ERJ-145 – medium-range passenger aircraft for local airlines, developed by the Brazilian company Embraer. The sensation was that on the local aircraft market the ERJ-145 (formerly EMB-145) unexpectedly showed excellent flight performance. Today, the newcomer entered the competition with other 50-seat aircraft, but after announcing its relatively low sale price, he immediately attracted the attention of regional airlines. The development of this Brazilian aircraft began in the late 1980s, at the same time as the similar Renal Jet aircraft of the Bombardier and SAAB 2000 companies. But there was a problem: while the engineers of Imbreer puzzled over where to place Allison engines – above or under the wing, two other competing firms had pulled far ahead. And even after they finally settled on the option of placing engines in the rear of the fuselage, financial difficulties and the privatization that began at the end of 1994 delayed ongoing work on the ERJ-145 for several years.
This economic hitch allowed the two main competitors of the ERJ-145 developers to establish close contacts with some major airlines serving local airlines. This led to the fact that the first flight of the Regional Jet took place already in 1989, and in 1992 its operation began. And among the operators, there were such reputable companies as SkyWest, Komer, and Lufthansa. “SAAB 2000” has some complications. It was created almost at the same time as the Regional Jet, but several significant improvements delayed the commissioning of this turboprop aircraft until mid-1994. But the ERJ-145 exceeded all expectations in its success. One of the main ways to attract the attention of airlines to it is its relatively low price. The base cost of this aircraft is set at 15 million dollars. The price of the “Regional Jet”, for example, is about 19.5 million dollars. However, the price, although it is the main factor in choosing an airplane, also plays flight data, operating costs, and flight support. Therefore, let’s take a closer look at the “Brazilian”.
Test pilot David North recalls: “As I expected, the ERJ-145 with tail number“ 3 ”which I carried out in the parking lot was very similar to the Imbreere EMB-120 Brazilian turboprop aircraft. “the fuselage and nose, however, the large length of the fuselage balanced its proportions, making the aircraft look very beautiful. And even the relatively large engine nacelles of Allison turbojet engines do not spoil its appearance.” Gilberto Schittini, who was supposed to fly with the tester, instructed North to conduct a preflight check himself, head of the flight operation of Imbreere. Together they had to make more than one test flight. We worked together on the Tucano training turbo-propeller business class CBA-123.
While North was engaged in preflight preparation, Schittini told him about some of the features of the ERJ-145. However, the test pilot had studied the aircraft in detail before and was in the know regarding its design features. For example, the main landing gear is located “at the break” of the center of gravity of the machine, in the region of the trailing edge of the wing, which is very convenient for landing. North was already convinced of this during his only flight and landing in Dallis. The pre-flight inspection of North was also extremely simplified by the fact that, following the design ideology of ERJ-145, aimed at the utmost ease of use, all working areas are easily accessible and convenient for system maintenance. There was one peculiarity: on an experimental aircraft with the tail number “3”, the engines were equipped with a thrust reversal mechanism from the Games company. In the future, the installation of this mechanism should be decided by the customer.
The fact is that the installation of reverses increases the mass of the aircraft by 116 kg, and the price by about 350 thousand dollars. But at the same time, of course, there are wider possibilities for operating the aircraft, especially at aerodromes with a limited runway length. Boarding aboard, David North was surprised to notice that with his height more than 180 cm, he could, without bending, stand in the aisle. The chairs were arranged in three rows – one on the left and two on the right with a pitch of 790 mm. The passage between seats with a width of 480 mm, according to the Imbreere company, is the largest among the aircraft of this class. The basic layout of the ERJ-145 includes a toilet in the rear of the cabin and a kitchen unit on the right, near the rear service door. Opposite the main entrance door in front of the cabin, there is a wardrobe for clothes and a place for hand luggage. Embraer has worked hard to reduce the noise of propulsion systems and pumps. Around the tire wheels, special brushes were supplied to reduce noise when the chassis wings were open.
So, North and Schittini took their places in the spacious cabin. They had to perform an hour-long flight, close to the typical for local airlines. Compared to the predecessor and the ERJ-145 turboprop “Brazil”, the cab length was increased by 46 cm. A folding seat was installed in it, and there was enough space to put “diplomats” and bags. Very comfortable pilot seats were made by the French company Sikma, and although the flight was not very long, the pilots managed to appreciate their excellent comfort: the seats could be adjusted in height and shifted to the side. North directed the plane to the Dallis airport runway. During taxiing, the plane was very mobile, and the Goodrich brakes worked perfectly: they did not screech and acted very softly. Schettino had already calculated in advance the speed at which it is impossible to interrupt take-off, the speed of separation of the front pillar is 222 km / h and the safe take-off speed is 233 km / h. North increased traction to take off. During a short take-off, control in the initial period was carried out by the front wheel, then by the rudder. The strip length required for take-off was 1160 m.
Having reached a height of 7.6 km, the pilots tested the device at a speed of 540 km / h. This value was recognized by the developers as a temporary limitation for new aircraft of this type. But the available thrust and the possibility of designing the airframe in the future assumed to easily increase the value of the cruising speed to M = 0.85 with an allowable double overload. Testers ventured to achieve these values. There was no shaking. Further flight tests showed that the maximum flight range corresponds to a cruising speed of 440 km / h at an altitude of 7.5 km with fuel consumption of 840 kg / h. The estimated range of the serial ERJ-145 was about 1,500 km. But at present, a variant of the aircraft with a range of 2300 km is being considered. Moreover, it will have a large take-off weight of 1360 kg. When entering the stall modes that appear at a flight speed of 180 km / h and an angle of attack of 22 °, the machine does not show signs of jolting.
