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EMB 120 Brasilia - How Safe?

Wed Jun 04, 2003 3:28 am


I'm a frequent "peeker" at these boards and came across this website while doing a search for fearful flying. While I can pretty much handle getting on a jet, I am flying from SFO to Medford, OR in 3 days on United Express EMB 120 Brasilia. That has me freaked out a little as I've never been on a turbo prop.

I would like to hear from anyone who has flown (or flies) this plane, as to what to expect as far as noise, take-off and landings. It's a short flight so I'm trying not to get too worked up, but any information anyone could share would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks a million!
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RE: EMB 120 Brasilia - How Safe?

Wed Jun 04, 2003 3:30 am

they are bumpy!

I flew SLC-JAC and back in March, was quite an eye opener. They are noisey, and cramped. Get a single row seat if you are by yourself, near the front.
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RE: EMB 120 Brasilia - How Safe?

Wed Jun 04, 2003 3:34 am

Your comfort aside, they are a completely safe and well-known aircraft to crews and mechanics.

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RE: EMB 120 Brasilia - How Safe?

Wed Jun 04, 2003 3:49 am

I flew the EMB-120 once. A COEx flight CLE-YYZ-CLE.

It's fairly noisey and can be bumpy at times. But nothing real significant. Its a typical 30 pax turboprop much like the Sabb 340 or J41. I believe Skywest (United Exp) EMB-120's have the newer interiors with the leather seats. Its not a bad plane for a short flight.

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RE: EMB 120 Brasilia - How Safe?

Wed Jun 04, 2003 3:56 am

They're completely and absolutely safe, and they're quite fun as well  Smile

I work as a CSR for United Express/SkyWest in SFO, and am usually on the dispatching end of the flights to Medford. If you would really prefer to take a jet, we have CRJ flights alternating with EMB-120 flights that you could try standing by for, if you schedule permits it.

The noise level isn't too horrible, but I work around them all the time so maybe I'm just used to it. Then again, I work inside  Smile Block time between SFO and MFR on a Brasilia is about 1:30, not too long.

The seating configuration, as some have mentioned, is 1-2. If you're travelling by your own and want the best of both worlds (aisle and window), ask for an "A" seat.

Basically, they're a great little plane for short hops, and completely safe.

Happy Travels!  Smile
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RE: EMB 120 Brasilia - How Safe?

Wed Jun 04, 2003 4:26 am

They are very safe. As stated, they are significantly bumpier than riding in a larger aircraft. You will certainly feel the turbulence more. I notice that passengers tend to react to in flight turbulence a little more than usual (ie, looking around at each other or saying something about it), but that is typical. Try to avoid the last row. It has 4 seats in a row and no windows. The rest of the plane is the 1-2 configuration. For aviation buffs, this one is certainly good for the experience.
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RE: EMB 120 Brasilia - How Safe?

Wed Jun 04, 2003 4:41 am

I'd love to fly on a small turboprop again. Flown a few DASH-8's recently,
but the last "small" one I was on was a Twin Otter many years ago. I'd
love another ride in one of those!

What a long strange trip it's been
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RE: EMB 120 Brasilia - How Safe?

Wed Jun 04, 2003 5:48 am

Hopefully, the Brasilia is better than the An-26 I flew in China in 1989! That flight from Wuhan to Guangzhou was the most miserable flight I've experienced with noisy engines, uncomfortable seats, and the plane bounced a lot from turbulence.  Nuts Small wonder why I kissed the ground of the airport at Guangzhou when I got off.  Smile
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RE: EMB 120 Brasilia - How Safe?

Wed Jun 04, 2003 6:40 am

I don't want to be the one who scares you, but it might help you to know that the EMB-120 was involved in two separate crashes, both due to propeller failure. A book about one of those crashes, Nine Minutes, Twenty Seconds, details what caused the failures and how the government investigated and then fixed the maintenance standards.

I'm not suggesting that you read the book before flying (it is quite unsettling and morbid), but I mention it so that you know the EMB-120 *did* have problems, but they have been fixed and the plane is still very safe by any standard.

Up, up and away!
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RE: EMB 120 Brasilia - How Safe?

Wed Jun 04, 2003 6:45 am

I would not doubt that it would be a better experience than most products Antonov has to offer.

Turboprop engines are great- the reliability of a jet engine (since that's basically what it is) with power scaled down to small-plane-size.

Enjoy your flight.

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RE: EMB 120 Brasilia - How Safe?

Wed Jun 04, 2003 6:53 am

They are very safe but extremely noisy .
Im 6'2 and I did not feel cramped at all obviously its not the cabin of a 777, but after 15 mins of being inside the cabin you'll get used to your sorroundings.
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RE: EMB 120 Brasilia - How Safe?

Wed Jun 04, 2003 9:55 am

I fly them quite regularly between SLC and IDA and they are safe. You might want earplugs if you are sensitive to the noise. If you can, get seat 9B or 9C. I consider this the "first class" row, since it is the exit row. Lots of room.
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RE: EMB 120 Brasilia - How Safe?

Wed Jun 04, 2003 10:48 am

I flew one on ASA Delta Connection from ICT to DFW in March. It was a truly wonderful flight! I did not find it to be much noisier than a jet. Props have a different kind of noise though. Everything vibrates and I think that may accentuate (Sorry if I used this incorrectly, but I love using as many words as I can and I really like that word and thought it fit.  Smile) the noise. I experienced some bumpy turbulence, but nothing terrible. I can imagine that a plane that small could get some ugly turbulence though. Take the A seat if you can. It's weird flying with a window and an aisle at the same time with just having one seat. It is worth the experience. Have a great flight and try not to worry!

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RE: EMB 120 Brasilia - How Safe?

Wed Jun 04, 2003 12:38 pm

It is a little noisy but has lots of engine vibrations, moreso than the Saab 340.
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RE: EMB 120 Brasilia - How Safe?

Wed Jun 04, 2003 1:38 pm

most of the Brasilia crashes were due to bad mechanics or bad pilots (with exceptions of the blades, and that was fixed back in 96).

the Brasilia is the fastest prop around, and while it does seem to be "bumpy" its because the plane has a VERY sturdy wing and profile... it's like comparing a semi to a sports car on the highway.... the semi is more comfortable, and the sports car is a lot more maneuverable.

I do not sit near the front of the aircraft as the profile on the props do make it louder (cuts the air harder), I tend to sit in row 7/8/9 on the left side, or get the emergency exit row (8 or 9 depending on the operator).

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RE: EMB 120 Brasilia - How Safe?

Wed Jun 04, 2003 7:50 pm

A bit off the topic, but if you are looking for comfort while flying a turboprop, look for Fokkers F-50.
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RE: EMB 120 Brasilia - How Safe?

Wed Jun 04, 2003 10:24 pm

I flew one couple of years back,with United Express LAX-San Diego.
All I can say is that it was fantastic!,views of LAX were amazing!
Great little "prop",crew were really friendly.
Was looking foward to the return but it turned out to be a 737-300.
Do they still use the EMB 120 on LAX-SAN?

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RE: EMB 120 Brasilia - How Safe?

Thu Jun 05, 2003 4:56 am

I flew on a Comair EMB 120 last year from KMCO-KRSW. I had just stepped off an MD-11 when I boarded this flight, so I'm bound to say that it was a bit on the small side! It was not all that comfortable on board, but to be honest I was quite excited about flying on my first turbo-prop! It wasn't all that bumpy during my flight, but I get the distinct impression that it doesn't mix well with up-draughts! Still its a pleasant plane to fly on and at no point did I feel unsafe.

Twins,twins, everywhere.... but where are the three holers?