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Latham P, 23-Jan-1982. Embraer EMB.312: Brazil's Fighter-Pilot Trainer, Flight International

Latham P, 23-Jan-1982. Embraer EMB.312: Brazil's Fighter-Pilot Trainer, Flight International

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Published by: Foro Militar General on Aug 18, 2012
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03/25/2013

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Embraer EMB.312:
O
NE
of the
most severe problemsfacing
air
forces
is the
smallnumber
of
fast-jet pilots who pass
out
at
the end of the
training machine.There
are
various reasons
for
this,but
an
overriding consideration
is
the high cost
of
advanced
jet
training:
the
emphasis
is
placed
on
selecting fast learners,
and
inevitably sometop-class material
is
lost.One
way to
greater productivity
is
to place
the
student
as
soon
as
possible
in an
environment close
to
thatof
a
fast
jet
aircraft,
but at a
muchreduced cost. Piston-engined aircraftprovide
no
easy stepping stone
to the
new generation
of
fast
jet
trainersand their sales
are
being depressedby worldwide avgas availability problems.Embraer, with
a
wealth
of
turboprop experience, decided
to
developthe turbine-powered EMB.312 military trainer, winning
the
developmentcontract
in
1978
and
receiving ordersfor 118,
and
options
on a
further
50,
from
the
Brazilian
Air
Force
in 1979.
The first
of two
prototypes took
to
the
air on
schedule,
in
August
1980.
Tandem seating
was
selected
to get
away from
the
overt presence
of the
instructor,
and to
provide greatercockpit realism
for
weapons
and
tactical training. Side-by-side seating
is
reassuring during
ab
initio training,but
was
rejected because
it has
severe limitations
for
weaponeeringand low-level tactical formation flying.The rear seat was raised
to
give
the
instructor
an
uninterrupted view overthe student's head,
and to
allow
in-
stallation
of a
second weapons sightfor monitoring
and
demonstration.
To
simulate pure-jet handling,
a
singlethrottle lever combines both enginepower
and
propeller pitch control.
To
*Peter Latham
is
principal-designate
of the
OxfordAir Training School, which will take delivery
of
three EMB.312S
in
early
1984. As an Air
Vice-Marshal, Latham commanded
11
Group, RoyalAir Force, from
1977 to 1981.
180
FLIGHT International,
23
January
(982
complete
the
similarity with fast jets,Martin-Baker
Mk 8L
lightweightejection seats
are
fitted
as
standard.
Walking round
After
a
short briefing,
we
begin
a
pre-flight walk around
the
aircraft.
A
glance
at the
exhausts
and at the
intake with
its
inertial separatorshows neither cracks
in one, nor
foreign objects
in the
other. Hartzellprovides
the
three-blade, constant-speed propeller.
The
steerable nose-
Below
Modern instrument panels lend theimpression of a jet. View downwards overforward seat is
%
Rear panel
wheel
is
mechanically linked
to the
rudder pedals.Low
on the
fuselage
are
intakes
for
the cockpit air-conditioning system.With
a
bubble canopy affording
no
shade from
the sun, it is
essential
to
keep
the
occupants cool, hence
the
freon-cycle air-conditioning system.The prototype
has two
wingtipprobes carrying
yaw,
angle-of-attack,and pitot-static sensors. Standardpitot tubes
are
mounted beneath
the
outboard section
of
each wing, feeding totally independent systems
in
front
and
rear cockpits. Under
the
rear fuselage
is an
anti-spin parachute, fitted
as a
safety precautionduring current trials.Rudder
and
elevator trim tabs
are
electrically actuated, working directlyfor pitch
and yaw
trimming,
and via
a spring interconnect
for
roll. Controlis
by
electrical pushbutton
on the
stick
for
elevator
and
aileron—withpriority
to the
rear cockpit—and
a
spring-loaded switch
on the
left-handconsole
for
the rudder.On
the
rear port side
of the
fuselage
is an
hydraulic accumulator whichprovides undercarriage emergencylowering
in the
event
of a
totalhydraulic failure. Nearby
is a
6ft
3
luggage compartment—at presentfilled with test equipment.Flaps
are
electrically operated
and
are protected against asymmetricdeflection
by a
mechanical interconnection.
In the
leading-edge
of the
port wing
is a
stall-warning sensorwhich responds
at
lOkt above
the
stall.
Strapping
in
External checks complete,
I
strapin
to the Mk 8L
seat. Martin-Bakerhas dispensed with
the
familiarharness quick-release
box, and is
using
a
flat "T-bar" quick-releasefitting, positioned lower
and
attached
 
