Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia
|Network Aviation EMB-120 ER|
|First flight||July 27, 1983|
|Primary users||SkyWest Airlines
Brazilian Air Force
|Produced||1983–2001; built individually as of 2007|
Design and development 
After the success of the EMB-110 Bandeirante, Embraer began the development of their first transport category airliner in 1974. The so-called Family 12X was comprised by three models with modular concept designs: EMB-120 Araguaia, EMB-123-Tapajós and EMB-121 Xingu. EMB-121 was the sole 12X model effectively produced. Araguaia name was changed to Brasilia in 1979 at the official launching of the project, when at a CAAA (Commuter Airline Association of America) convention at USA several suggestions from prospective operators were collected and incorporated to EMB-120 design. Thus, a completely new aircraft - no more related to 12X family - was launched, and no common parts from EMB 121 Xingu was used, and the capacity was revised from 24 to 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 half again as much 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.
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.
- VIP transport version for the Brazilian Air Force.
|This section is outdated. (February 2013)|
Civil operators 
As of August 2010, 195 EMB 120 aircraft are in airline service around the world. Current operators include:
- Skybridge AirOps (1)
- RusLine (4)
- Swiftair (10) (All cargo version)
- Ameriflight (8)
- Charter Air Transport (6)
- Everts Air (3)
- Great Lakes Aviation (6)
- SkyWest Airlines (44)
- Streamline Airlines (1)
- Key Lime Air (1)
Another 20 companies also operate the aircraft.
Military Operators 
Specifications (EMB 120) 
Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1988-89
- 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
- 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.
- On May 21, 1997, SkyWest Airlines Flight 724, an Embraer EMB-120, N198SW, experienced a total loss of engine power to the right engine and associated engine fire, followed by a total loss of all airplane hydraulic systems, after takeoff from San Diego International-Lindbergh Field, San Diego, California. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The 2 pilots, 1 flight attendant, and 14 passengers were not injured. Skywest Airlines, Inc., was operating the airplane as a scheduled, domestic, passenger flight under 14 CFR Part 121. The flight was destined for Los Angeles, California. It diverted to Miramar NAS, San Diego, where it landed at 14:27 military time. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and an IFR flight plan was filed.
- 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, 1,5 km 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 into 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* On
- On February 2012, Everts Air Cargo, flight 1290, lost all pitch control due to poor maintenance procedures. The EMB landed safely in Illiamna, AK without further incident.
- On 27 November 2012 an Inter Îles Air Embraer EMB 120ER Brasilia (registration number D6-HUA) was underway from Moroni to Anjouan (both in Comoros Islands) on a charter flight with 25 passengers and 4 crew, when after taking off from Moroni's Prince Said Ibrahim International Airport it lost height, and while attempting to return to the airport, waterlanded 200 meters off the coast, about 5 km north of the airport. Local fishermen rescued everybody on board. There were only minor injuries.
Preserved Aircraft 
- PT-ZBA 120001 Brasília's first prototype preserved at Brazilian Airspace Memorial at the entrance of São José dos Campos airport and Embraer plant.
See also 
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- "Embraer 40 anos: A família 12X- in Portuguese".
- "EMB 120 Brasilia History". Embraer.
- Embraer Reports Third-Quarter 2007 Deliveries and Updates Order Book
- Federal Aviation Regulations Type Certificate No. A31SO
- "World Airliner Census 2011, pg 35". Flight Global," 13–19 December 2011. Retrieved: 10 January 2012
- Taylor 1988, pp. 12-13.
- "Accident description FAB-2001". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
- Muck, Patti. "Crash searchers find stabilizer/Discovery points to maintenance mix-up, not bomb." Houston Chronicle. Monday September 16, 1991. A1. Retrieved on August 23, 2009.
- "Accident description PT-WRQ". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
- "Accident description PT-WRO". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
- Hall, Lex (24 March 2010). "Pilots were killed on dangerous exercise". The Australian. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
- "Two pilots killed in Darwin plane crash". Northern Territory News. 22 March 2010. Retrieved 22 March 2010.[dead link]
- "Media briefing: Aircraft accident at Darwin Airport". Australian Transport Safety Bureau. 22 March 2010. Retrieved 22 March 2010.
- "Two killed in plane crash at Darwin". Australian Associated Press (Sydney Morning Herald). 22 March 2010. Retrieved 22 March 2010.
- "Collision with terrain, VH-ANB". ATSB. 22 March 2010. Retrieved May 2010.
- Simon Hradecky. "Accident: Inter Iles E120 near Moroni on November 27th 2012, engine trouble, ditched in the Ocean". Aviation Herald. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
- Taylor, John W.R. Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1988-89. Coulsdon, UK:Jane's Information Group, 1988. ISBN 0-7106-0867-5.
Media related to Embraer EMB 120 at Wikimedia Commons