Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia

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EMB-120 Brasilia
N569SW LAX (26322494726).jpg
United Express operated by SkyWest
Role Turboprop Regional airliner
National origin Brazil
Manufacturer Embraer
First flight July 27, 1983
Introduction October, 1985
Status In Service
Primary users Brazilian Air Force
Produced 1983–2001
Number built 357[1]

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

Design and development[edit]

EMB-120 cockpit (non-glass cockpit)
Three-abreast cabin

After the success of the EMB 110 Bandeirante, Embraer began the development of their first transport category airliner in 1974. The Family 12X comprised 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's name was changed to Brasilia in 1979 at the official launching of the project, when at a CAAA (Commuter Airline Association of America) convention several suggestions from prospective operators were collected and incorporated to EMB 120 design. Thus, a completely new aircraft – no longer related to the 12X family – was launched. No common parts from EMB 121 Xingu were used, and the capacity was revised from 24 to 30 seats. Originally designed to utilise the new 1500 shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PW115 turboprop, it was later upgraded to the 1892 eshp PW118.[2]

The Brasilia attracted immediate interest from many regional airlines, particularly in the US. 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.[3]

Operational history[edit]

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, although the Angolan Air Force, for example, received new EMB 120s in 2007.[4]

Great Lakes Airlines operated six EMB 120s in its fleet, and Ameriflight flies 10 as freighters.


A Swiftair Cargo
EMB 120
Basic production version.
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.[5]
Full cargo version.
Quick change cargo version.
Transport version. All EMB-120RT S/Ns may be converted into the model EMB-120ER.[5]
VIP transport version for the Brazilian Air Force.


Civil operators[edit]

As of July 2018, 105 Brasilias were in airline service: 45 in North/South America, 26 in Africa, 14 in Europe and 20 in Asia-Pacific, with major operators:[6]

Military operators[edit]


Specifications (EMB 120)[edit]


Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1988-89[8]

General characteristics


  • Maximum speed: 608 km/h (378 mph, 328 kn) at 6,100 m (20,013 ft)
  • Cruise speed: 552 km/h (343 mph, 298 kn)
  • Stall speed: 162 km/h (101 mph, 87 kn) (flaps down) (CAS)
  • Range: 1,750 km (1,090 mi, 940 nmi) (30 passengers, reserves for 185 km (115 mi; 100 nmi) divert and 45 minute hold)
  • Service ceiling: 9,085 m (29,806 ft)
  • Take-off run: 1,420 m (4,659 ft)


Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On September 19, 1986, an Atlantic Southeast Airlines EMB 120RT (N219AS) struck a mountain near Mantiqueira, Brazil, while being delivered to Atlantic Southeast, killing all five on board.[11]
  • On December 21, 1987, an Embraer 120 Brazilia operated by Air Littoral for Air France (flight AF 1919 Brussels-Bordeaux) crashed in a forest during a wrong approach of Bordeaux–Mérignac Airport (South-West of France). All 16 occupants died.[12]
  • On July 8, 1988, Brazilian Air Force Embraer EMB 120RT Brasília FAB-2001 crashed during an engine-out landing at São José dos Campos. Five of the 9 occupants died.[13]
  • On April 5, 1991, Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 2311, operating for Delta Connection, crashed on approach to Glynco Jetport in Brunswick, Georgia. 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 which led to incorrect propeller blade angles.
  • On September 11, 1991, Continental Express Flight 2574 broke up in flight and crashed at Eagle Lake, Texas, killing all 14 passengers and crew members. The NTSB determined that missing screws on the horizontal stabilizer led to part of it detaching from the aircraft.[14]
  • On August 21, 1995, one of the blades on Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 529's number-one propeller sheared off, partly tearing the left engine from its mount and increasing drag on the left side. It crashed in a field near Carrollton, Georgia. Of the twenty-nine people on board, ten died (one casualty was from a heart attack nearly 8 weeks after the accident).
  • On January 9, 1997, Comair Flight 3272 crashed in Monroe, Michigan. All of the 29 passengers and crew died. The probable cause was in-flight icing.
  • 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. The flight was destined for Los Angeles, California. It diverted to NAS Miramar, San Diego, where it landed at 14:27 hrs.
  • 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. Seven more people were injured.[15]
  • On August 30, 2002, Rico Linhas Aéreas Flight 4823 operated by an 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.[16]
  • On May 14, 2004, Rico Linhas Aéreas Flight 4815 operated by an Embraer EMB 120ER Brasília (registration PT-WRO), en route from São Paulo de Olivença and Tefé to Manaus crashed in the forest about 18 nmi (33 km; 21 mi) from Manaus. All 33 passengers and crew died in the worst-ever accident involving the EMB 120.[17]
  • On March 22, 2010, an Airnorth EMB 120 (VH-ANB) took off approximately 10.10am (ACST) 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.[18] The two pilots on board were killed instantly.[19][20][21][22]
  • On September 14, 2011, Angolan Air Force Embraer 120ER T-500 crashed while attempting to take off from Huambo Airport, killing 17 of 23 on board.[23]
  • 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.[24][25]
  • On November 27, 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 m (660 ft) off the coast, about 5 km north of the airport. Local fishermen rescued everybody on board. There were only minor injuries, but the aircraft was damaged beyond repair and was written off.[26][27]
  • On October 3, 2013, Associated Aviation Flight 361, an EMB 120RT (5N-BJY), was involved in a crash on takeoff from Lagos Airport bound for Akure. The aircraft was on a charter flight taking the body of the former Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Agagu for burial. There were at least 16 reported fatalities amongst passengers travelling in the burial party. Two people who survived the crash died later in hospital.[28][29]
  • On October 12, 2017, an Air Guicango EMB-120 (D2-FDO) crashed en route from Dundo to Luanda (both in Angola). Crew declared engine failure and fire prior to losing radio contact. The wreckage was located the following day with no survivors.[30]
  • On May 4, 2020, an African Express Airways EMB-120 (5Y-AXO), operating a flight to Baidoa from Mogadishu, was reportedly shot down by a rocket in Somalia. This aircraft was carrying medical aids to fight COVID-19. A total of six people on board died after crash landing near Bardale.[31][32]

