Embraer EMB-120ER Brasilia
Twin-turboprop low-wing commuter airliner, Brazil

Archive Photos 1

United Express (SkyWest Airlines), Embraer EMB-120ER (N580SW, c/n 120348, 1999) taking off (10/8/2011) from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), (Photos by John Shupek)

Overview 2

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

Design and Development 2

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 utilize the new 1500 SHP 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-120ER, with older aircraft retrofitted via a Service Bulletin.

Operational History 2

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

Variants 2

Operators 2

Civil Operators

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

Military Operators

Specifications (EMB 120) 2

General Characteristics




  1. Photos, John Shupek, Copyright © 2011 Skytamer Images. All Rights Reserved
  2. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia

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