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  Aircraft History, Specification and Information
Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia

The Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia is a twin-turboprop commuter airliner, produced by Embraer of Brazil.

Design & Development

After the success of the EMB-110 Bandeirante, Embraer began the development of their first transport category airliner in 1974. Originally called the Araguaia, the name was changed to Brasilia in 1979 at the official launching of the project. The design retained the T-tail and supercritical wing of the EMB 121 Xingu, but with the capacity for 30 seats. Originally designed to utilise the new 1500SHP Pratt & Whitney Canada PW115 Turboprop, this was later upgraded to the 1892 ESHP PW118.

Probably the closest to a modern replacement for the DC-3 (with double the speed), the Brasilia attracted immediate interest from many regional airlines, particularly in the USA. The size, speed and ceiling allowed faster and more direct services around the US and Europe, compared to similar aircraft. The first aircraft entered service with Atlantic Southeast Airlines in October 1985. The basic EMB-120RT was upgraded to the extended range (1,575 km) EMB-120 ER, with older aircraft retrofitted via a Service Bulletin.

In total, 352 Brasilia airplanes were delivered to 33 operators around the world.

Operational History

Most of the EMB 120s were sold in the United States and other destinations in the Western Hemisphere. Some European airlines such as Régional in France, Atlant-Soyuz Airlines in Russia, DAT in Belgium, and DLT in Germany also purchased EMB-120s. Serial production ended in 2001. As of 2007, it is still available for one-off orders, as it shares much of the production equipment with the ERJ-145 family, which is still produced. The Angolan Air Force, for example, received a new EMB 120 in 2007.

SkyWest Airlines operates the largest fleet of EMB 120s under the United Express and Delta Connection brand. Great Lakes Airlines operates six EMB 120s in its fleet, and Ameriflight flies eight as freighters.


  • EMB 120
    Basic production version.
  • EMB 120ER
    Extended range and increased capacity version. All EMB-120ER S/Ns may be converted into the model EMB-120FC or into the model EMB-120QC.
  • EMB 120FC
    Full cargo version.
  • EMB 120QC
    Quick change cargo version.
  • EMB 120RT
    Transport version. All EMB-120RT S/Ns may be converted into the model EMB-120ER.
  • VC-97
    VIP transport version for the Brazilian Air Force.


Civil Operators

As of August 2010, 195 EMB 120 aircraft are in airline service around the world. Current operators include:

  • Angola
    Air 26 (8)
    Diexim Expresso (4)
  • Australia
    Airnorth (4)
    Network Aviation (7)
    Skippers Aviation (6)
  • Brazil
    Meta Linhas Aéreas (2)
  • Ecuador
    SAEREO. (2)
    Passaredo Transportes Aéreos (5)
    Sete Linhas Aéreas (2)
  • Gabon
  • Hungary
    Budapest Aircraft Service (3)
  • Italy
    Skybridge Airops (1)
  • Moldova
    Air Moldova
  • Mozambique
    LAM Mozambique Airlines
  • Nigeria
    Associated Aviation (4)
  • South Africa
    Naturelink Charter (11)
    African Airlines Investments (4)
  • Russia
    RusLine (4)
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
    Air Turks and Caicos (4)
  • Spain
    Swiftair (10) (All cargo version)
  • Turkey
    Orbit Express Airlines (1)
  • United States
    Ameriflight (8)
    Charter Air Transport (6)
    Everts Air (3)
    Great Lakes Aviation (6)
    SkyWest Airlines (44)
    Streamline Airlines (1)
  • Zambia
    Proflight Commuter Services (1)

Another 20 companies also operate the aircraft.

Military Operators

  • Angola
    National Air Force of Angola
  • Brazil
    Brazilian Air Force 15 in service.
  • Ecuador
    Ecuadorian Air Force
  • Uruguay
    Uruguayan Air Force


Brazilian Air Force on July 8, 1988 an Embraer EMB 120RT Brasília registration FAB-2001 crashed during an engine-out landing at São José dos Campos. Five of the 9 occupants died.