Preserved aircraft[edit]

  • PT-ZBA 120001 Brasília's first prototype preserved at Brazilian Airspace Memorial at the entrance of São José dos Campos airport and Embraer plant.[33]

See also[edit]

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era


  1. ^ "Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia specs". Aviation Safety Network. Flight Safety Foundation.
  2. ^ "Embraer 40 anos: A família 12X- in Portuguese". Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
  3. ^ "EMB 120 Brasilia History". Embraer. Archived from the original on 2011-08-24. Retrieved 2011-04-29.
  4. ^ "Embraer Reports Third-Quarter 2007 Deliveries and Updates Order Book" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-10-07.
  5. ^ a b [1] Federal Aviation Regulations Type Certificate No. A31SO
  6. ^ Thisdell & Morris 2018, p. 45
  7. ^ a b "World air forces". Flightglobal. 2017.
  8. ^ Taylor, John W.R. (1988). Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1988-89. Coulsdon, UK: Jane's Information Group. pp. 12–13. ISBN 978-0-7106-0867-3.
  9. ^ Lednicer, David. "The Incomplete Guide to Airfoil Usage". m-selig.ae.illinois.edu. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  10. ^ "Embraer EMB-120 - Aerospace Technology".
  11. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Embraer EMB-120RT Brasilia N219AS Mantiqueira, SP". aviation-safety.net. Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  12. ^ Report of the BEA.
  13. ^ Accident description for FAB-2001 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 13 August 2011.
  14. ^ Patti Muck (September 16, 1991). "Crash searchers find stabilizer/Discovery points to maintenance mix-up, not bomb". The Houston Chronicle. Retrieved August 23, 2009.
  15. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Embraer 120RT Brasilia PT-WKH Fortaleza, CE". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  16. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Embraer 120ER Brasilia PT-WRQ Rio Branco-Pres. Medici Airport, AC (RBR)". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  17. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Embraer 120ER Brasilia PT-WRO Manaus, AM". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
  18. ^ Hall, Lex (24 March 2010). "Pilots were killed on dangerous exercise". The Australian. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  19. ^ "Two pilots killed in Darwin plane crash". Northern Territory News. 22 March 2010. Retrieved 22 March 2010.[dead link]
  20. ^ "Media briefing: Aircraft accident at Darwin Airport". Australian Transport Safety Bureau. 22 March 2010. Archived from the original on 6 June 2010. Retrieved 22 March 2010.
  21. ^ Australian Associated Press (22 March 2010). "Two killed in plane crash at Darwin". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 March 2010.
  22. ^ "Collision with terrain, VH-ANB" (PDF). ATSB. 22 March 2010. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  23. ^ Accident description for T-500 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 3 October 2013.
  24. ^ "Accidents and incidentsv news". J.A.C.D.E.C. - Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre. 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  25. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  26. ^ Simon Hradecky. "Accident: Inter Iles E120 near Moroni on 27 November 2012, engine trouble, ditched in the Ocean". The Aviation Herald. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  27. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Embraer EMB-120ER Brasilia D6-HUA Moroni-Prince Said Ibrahim In Airport (HAH)". aviation-safety.net. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  28. ^ Faul, Michelle (October 3, 2013). "Up to 16 killed as plane nose-dives in Nigeria". Associated Press. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  29. ^ Accident description for 5N-BJY at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 3 October 2013.
  30. ^ "Crash: Guicango E120 near Dundo on Oct 12th 2017, engine failure, fire, missing aircraft found". avherald.com. Retrieved 2017-10-14.
  31. ^ "Aircraft accident Embraer EMB-120RT Brasilia 5Y-AXO Bardale Airstrip". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  32. ^ "Crash: East African Express E120 at Berdale on May 4th 2020, aircraft shot down by Ethiopian troops". The Aviation Herald. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  33. ^ Lucio Daou (March 2012). "Photo: PT-ZBA (CN: 120001) Embraer Embraer EMB-120 Brasília". JetPhotos.Net. Retrieved 8 July 2013.

External links[edit]