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Embraer EMB145 family

Like Canadair the Brazilian manufacturer Embraer saw a market for a regional jet with about fifty seats. While Canadair used the Challenger business jet as basis, Embraer based its regional jet on the EMB120 Brasilia commuter aircraft. This is still very visible in the nose, fuselage diameter (narrower than of the Canadair Regional Jet) and tail. The fuselage is however longer and has two jet engines with a single exhaust attached to the rear. Of course the straight wings are replaced by swept wings. Typical recognition point is the exhaust pipe of the auxiliary power unit (APU) in the tail cone.

The nose of the EMB145 family is nearly the same as of the EMB120 Brasilia, except for the larger nose gear doors.

The exhaust pipe of the APU is quite typical for the EMB135/EMB145. Also note the single exhaust engine nacelles and EMB120-like tail.

Different versions

To differentiate between the subtypes you have to look at

  • the length of the fuselage
  • the number of cabin windows (especially between the emergency exit and engine)
  • the presence of the winglets
  • the presence and size of ventral fins
  • the length of the wing-fuselage fairing
  • the presence of a radar bar above the fuselage
  • the number of of bulbs/domes under/at the side/on top of of the fuselage

ERJ135ER & ERJ135LR (EMB135ER & EMB135LR)

The shortest version of the regular passenger version has four cabin windows between the overwing emergency exit and the nacelle. Compared to the similarly sized Legacy 600/650 is has no winglets, no ventral fins and a small wing-fuselage fairing. It comes in an ER and LR version (extented and long range).

The ERJ135 is the shortest version of the EMB145 family. Note the four cabin windows between the emergency exit and the nacelle

Legacy, Legacy 600, Legacy 650 & Legacy 650E (EMB135BJ)

Embraer turned the smallest family member into a mid-size bizjet by adding a large extra fuel tank and a deluxe interior. On the outside winglets were added, two small ventral fins and a longer wing-fuselage fairing. The aircraft was first marketed as just Legacy, but after the Legacy 450 and 500 were developed, it became Legacy 600. Two subsequent updated versions, Legacy 650 and Legacy 650E, had an increased fuel capacity, a lowered alley and more modern avionics. From the outside they are equal. 

In Brazilian military service the Legacy is designated as VC-99B.

The Legacy 600 has winglets, ventral fins and a longer wing-fuselage fairing to distinguish it from the regular EMB135.

Operated by the Brazilian air force the Legacy 600/650 is designated VC-99B.

Confusion possible with

Canadair Regional Jet 100/200

crj100 200

The biggest competitor of the EMB145 series is the Canadair Regional Jet, in particular the Series 100 and 200. The biggest external differences are the cockpit windows, the blunt tail cone without pipe, engines with separate fan exhaust and the dorsal fin.

Bombardier Global series

Global Express 9 ramen

Based on the tail cone with APU exhaust and engine nacelles without a separate fan exhaust you might mistake the Global series for an Embraer 145. However the cockpit windows are different and the Globals have winglets as standard.

ERJ140ER (EMB135KE) & ERJ140LR (EMB135KL)

As the standard ERJ145 was too large for many US airlines to fit agreements with labor unions that allowed only a certain number of fifty seat aircraft to be operated. The ERJ140 has six fewer seats, being nearly one-and-a-half metre shorter than the ERJ145 (and about two metres longer than the ERJ135). This is visible in the number of cabin windows: the ERJ140 has five cabin windows between the emergency exit and the engine, versus four on the ERJ135 and six on the ERJ145.

American Eagle was the major operator of the ERJ140. Note the five cabin windows between overwing exit and engine, the main recognition point.

ERJ145 (EMB145EP/ER/LR/MK/MP/MR)

This is the original, fifty seat variant of the family, and also the longest. It can be distinguished from the shorter versions by the six cabin windows between the overwing emergency exit and the engine nacelle. It has no winglets, nor ventral fins. There are many subvariants, differing only in fuel capacity and maximum weights. These are marketed as ERJ145EP, ERJ145ER, ERJ145EU, ERJ145LR, ERJ145LU, ERJ145MP and ERJ145STD.

You can count six cabin windows between the emergency exit above the wing and the engine nacelle, and no winglets, so this is an ERJ145.

ERJ145XR (EMB145XR)

The extra long range version of the ERJ145 has the same dimensions as the standard model, but aerodynamic improvements in addition to higher thrust engines. These improvements include winglets and ventral fins, so largely the same differences as between the standard ERJ135 and the Legacy 600/650. 

The ERJ145XR can be distinguished from the standard ERJ145s by the winglets and ventral fins.

EMB145RS

This special mission version is one for remote sensing, hence the designation EMB145. It has a large dome under fuselage, just in front of the wing, as well as smaller pods at the side of the fuselage and under the fuselage behind the wings. To maintain sufficient lateral stability the EMB145RS has two large ventral fins under the tail.

In Brazilian military service this version was first designated R-99B, but later this was changed to just R-99. 

The remote sensing version EMB145RS has bulges under the fuselage and at the side of it. Below the tail are two large ventral fins. (photo WikiMedia/Renato Spilimbergo Carvalho)

EMB145 AEW&C (EMB145SA & EMB145H)

The EMB145 also lend itself as a platform for airborne early warning & control (AEW&C). Embraer named this version EMB145SA (surveillance aircraft), but subsequent versions for the Hellenic and Indian air force are known as EMB145H and EMB145I respectively (the latter is described separately below). The Brazilian military designation was at first R-99A, but later this was changed to E-99. A modernised version is to be E-99M. 

The EMB145SA and EMB145H are based on the EMB145XR and have a large bar mounted on top of the fuselage, tilted forward by 10-20 degrees. For additional stability the EMB145 AEW&C version have two large ventral fins under the tail (like on the EMB145RS) and also fins above and below the horizontal stabilisers. Finally, this version has the winglets of the EMB145XR. 

The standard EMB145SA AEW&C has a large radar bar on top of the fuselage, making it immediately recognisable. It has no refuelling probe, unlike the EMB145I below.

EMB145 AEW&C (EMB145I)

The Indian air force has a slightly different version of the EMB145 AEW&C, with official designation EMB145I. It has the same a large radar bar as the EMB145SA, as well as the two large ventral fins under the tail, fins above and below the horizontal stabilisers and winglets. Added it an extra dome on top of the fuselage, in front of the radar bar, and an aerial refuelling probe above the cockpit.  

The Indian air force has the EMB145I that has a refuelling probe above the cockpit as an extra compared to the EMB145SA and EMB145I (and also an additional long bulge on top of the fuselage). (photo WikiMedia/Pritishp333)