Philippines ceased operation in 2010.