On October 21, 1998, a Capital Táxi Aéreo EMB 120RT Brasilia registration PT-WKH crashed due to pilot error during final approach to Pinto Martins International Airport. The two-man crew and one passenger on board were killed, along with one person on the ground.

Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 2311, crashed in Brunswick, Georgia on April 5, 1991. The crash claimed the lives of all twenty-three people on board, including former U.S. Senator John Tower of Texas and astronaut Sonny Carter. This was due to propeller control failure.

Continental Express Flight 2574, broke up in flight on September 11, 1991, killing all of the passengers and crew members. The NTSB determined that missing screws on the horizontal stabilizer led to the crash.

Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 529, crashed in a field near Carrollton, Georgia on August 21, 1995. Of the twenty-nine people on board, ten were killed. This was due to failure of a propeller blade and subsequent severe engine vibration and failure.

Comair Flight 3272 crashed in Monroe, Michigan on January 9, 1997. All of the passengers and crew died. The probable cause was in-flight icing.

Rico Linhas Aéreas flight 4823 on August 30, 2002, operated by the Embraer EMB 120ER Brasília registration PT-WRQ, en route from Cruzeiro do Sul and Tarauacá to Rio Branco crashed on approach to Rio Branco during a rainstorm, 1,5km short of the runway. Of the 31 passengers and crew aboard, 23 died.

Rico Linhas Aéreas flight 4815 operated by the Embraer EMB 120ER Brasília registration PT-WRO, en route from São Paulo de Olivença and Tefé to Manaus crashed in the forest at about 18 nm from Manaus on May 14, 2004. All 33 passengers and crew died.

Airnorth VH-ANB took off approximately 10:10am (ACST) on March 22, 2010, from Darwin International Airport on a routine simulated engine-failure training exercise known as a V1 cut when it apparently banked sharply to the left and crashed into the nearby bushland at RAAF Base Darwin. The two on-board pilots were killed instantly.

On September 14, 2011, an Angolan Air Force Embraer 120ER crashed and broke on to two pieces while attempting to take off from Albano Machado Airport killing 30 of the 36 onboard.

On October 12, 2011, a Nationale Regionale Transport EMB-120, registration ZS-PYO (MSN: 120245) performing a charter flight from Libreville to Port Gentil (Gabon), overran runway 21's end and came to a stop with the nose gear intact, both main gear struts bent backwards causing the engines to "pitch down" together with the wings. A few passengers sustained minor injuries, but the aircraft was damaged beyond repair and was written off.

Specifications (Embraer EMB-120)

General characteristics
Crew: Two pilots and one flight attendant
Capacity: 30 passengers
Length: 20.00 m (65 ft 7½ in)
Wingspan: 19.78 m (64 ft 10¾ in)
Height: 6.35 m (20 ft 10 in)
Wing area: 39.4 m² (424 ft²)
Airfoil: NACA 23018 (modified) at root, NACA 23012 at tip
Aspect ratio: 9.9:1
Empty weight: 7,070 kg (15,586 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 11,500 kg (25,353 lb)
Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PW118/118A/118B turboprops, 1,340 kW (1,800 shp) each
Maximum Landing Weight: 11,250 kg (24,802 lb)

Maximum speed: 608 km/h (328 knots, 378 mph) at 20,000 ft (6,100 m)
Cruise speed: 552 km/h (298 knots, 343 mph)
Stall speed: 162 km/h (87 knots, 100 mph) (CAS),(flaps down)
Range: 1,750 km (945 nmi, 1,088 mi) (30 passengers, reserves for 100 nmi divert and 45 min hold)
Service ceiling: 9,085 m (29,800 ft)
Take-off Run: 1,420 m (4,660 ft) minimum

Collins 5-screen Electronic Flight Instrument System
Dual autopilots

Last updated July 01, 2012
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia".
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