Light utility aircraft designed for the executive transportation market
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credit: Paul Daly
Named in honor of the river that rises in Mato Grosso, Brazil and flows into the Amazon, passing through the first indigenous reservation in Brazil – the Xingu Indigenous Park. The EMB 121 Xingu can transport up to eight passengers and is the first pressurized aircraft produced and constructed in Brazil.
The Embraer EMB 121 Xingu is a twin-engine fixed-wing aircraft constructed and produced by Embraer for the Brazilian and French Air Forces.
In 1976, the first model of the Xingu went into the making. On October 22 1976, the aircraft had its first flight without pressurization system. In December 4, the formal display of the prototype took place.
In May 1977, the aircraft strongly finished its first fully-pressurized test flight.
For the purpose of service to the Special Transportation Group (GTE), Brazilian Air Force was the first buyer of the unit. On the contrary, Embraer was more into the international market that made 28 out of the 32 units built that year marketed by the Piper Aircraft Corporation, which assured technical maintenance anywhere, adding the commercial capacity of the aircraft.
Around 106 units were built between 1977 and 1988; 43 units are in service with the French Air Force.
In August 1987, Embraer stopped the production of EMB-121.
EMB 121 Xingu Design
The EMB 121 Xingu was based from EMB 110 Bandeirante with a longer fuselage, better fuel efficiency, and can operate smoothly even on short runways. This aircraft performs not just passenger transport but also pilot training and operational missions.
The aircraft features a circular fuselage with a length of 12.25 meters and tail height of 4.84 meters. It has a low wing monoplane design with a span of 14.45 meters, a retractable tricycle landing gear for easy take-off, landing, and taxiing.
It has a T-tail wherein the horizontal stabilizer is placed on top of the vertical stabilizer. This configuration provides a smoother and faster airflow over the elevators and makes sure that the propeller blast will not touch the horizontal stabilizer, turning into a lower level of noise and vibration.
EMB 121 Xingu Avionics
The avionics overhaul of the EMB 121 was completed by EADS Socata, a producer of aircraft structures located in Tarbes, France.
There are two ten-inch Integrated Cockpit Display System-10 (ICDS-10) primary flight displays and ICDS-10 multi-functional displays attached in the aircraft. Built by Sagem Avionics, these ICDS display all the information necessary for managing the aircraft in a real-time manner and most secured condition. Built as compact and lightweight as it is, the ICDS provides enhanced situational awareness and reduce the workload of the pilot.
There are also Garmin units installed in the system such as Garmin GNS 430 navigation system that lets navigation calculations and map redraw rates five times faster than conventional navigators, Garmin SL30 communication and navigation payload, and Garmin GTX 330D Mode S transponder.
EMB 121 Xingu Performance
Powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-135 turboprop engines, the EMB 121 Xingu has a maximum thrust of 750 horsepower each engine. It has a maximum payload of 1,960 kg, maximum take-off weight of 5,670 kg and landing weight of 4,362 kg.
The Embraer EMB-121 Xingu can climb at a rate of 1797.89 feet per minute. The maximum speed of the aircraft is 252 knots with a cruise speed of 205 knots at 10,010 feet. The stall speed is 76 knots. The maximum range is 660 nautical miles at 20,000 feet.
EMB 121 Xingu Variants
There are five variants of EMB 121 Xingu: EMB 121A Xingu I, EMB 121A1 Xingu II, EMB 121B Xingu III, EMB 123 Tapajós, and VU-9.