DALLAS — Today in Aviation, the Embraer Regional Jet ERJ-145 made its maiden flight in 1995. The aircraft was launched at the 1989 Paris Air Show.
The Brazilian manufacturer, along with various other aircraft makers such as Shorts and British Aerospace, wanted to tap into the new market that would see turboprops replaced by regional jet aircraft.
The most prominent ERJ family, the -145, was a development of the Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia. An 18-foot fuselage extension offered seating for up to 50 passengers in a three-abreast seating configuration.
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However, early delays with the project hampered the type’s proposed entry into service. Firstly, Embraer struggled to source an engine supplier for the aircraft. Eventually, the Rolls-Royce/Allison GMA3007 turbofan was selected in March 1990.
The second delay came about after the Brazilian government, a significant shareholder in Embraer, cut its spending. This led to the manufacturer laying off a large number of its employees and subsequently suspending the development of the jet for six months.
In late 1991 the type was redesigned, with engines moved from under the wing to the rear fuselage. Privatization of Embraer in December 1994 gave a much-needed financial boost to the planemaker and production of the airliner began in earnest.
By the time of the type’s first flight, there were 18 firm orders, 16 options, and 127 letters of intent.
The first ERJ-145 was delivered to ExpressJet Airlines, operating as Continental Express in December 1996.
26 years in operation, over 26 million flight hours, and in service with 36 airlines in 26 countries, the ERJ-145 has a proven runway record.
Featured image: John Davies – CYOW Airport Watch, GFDL 1.2