Embraer is planning to use developments in the extended range ERJ-145 XR to feed back into the baseline ERJ-145 model and the new Legacy executive jet version of the smaller ERJ-135.

While modification of existing 50-seat jets to the full ERJ-145 XR configuration would be prohibitively expensive, the company says the aircraft does incorporate retrofitable design changes. These include winglets, originally developed for the EMB-145 SA airborne early warning aircraft, and the auxiliary ventral fuel tank.


"We think the winglets will prove very popular," says Mark Hale, Embraer vice president marketing. The addition of winglets extends the aircraft's wing span from 20m ( 65ft 9in) to 21m and is calculated to produce up to a 3% improvement in the ERJ-145's specific fuel consumption.

Embraer is looking at incorporating into the Legacy the ERJ-145 XR's supplemental T-shaped fuel tank housed in the aft wingbox fairing. The auxiliary tank gives the aircraft an extra 800kg (1,760lb) of fuel, extending the 50-seat passenger jet's maximum range to 3,700km (2,000nm). It is estimated that the extra tank could add 925km more to the Legacy's 5,930km range. The executive and shuttle Legacy versions feature winglets.

Further enhancements are under study at Embraer, including the addition of a head-up display to the aircraft's cockpit. Initial discussions have already been held with Kaiser. Giving the aircraft a full CAT 3 capability would prove expensive though, says Hale.

The first of the 75 ERJ-145 XR ordered by launch customer Continental Express is scheduled for delivery in July 2002. Other design changes to the aircraft include uprated 8,910lb-thrust (40kN) Rolls-Royce AE3007A1E turbofans, a reinforced fuselage and a increased maximum take-off weight of 24,000kg.

Brazilian CTA certification for the 44-seat ERJ-140 remains on track for next month. US Federal Aviation Administration and European Joint Aviation Authorities certification follow in July and September respectively. American Eagle will take delivery of the first 139 aircraft on order in July.

Source: Flight International