In 1989, shortly after Bombardiers project launch of the Canadair CRJ, the Brazilian manufacturer Embraer decided to build a regional jet. To keep the costs low, the aircraft has much in common with the EMB-120. First blueprints had the engines located above the wings, but for lack of aerodynamic advantages they were put to the tail later.
The ERJ has the same fuselage diameter as the turboprop aircraft EMB-120. To be able to transport 50 passengers, the fuselage was stretched about ten metres. The ERJ got new swept-back wings to improve aerodynamics. It also got a modern glass flight deck which contains five Honeywell screens.
The ERJ family consists of the ERJ-135, ERJ-140 and the ERJ-145. Depending on the model, 37 through 45 passengers fit into the ERJ. Compared to the ERJ-145, the ERJ-135 is about four meters shorter. Many airlines that operate a big fleet of ERJ own all three models, as e.g. the largest customers, American Eagle and Continental Express, do.
The ERJ's first flight was in 1995. The first serial aircraft went to Continental Express at the end of 1997. Soon it came clear that Embraer had developed an incredibly successful regional jet, which lifted the Brasilians into the Olympus of aircraft manufacturers within shortest time.