Embraer delivers first positive quarterly result since 1Q2018, shows revised E3 turboprop

By Bjorn Fehrm

August 13, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Embraer presented strong 2Q2021 results today. It could deliver a quarterly net profit of $44m (-$119m), the first positive quarter since 1Q2018. Revenue for the quarter was up 110% at $1,131m versus $537m in 2Q2020.

The company delivered 14 airliners and 20 biz jets, up from 4 and 13 a year ago. The company now delivered guidance for 2021, with deliveries at 45-50 regional jets and 90-95 biz jets. Revenue lands at $4.0bn-$4.5bn with free cash flow at break-even to $150m.

Figure 1. The revised desing of the E3 turboprop. Source: Embraer.

Commercial aircraft

The Commercial Aircraft division delivered 14 E-Jets during 2Q2021 compared with 4 for 2Q2020, Figure 2. The E2 jets overtook the E-jets as most delivered aircraft for the first time since the start of the E2 program.

Figure 2. Commercial jet deliveries. Source: Embraer.

Commercial aircraft revenue more than tripled at $389m versus $109m for 2Q2020. Revenue per delivery is now at $28m from $25m per aircraft last year.

Sales were up for the quarter, and the backlog is now $5,8bn and 306 E-Jets. E175 represents 141 aircraft with E195-E2 at 157 and E190-E2 at four jets.

The company also showed a revised E3 turboprop design, Figure 1. The project is still using a lighter version of the E-jet E2 fuselage and cabin. But it now has rear turboprop engines, a clean wing, and a beefier T-tail, to cater for the shorter tail arm, due to the aft Center of Gravity of the design (the wing has to go back as a result).

It will be interesting to learn more about the spec of this new aircraft. The turboprop engines seem to be a new design, the nacelles look different from the present Pratt & Whitney PW120 series.

Business Aircraft

The Business jet side also increased deliveries with 20 jets, 12 light, and eight large jets, Figure 3.

Figure 3. Business jet deliveries. Source: Embraer.

The ratio of margin richer large jets is now 40% compared with 31% 2Q2020. Segment revenue was up 78% at $266m versus $150m for 2Q2020.

Defense & Security

Segment revenue doubled at $175m vs. $86m for 2Q2020. There were no deliveries of KC-390 during the quarter, but there are six aircraft on the production line for the Brazilian and Portuguese Air Forces.

Services and Support

Services revenue improved by 55% to $298m vs. $192m 2Q2020 as customers fly their jets again.

37 Comments on “Embraer delivers first positive quarterly result since 1Q2018, shows revised E3 turboprop

  1. Why have we never seen this aft engine design before? I assume it would help with the engine/prop noise in the cabin, there must be some reason it wasn’t done before. Obviously, it is done all the time with pure jet engines.

    • Beech Starship & Piaggio Avanti.
      Business aircraft rather than pax but the concept is nothing new.
      Noise levels in the cabin would certainly be more pax friendly – even for those of us whose hearing isn’t quite what it used to be.

      Boeing and MD had concept designs (and demonstrators) for rear mounted open rotors in the late eighties – 7J7 etc. The key driver then was fuel efficiency so the idea was dropped when fuel prices receded.

      I imagine open rotor designs would require far more R&D capital than conventional turbo props – this is not conducive to launching programs with relatively small production runs.

    • This aircraft will be Open Propfan ready. I think the turbo prop propulsion system will be interim until someone produces a prop fan unit to fit.

      Psychologically it will make the passengers extremely relaxed. No one likes to be sitting next to the propeller arc. Apart from noise there is the fear factor of prop disintegration. A factor not to be underestimated.

    • ‘marku52’):
      With turbofan engines in the rear vibration in aft cabin is very noticeable.

      Two hours in a DC9-30 showed me that one day.

      But I was glad to be going home from a tough assignment (helping sort through pieces of a 737 that crashed when a T/R came open during go-around, fuselage mounted engines do have much less thrust asymmetry when one resigns, so much so that IIRC the 727 has a caution light bringing crew attention to loss of thrust from an engine).

      IIRC the DC9-50 had synchronizing. (JT*D series engines)

      Turboprops s can be synchronized.

      Aft-mounted engines place weight away from the wing which is the carrier of weight, thus fuselage bending forces are greater.

      Engine burst can do major damage – check United 232 into Sioux City IA, of course props even worse – a C-130 broke apart in the air when a prop blade sliced through the fuselage (US military), another broke apart when a propeller bounced across the top of the centre wing (commercial Hercules in Alaska IIRC).

      Many factors.

  2. Hi Marku,

    it was used when jet and turbofan engines were very noisy (Caravelle, BAC1-11, DC-9, VC-10, Tu-62…). But it’s structurally less efficient than concentrating the forces of engine + main landing gear to the wing roots. It also shortens the tail arm = larger empennage surfaces = more weight and drag.

