Tag Archives: Embraer

First Prototype Of Brazilian KC-390 Military Cargo Aircraft Almost Crashed During Stall Tests Last Month

Pilots of the KC-390 were only able to recover the aircraft 300 meters from the ground.

Embraer has grounded the first prototype of the new KC-390 military cargo jet after a stall test incident on Oct. 12. According to the Brazilian planemaker, the scheduled test pushed the aircraft beyond its operating limits, however Brazilian Aero Magazine media outlet, that has talked to an engineer involved in the project who asked to remain anonymous, something else happened in the skies near Embraer Unidade Gavião Peixoto Airport, the private airport located near Gavião Peixoto, Brazil, owned and operated by Embraer: an incident that almost ended in a tragedy.

As reported by Aero Magazine, the KC-390 registered PT-ZNF was performing critical pre-stall tests, that involved high-AOA (Angle Of Attack) and  ice formation on wings. During the maneuver, an equipment used for the tests, detached from its place and rolled to the back of the cargo compartment causing a sudden change in the center of gravity (CG) of the aircraft. As a consequence of the rapid displacement of the CG the pilots lost control of the airlifter, that stalled and started to spin towards the ground. Reportedly, the pilots were able to recover the aircraft as it was only 1,000 feet (about 300 m) above the ground, and landed the KC-390 safely in Gavião Peixoto airfield.

Analysis of the track based on the KC-390 ADS-B transponder using the popular Flightradar24.com plane-tracking website suggests that the cargo prototype plunged from about 20,000 feet to around 3,000 feet, between 13.25UTC and 13.28UTC, with a peak vertical speed of -30,976 fpm. However, based on the ADS-B raw data, the area where the test flight was taking place is not covered by receivers at altitudes below 2,800 feet, therefore it is possible that the aircraft was recovered well below 3,000 ft and that the transponder signal was detected once the aircraft had climbed again to a safe altitude after recovering from the spin.

The track followed by the KC-390 during Oct. 12 test flight. Note the vertical speed of about -31,000 fpm at 11,375 ft.

Two KC-390 prototypes have been built, the second one being example PT-ZNJ that made its first flight on Apr. 28, 2016. PT-ZNF made its maiden flight on Feb. 3, 2015.

H/T Jaime Maia for the heads-up

Two pilots shocked to find German Typhoons hot on their tail

Two pilots flying what they thought was a routine flight to Germany for servicing of their Embraer Phenom executive jet had more than they bargained for when two Luftwaffe Typhoons appeared on their wing tip.

According to The Local website, the two German Eurofighters were scrambled from Norvenich airbase after British firm Hangar 8 had reported the jet stolen and had called German Police to tell them of the theft, even if it is unclear on why they went to the German Police in the first instance.

The risk of an illegal plane, being flown by unknown pilots with an unknown aim in German airspace prompted terror fears. German Police contacted NATO who in turn contacted the Luftwaffe, which launched two Eurofighters to intercept the jet and bring it down safely.

According to The Local, a Luftwaffe spokeman said: “We received the alarm via NATO at 19:48. Within six minutes two of our Eurfighters started from Norvenich” within 30 minutes the Phenom jet was on the ground at Cologne’s Cologne-Bonn airport, where Police welcomed the two bemused Austrian pilots.

The article does not say when the QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) was launched: most probably it happened on Mar. 31, 2012.

The two hapless pilots both Austrians, said that they had taken off from Nigeria, refueled in Algeria and were heading for Cologne to take the jet for servicing.

