EMB 110 Bandeirante
The Embraer EMB110 Bandeirante is one of Embraer's most successful commercial aircraft program. Design of the EMB110 was undertaken in response to a Brazilian Ministry of Aeronautics specification for a general purpose light transport suitable for military and civilian duties. The new design was developed with the assistance of well known French designer Max Holste. In 1964, the Ministry of Aeronautics ordered a CTA study on the feasibility of setting up a medium-sized passenger aircraft production line in Brazil.
The EMB 110 Bandeirante aircraft project started even before the creation of Embraer, when in 1965, the IPD (Institute of Research and Development) — a department of the CTA (Aerospace Technical Center) — re-launched an old aircraft project, then called IPD-6504 (because it was the fourth project of 1965), in accordance with the specifications ordered by the Ministry of Aeronautics. The project was based on a study on the density of Brazilian commercial air traffic, especially in small towns, as well as on the length and type of airport runways, aiming at obtaining a modern airplane well suited to the country’s airport infrastructure at the time. The situation called for a small aircraft, a low-wing turboprop with capacity for eight people. In June 25, 1965, the development of the project was given the go-ahead by the Castelo Branco government.
It was Colonel Paulo Victor, the CTA director at the time, who christened the IPD-6504 aircraft “Bandeirante.” The moniker was symbolically loaded, harking back to the idea of the Bandeirantes (trailblazers or pioneer) as pioneers of national integration.
It used to take five years and a great deal of investment to go from designing to manufacturing an airplane prototype, taking into consideration the restrictive political and economic outlook Brazil was going through in the mid-1960s. Despite that, the first Bandeirante prototype was built in three years and four months after its project was approved. The first prototype took 110,000 man-hours. Around 300 people, led by Col. Ozires Silva, dedicated themselves to the project. The first of three YC-95 prototypes, under the command of Major Mariotto Ferreira and Engineer Michel Cury, made the first flight demonstration on October 22, 1968 [other accounts report October 26], taking off from the airport of São José dos Campos.
On August 19, 1969, Embraer (or Empresa Brasilera de Aeronáutica SA) was set up, initially just for the serial manufacture of the Bandeirante aircraft, then named EMB-100. The same year, the Ministry of Aeronautics signed a contract for the production in series of 80 Bandeirantes. On October 19, the second Bandeirante prototype, still under the responsibility of the CTA, made its inaugural flight.
Embraer began operating on January 2, 1970, and was able to take over the production of the aircraft. While the first Bandeirante, the EMB 100, was gaining flight experience, the design team was making changes and the required adjustments for producing a third prototype. Despite the Bandeirante’s good performance, it was found that market conditions had changed since the project’s inception, so the eight seats the plane provided would no longer suffice. Some changes were proposed, and Embraer’s design team decided to start over with the project, and so the EMB-110 Bandeirante came to be. It was bigger, with 12 seats in the military version, and it had some additional technical advances when compared with the first prototypes.
Serial production began in 1971, and in the same year, the aircraft was certified by the CTA. On August 9, 1972, the first serially produced Bandeirante took off. Ten days later there was a ceremony at Embraer for the public introduction of the serial Bandeirante, and on December 20, the model received CTA’s official approval certificate. On February 9, 1973, the first delivery of the EMB 110 Bandeirante was made to FAB. During the ceremony, one of FAB’s aircraft flew with President Medici on board. On April 11 of that year, the first Bandeirante was delivered to a commercial aviation company, Transbrasil, whose order had been made just three months earlier. The first commercial flight of the Bandeirante took place on April 16, 1973, operating in cities in the south of the country.
In June 1975, the first prototype of the Bandeirante took its last flight, from Santos Dumont Airport to Afonsos Air Base, where it remains on display at the Aeronautical Museum (Musal). The second prototype was delivered to the Santos Dumont Foundation and remained in its care until October 2008, when Embraer promoted its restoration as part of the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the first flight of the Bandeirante prototype. The airplane was painted in its original colors and received a new interior, with items, textures and shades similar to the original version. In June 2009, it was transported to the Brazilian Aerospace Memorial (MAB) in São José dos Campos, where it will remain on display permanently. The third prototype is on display at Parque Santos Dumont, also in São José dos Campos.
Bandeirante models include the 12 seat transport EMB110, the aerial photography EMB110B and maritime patrol EMB111 for the Brazilian air force; the initial airline version, the 15 seat EMB110C; the seven seat EMB110E executive transport; 18 seat enlarged EMB110P; convertible passenger/freight EMB110P1 with larger rear door; the EMB110PA which replaced the 110P as the standard passenger aircraft from 1983 and introduced dihedral to the tailplane among other minor improvements; the EMB110P1K and EMB110K SAR military equivalents to the P1A; the EMB110P2 commuter with seating for up to 21; the EMB110P2A which replaced the P2 and introduced the same changes as the P1A; and the EMB110P1A/41 and EMBP2A/41 versions of the P1A and P2A recertificated to US FAA SFAR41 standards with higher weights.
Production of the Bandeirante ceased in May 1990, the final aircraft being delivered to the Brazilian air force. The airplane was well accepted by the public and the airlines. It was light and a great value for the money, meeting the demands of the regional air market. It also responded very positively to the first oil crisis in 1973, when there was a highly significant increase in fuel prices, which made jet operations very costly. And so the Bandeirante, much more economical than its competitors, became more competitive.
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