MIAMI – On November 6, Miami International Airport (MIA) got a unique visitor, a 29-year-old McDonnell Douglas MD-87 belonging to the Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force (EUDF) of the Kingdom of Eswatini.

The aircraft, with registration 3DC-SWZ began a long journey from Manzini Matsapha Airport (MTS), Eswatini beginning on November 5.

Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force MD-87 at MIA reg: 3DC-SWZ Photo: © Max Taubman – @maximumaviation

The jet continued the long journey, eventually stopping in Madrid (MAD) before flying north to Santiago de Compostela (SCQ) in Spain where on November 6 it began a transatlantic crossing.

First heading to Gander (YQX) in Canada, the crossing took the narrow body aircraft a little under 5 hours.

After refueling in YQX the aircraft began the final leg of the journey, a 5 hour and 13 minute flight to MIA that was in fact longer than the previous oceanic crossing.

Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force MD-87 at MIA reg: 3DC-SWZ Photo: © Max Taubman - @maximumaviation
Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force MD-87 at MIA reg: 3DC-SWZ Photo: © Max Taubman – @maximumaviation

A Miami Arrival


Upon arrival in MIA the jet parked near the Amerijet International (M6) cargo terminal where it was photographed by Max Taubman (@maximumaviation).

The purpose of the EUDF MD-87 arriving in MIA while unknown can be speculated on in a few directions.

The jet is often used by King Mswati III of Eswatini, but the EUDF also has an Airbus A340-300 with the registration 3DC-SDF that is more often used for his personal transportation, making his arrival in MIA unlikely.

More likely, the jet is heading for maintenance at one of the many maintenance facilities, including the Commercial Jet heavy maintenance facility, but the real purpose of the arrival nevertheless remains unknown.


Featured image: Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force MD-87 at MIA reg: 3DC-SWZ Photo: © Max Taubman – @maximumaviation