For this reason, the ERJ-145 specially installed a warning jolting system and forced the shutdown of the helm. Later, during the demonstration flights of the ERJ-145 in the USA, many regional pilots were allowed to test the car. And surprisingly, there were very few comments. All of them came down to changes in the cockpit. In particular, due to the poor operation of the temperature sensors, there were several failures in the glass heating system of the pilot’s cabin. It was also noted that false messages about failures were received on a centralized system computer several times. The reason for this was the difference between computers providing the failure alarm system. But there were no problems with Allison engines during the flight tests or the US tour.
Pilots were very pleased with the landing system on the instruments of the new aircraft. After adjusting the image, they were convinced that the symbols adopted by Honeywell for displaying information on the main display of the flight control system were simply magnificent. The fact is that on the displays of other companies, pilots had difficulty reading the rate of decline, which could lead to trouble. According to the pilots, flying the ERJ-145 is very nice. The speed at the end of the approach, due to the high mechanization of the wing, is small, only 220 km / h, and when touched – 210. The minimum required runway length when landing is no more than 1200 m. According to experts, the ERJ-145 has an elegant modern streamlined shape, with a significantly protruding fuselage. The latter is explained by the consideration of maintaining the alignment range since the engines are located on the fuselage at the very rear.
The fuselage is a cylindrical shape D = 2.1 m with a very pointed nose, in which the radar and instrument compartment is located. The cockpit is spacious with an extensive glazing area, which provides pilots with an excellent aerial view. In the fuselage vestibule, there is a folding ladder for boarding passengers, a kitchen unit with a refrigeration unit, a luggage compartment with wardrobes. Next, the passenger compartment extends with 36 portholes for 50 seats. In the lower, underground part of the fuselage, fuel tanks are designed for 4250 kg of fuel. In the middle of the passenger compartment in the center section are two emergency exits. The wing is a two-spar wing with a “Clark” profile with a sweep angle of 30 °, a total area of 51.2 m2, and an extension of 7.8. There are two brake flaps on the center section of the caisson structure. Plumage – “T” – shaped. After landing, the aircraft is also braked by a system of reversing devices located on two jet engines AE 300 7A with a thrust of 3.4 ts each. Steering system – rigid, articulated, and lever. A characteristic feature of the aircraft: keel and stabilizer, and accordingly, their rudders are not large in area.
The aircraft is provided with modern anti-icing devices and fire fighting equipment. The chassis is three-rack with a nose wheel, two wheels on each rack. The nasal support retracts forward along the course, the main – in the center section. ERJ-145 is manufactured using modern technology: 55% of its design consists of duralumin alloys, 5% – steel parts, 35% – composite materials. On ERJ-145 installed avionics “Primus 1000” firm “Honeywell” with five monitors. The arrangement of devices on the dashboard is simple and convenient, with small screens. This equipment was previously tested on other experimental aircraft. For serial ERJ-145, on the screens of monitors, the diagrams of aircraft systems are displayed and, first of all, of Hanwell and Trimbol navigation systems, or Honeywell combined navigation and satellite navigation systems. Certification of ERJ-145 in the USA was carried out at the end of 1996, and in Europe – at the beginning of 1997. The French airline Regional Airlines began to have the first new aircraft, followed by the Australian FlightWest, the British West Indian Airlines, and the Danish International Trade Airlines.
One of the secrets of Imbreere’s success is a reliable partnership with Ellide Signal, Goodrich, Sikma, Lucas Aerospace, and ABG Semka. Today Imbreere offers various modifications of its aircraft – for passenger and cargo transportation, rescue flights, maritime patrols, etc. Many aviation experts and experts find the Brazilian ERJ-145 more than successful for mid-range aircraft.
- ERJ-145STD is the first production modification.
- ERJ-145EU model for the European market. With a standard fuel tank capacity of 145STD (4174 kg), the maximum take-off weight was increased to 19990 kg.
- ERJ-145ER modification with increased range.
- ERJ-145EP modification 145ER with an increased maximum take-off weight up to 20990 kg.
- ERJ-145LR modification with increased range (increased fuel tanks and improved engines).
- ERJ-145LU modification 145LR with an increased maximum take-off weight up to 21990 kg.
- ERJ-145MK modification 145STD, with the same maximum take-off weight, the maximum weight of the aircraft without fuel was changed – 17,700 kg
- ERJ-145XR longer-range modification (numerous aerodynamic improvements, additional fuel tank (located in the aft) in addition to the two main large tanks in the wing (the same tanks as in the LR models), increased weight, higher maximum speed, and more powerful engines).
- Modification ERJ-145
- Wingspan, m 20.04
- The length of the aircraft, m 29.87
- The height of the aircraft, m 6.75
- Wing Area, m2 51.19
- Weight kg empty aircraft 11152; maximum take-off 22,000; fuel (LR) 4,173 (4,983)
- Engine type 2 turbofan Allison AE 3007A
- Rod, kN 2 x 31.30
- Cruising speed, km / h 833
- Economy speed, km / h 667
- Practical range, km 50 passengers (LR) 3037; 50 passengers (ER) 2445
- Practical ceiling, m 11277
- Crew 2
- Payload 48-50 passengers or 5660 kg of commercial cargo.