The plane will remain grounded until the ownership can be established.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

Image credit: Stefan Gygas / Luftwaffe

Italy-Russia ties

The visit of the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Italy on Feb. 16 – 17, 2011, provided the opportunity to discuss the cooperation of the two nations various fields. Among the other topics (energy in particular) the Russian delegation has asked Italy’ support to promote its SuperJet SSJ100 to new customers and to Alitalia, the Italian flag company, that was among the possible customers, until in December it announced the purchase of 20 Embraer (15 ERJ-175 and 5 ERJ-190) to replace and strenght its fleet of E-170 and CRJ-900 regional jets (the latter, inherited from Air One). Sukhoi Superjet 100 @ AeroIndia 2010The SuperJet is the first major passenger aircraft produced in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union and its the first of a new family of regional jets. It is produced by the Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, of which Italy’s Finmeccanica owns 25%. It rolled out on Sept. 26, 2007 in Komsomolsk-on-Amur where it performed its maiden flight on May 19, 2008. In 2007, Alenia Aeronautica, a Finmeccanica company, and Sukhoi Holding formed SuperJet International, a joint venture (51% – Alenia Aeronautica, and 49% – Sukhoi Holding) based in Venice, responsible for marketing, sales and delivery in Europe, America, Africa, Japan and Oceania as well as for worldwide logistic support for the Superjet 100. On Jan. 28, 2011 it was granted the Type Certification by the IAC AR, the Russian certification authority, and it’s due to get the European certification by the year-end. Even if SuperJet hopes Alitalia hasn’t lost interest in the SSJ100, that cost less than the Embraer E-series and BoSukhoi Superjet 100 @ AeroIndia 2010mbardier CRJs, the regional contest seems to be gone: according to what Alitalia CEO Rocco Sabelli said, at the end of the press conference in which Alitalia announced its return to China by means of a code sharing agreement with China Eastern airlines (4xwk FCO-PEK with AZ A330 and 4xwk FCO-PVG with MU A340), the Italian flag company has already made some initial payments and it is currently building the package of leasing. The first aircraft should be delivered by the next summer and the first five by the end of 2011, with the remaining 15 in 2012. Sukhoi Superjet 100 @ AeroIndia 2010Most probably, the main cause for turning down Sukhoi’s proposal to opt for the Brasilian planes (costing, yearly, some 200K – 300K Euro more than the Russian ones – money that should be recovered “elsewhere” within the order) was the fact that the SSJ100, at the time Alitalia made its decision, had yet to pass certification with Russian and European civil aviation authorities while its competitor was almost ready for delivery (even if it must be underlined that SuperJet affirmed that the certification schedule fitted perfectly with the Alitalia requirement to receive the first aircraft within summer 2011). Whatever the Alitalia future plane may be, the SSJ100, that attended the Aero India 2011 at Bangalore, India (where the above pictures were taken by Katsuhiko Tokunaga) will be an important challenger for both Embraer E-Jet and Bombardier CRJ that could lose a large slice of their once exclusive market as SuperJet makes inroads into the Western world of “regionals”. That’s why Italy (airlines and industry) is looking at this aircraft with interest.

Another important topic that was discussed by the Russian delegation in Italy, was the agreement on the transit of military personnel, ammunition and equipment destined to the Italian contingent operating in Afghanistan through the Russian airspace. So far, as explained in the article “Italian shuttle flights to Kabul” troops and supplies to Herat and Kabul, has transited through Middle East. The heavier material is carried by ships that reach Pakistan and then proceed to destination by means of ground transportation, while military vehicles, helicopters and ammunitions are carried by the C-130Js of the 46^ Brigata Aerea of the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force, ItAF), based in Pisa, or on board the Antonov AN-124 leased by the Ministry of Defence (whose cost is on average 500K Euro per flight, according to the Sole 24 ore, the main independent Italian economic newspaper). Military destined to the Afghan theatre use civil charter flights that carry them to Al Bateen, in Abu Dhabi, where they can board on one of the shuttle flights of the local Task Force Air of the ItAF which connect the intermediate base in the United Arab Emirates with the final destination in Afghanistan. With the new agreement, supplies and troops will be able to reach Herat with no stop flights from Italy, saving the cost for keeping the C-130s at Abu Dhabi (26 milion Euro were the out-of-the pocket expenses in 2010, according to the Sole 24 ore).

Picture below courtesy of the ItAF