The ERJ-135 and more recent ERJ-140 are shortened developments of the 50 seat ERJ-145, while the Legacy is a corporate development of the ERJ-135.
Embraer launched the ERJ-135 on September 16 1997. Just nine and a half months passed before first flight on July 4 1998 (following rollout on May 12 that year). A second prototype first flew in October 1998, US FAA certification was awarded on July 16 1999 and first delivery was to Continental Express on July 23 1999.
The speed of the development program illustrates that the ERJ-135 is a fairly straightfoward development of the 145. Both 135 prototypes were converted from ERJ-145 prototypes, requiring little modification other than the removal of two fuselage plugs totalling 3.50m (11ft 6in) in length.
Other changes compared with the -145 are minor. Both are powered by Rolls-Royce (Allison) AE-3007 turbofans but the ERJ-135's are derated by around 5%, achieved by a slight software change to the engines' FADEC system. The only other notable change is new valves in the air-conditioning system.
Like the ERJ-145 therefore, the 135 also features a Honeywell Primus 1000 avionics suite with five large multifunction displays in the cockpit, a Sundstrand APU and three abreast seating in the main cabin.
Also in common with the ERJ-145, the 135 is offered in standard ERJ-135ER and extended range ERJ-135LR forms. The LR features an additional fuel tank and slightly more powerful AE-3007A4 turbofans.
Few new airliners have sold as quickly from their launch as the ERJ-135. Building on the success of the 145, the 135's order book stood at 145 at late 1998, barely a year after launch. The aircraft's two biggest customers were American Eagle which ordered 75 and optioned 75 at the 1998 Farnborough Airshow to join 42 firm ordered ERJ-145s, and Continental Express with 25 firm and 50 optioned to complement 75 ERJ-145s it had on order.
In September 1999 Embraer launched the third member of its regional jet family, the 44 seat ERJ-140. The ERJ-140 is also a minimum change development, and differs from the 135 and 145 only in its fuselage length and seating capacity. First flight was on June 27 2000 and deliveries began in late July 2001.
The 140 is largely aimed at US airlines who have to contend with pilot labour agreement restrictions on the numbers of 50 seater jets they can operate. American Eagle was the launch customer.
Meanwhile at Farborough 2000 Embraer launched development of the ERJ-135 based Legacy corporate jet. First flight (of a converted ERJ-135) was on March 2001. The Legacy features additional fuel giving a range with 10 passengers of 5930km (3200nm).
Although the marketing designations are ERJ-135, ERJ-140 and Legacy, the certification designations remain as EMB-135ER/LR for the ERJ-135ER/LR, EMB-135KL for the ERJ-140LR and EMB-135BJ for the Legacy.
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