Embraer Ponders Rear-Engine Turboprop Airliner


Embraer announced on Friday it’s pondering developing the first clean sheet turboprop airliner conceived in decades and it’s got some major differences from existing aircraft. The new plane, if it gets built, will have tail-mounted engines and the rest will look like a regional jet. In fact, the fuselage will be the same as its E-195 regional jets with two seats on either side of the aisle. The new plane will carry 70-90 passengers. 

Embraer President Arjan Meijer made the announcement in a tweet and said the design has some distinct advantages over existing designs. The tail-mounted engines should be a lot quieter for passengers and the plane will be able to use jet bridges. Meijer did not specify the engines planned for the aircraft, which might mean Embraer is considering GE’s planned entrant to the market currently owned by Pratt & Whitney. It’s believed this design was the one it was working on with Boeing before that collaboration dissolved 18 months ago.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

Other AVwebflash Articles


    • The airlines increase profits by adding seats and cargo space while subtracting whatever they can–legally–from passenger perks and comfort. Today’s “McAirline” carriers are dealing with irate and even combative passengers who must endure all manner of security measures, delays and speech codes in order to travel to Point B. Even the crews ‘lose it’ occasionally, and go into fits of frustration. I flew during the salad days of the airline industry, when one could plop $35.00 on the counter ten minutes before the boarding call, and get a seat on a flight to most destinations. Nowadays, people have to squat and cough just to get to the boarding gate

  1. I wonder why they went with forward-facing (tractor) props instead of pusher props. It seems like if you’re going to put props on the rear, you would make them pusher props.

    • Tractor props have a slight aerodynamic advantage. You don’t have to deal with turbine exhaust going through the prop disc. They are also slightly quieter.

      • Considering how much faster the Piaggio is compared to planes with tractor props I don’t agree. Also that turbine exhaust eliminates the need for prop deice. The rear mounted engine and pusher prop combination is quieter for pax inside the cabin, but only if you don’t sit next to the engine like in a MD88 or DC9.

    • Southwest has those backward-facing seats, where you’re banging your knees against a forward-facing passenger’s, and when they rotate for takeoff, your head flops onto your lap. My wife is the chief culprit for us having to occupy those seats.

  2. I wish Embraer good luck on this airplane. If they are aiming it to the American market then they will really need it. As Bombardier found out with the Q400, whether right or wrong, American airline passengers do not like prop driven airliners. Ask anyone who flew the Piaggio or airport authorities who banned them about noise from pusher props. The 717 which was originally the MD95 with UDF (unducted fans) props which were dropped due to noise and lack of interest from the airlines. I have a feeling Embraer will end up putting turbofan engines in place of the props, or else aiming their sales efforts to other markets.

    • I “mildly” disagree. I think if passengers were to enplane/deplane via a jet-bridge, they wouldn’t give a hoot about props.

  3. Maybe it’s me but the required trust level that the main gear will never fling any crud where it can do the most damage to this configuration’s props seems a bit of a stretch.

      • I would have thought the risk was lower in the turboprop version than the bizjet version, because A) it doesn’t matter much if the props get dinged and B) engine intake area is a lot smaller and C) the engines can use inertial separators.

  4. “clean sheet turboprop airliner” and “the fuselage will be the same as its E-195 regional jets”. So when did a clean sheet design start with reusing the same fuselage? I am very confused…