to the negative-g restraint strap. Thenew release is simpler to put on, lesscumbersome, and in some respects isa marked improvement on the olderdesign.The emergency canopy rupturesystem comprises a miniature detonating cord which severs the Perspexfrom its frame, and is only used whenstationary. In flight, the seats arefired through the closed hood, usingheadrest horns to fracture the canopy.The single throttle lever, combining both engine power and propellerpitch, is a neat and efficient design.From engine off, the first movementrestores the fuel supply, cut off forengine starting, and gives flight-idlepower setting. The fuel cut-off isprotected by a gate.Forward movement of the levergives an increase in power and propeller pitch up to 750 s.h.p. Onthrottling back to flight idle, adefinite movement past the idle stopbrings the lever into the "Taxi"range, where power is reduced toground idle, and propeller bladeangle can be back into the reverse-thrust range.Cockpit layout is much like anoperational jet, with a full complement of instruments and avionics.There is a standard warning panelbacked up by master caution andwarning lights. Taxiing out, nose-wheel steering is light and sensitive,but toe brakes require firm pressure.A design change is in hand to increasethe mechanical advantage of thepedals.Lined up on the runway, firm pressure on the brakes is needed to holdthe aircraft as the Pratt & Whitneyof Canada PT6A turboprop is accelerated to 585 s.h.p. Although the full750 s.h.p. is available, the lowersetting is more than enough for abrisk
take-off.
The throttle can beslammed open without damage to theengine, and run-up from ground idleto full power requires only 4sec.Little rudder is needed to keepstraight, and rotating at 70kt lifts uscleanly into the air, a 2° engine offsetcounteracting the majority of propeller torque. A slight yaw is noticeable as the undercarriage retracts,but this could well be pilot induced,as I become aware of the sensitiverudder control.With flaps and gear retracted weclimb to 15,000ft in less than 7min.Optimum climbing speed at sea levelis llOkt, with a reduction in indicatedairspeed of 5kt every 10,000ft, givingquite a steep climbing angle. Withfuel tanks three-quarters full—enoughfor more than 4hr flying—we have aninitial climb rate of greater than2,500ft/min from Sao Jose (2,000ftabove sea level).
4g sustained turn
We carry out various turns at thetop of the climb. Performance isexcellent, with light stick forceswhich only become heavy above200kt. At full power, the EMB.312 iscapable of a 4g sustained turn at10,000ft.Now to examine stall performance.In level flight, with engine off and aircraft clean, the stall warning lightshows at 80kt and the stall is fullydeveloped at
701''..
In landing configuration, with gear and flaps down,the warning activates at 74kt, andthe stall is developed by 64kt.In the landing configuration withpower on, we require 20° nose-upattitude, and the stall comes in at58kt, with the stall warning lightilluminating lOkt above. In each casethere is good lateral stability andgood rudder control. Recovery isnormal, quick, and positive.Recommended entry speed for aloop is 180kt, pulling 4g initially. Thisfeels comfortable, with about
J
2g and90kt over the top. This is the firsttime that the illusion of flying a purejet is less apparent, and I will requiremore practice at counteracting thevarying torque forces.A variety of speeds and powersettings is possible. Pull up at 150ktand full power produces a moreacceptable and spectacular loop foraerobatic demonstrations. Immediately apparent is the firm andstable feel of the EMB.312, with ahard high-frequency buffet givingample warning that the limit is beingreached.Trying some stall turns, I noticethe positive rudder action and crispresponse even in a fully developedvertical stall turn. I follow this witha series of rolls, which show clearlythe sensitive and powerful aileronresponse. Rolls can be flown quitecomfortably at speeds between 120ktand 200kt. Aerobatting about adatum of 15,000ft entails no un*wanted height loss.
Spinning clean
At the time of my flight, Embraertest pilots are investigating six-turnspins in clean configuration, recovering in less than one turn. The nextstage is misapplication of 75 per cent
FUCHT international, 23 January 1982
181

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