    But turboprops are noisy in the cabin (the propeller’s tip stream bounce on the fuselage walls). It’s my main gripe with flying turboprops. If there’s a design that lowers the sound level I would happily fly it rather than today’s turboprops.

    • > It’s my main gripe with flying turboprops.

      I think this is exactly right, people dislike turbo-props not due to the prop but due to the:
      * noise
      * vibration
      * cramped cabin
      * narrow aisle
      * lack of overhead storage

      An E2 like fuselage that addresses those issues will be no problem for passengers.

      • I go along with the cramped cabin. Horizon flights tend to be short enough its not an issue, I would not want to spend 2 hours in one. I am not that tall, foot space is bad and the width is bad (I do have wide shoulders)

        Growing up with piston prop jobs the noise does not bother me. The -8 with noise damping is not bad (never been in an ATR).

        My opinion continues to be that there is no return for Embraer to do this.

        The sort of open rotor recently proposed would fit that configuration.

        ATR and BBD either under cut the price or get driven out of the market of all three starve

        The numbers sold would so so low that Embraer would never make any money on it and most likely loose .

        • The CRJ is gone. De Havilland talks about re-opening a Dash-8 line but I doubt that will happen. Carbon taxes are coming for the 40 year old ATR design.

          The competition to the E3 will be the new zero carbon regional designs AB is mooting.

          • Deautsche Aircraft is putting the D328eco into production. This 43 passenger aircraft is a slight stretch of the Dornier Do 328 (essentially the once planed Do 428). The Do 328 was a very advanced aircraft for its day and still is with a CFRP fuselage and the Do 328eco will build on that.

            It probably has a higher chance of profit than the E3.

            Apart from improved conventional SAF capable turboprop engines that will give it the fuel burn of a A320neo at 320 knots they are planning a hydrogen version using Universal Hydrogens Fuel Cell technology with modular palletised compressed hydrogen storage.

            It’s quite interesting as the hydrogen can be distributed in polymer compressed gas bottles fitted into a permanent pallet by truck and then swapped out of the aircraft by normal freight handling equipment or it can be generated at the airport in an electrolyser to recharge the pallet.

            A rough calculation suggests that a medium sized Vastas V92 wind turbine of 2.5MW generating an average of 33% (800kW) should generate enough hydrogen for about 6 hours of flying per day.

            We may yet see regional Airports that don’t need fuel delivery and merely work of pallets of compressed hydrogen recharged when the wind blows or sun shines with days in between renewable energy being available.

          • The noise and cost of operation will determine if it is profitable endeavor. Alot will depend on the powerplant. Its fuel consumption; mean time on wing; cost of spares; shop visit numbers and cost of shop visits of prop system, power gearbox and engines. Not that many modern engines in 11 000 – 18 000 shp exist and the military TP400 is not what you need, maybe for flight tests but not after that.

    • I suspect a very modern turbo prop with composite propeller blades might be lighter than an older turbofan?

      I wonder if they will put elevators on the engine pylons. The area of the pylons is substantial and effectively a stabiliser and will surely eliminate the ‘super stall’ issue often associated with T tails.

      • That was my first thought as well!

        It’d be interesting to hear from Björn on whether the E3 design looks well adapted to future H2 propulsion.

        • The Embraer E3 is targeted at 70-90 passengers. Benchmarking the E3 against an ATR72 which has 5000kg (6000 Litre) fuel capacity it would require a 24,000 litre hydrogen tank to carry as much energy (LH has 4x lower energy density). A capsule shaped tank of 2m dimeter and 8m length provides 22,000 litres. An ATR is about 27m long so the tank would take up about 30% of the total airframe length and would need to fit in about the last 50% of the airframe. However the LH weighs only 2 tons instead of 5, a modern CFRP airframe would be maybe 10% more efficient and the engines as well so I suspect our tank would be only 6m long which is more manageable.

          Universal Hydrogen has another way.
          They are converting an DASH 8 to run of fuel cells. Electric motors will replaced the gas turbines and fuel cells will be installed in the nacelles behind the engines. Compressed hydrogen tanks will be loaded in pallets into the aircraft tail. PEM fuel cells are about 60% efficient much more than turbo props. Loading the fuel in pallets overcomes the hydrogen availability problem.

        • Interestingly the wing seems to have a modest sweep to it. Both the ATR and Q400 wings are straight. The implication is the E3 is designed for higher cruise speeds than either of those.

          • a 16.5 degree sweep at the 1/4 chord line like the “Me 262” would raise Mach limit by 5%. i.e. about 24 knots. A thinner wing made possible by CFRP would have lower form drag and a higher Mach limit on top.

            ATR72-600 cruises at just over 280 knots, the D338eco at 335 knots and the DASH 8 Q400 at 360 knots. The DASH 800 has almost twice the power of the ATR72-800.

            I would expect the Embraer E3 to have at least DASH 8 Q400 speeds of 360 knots but at more economy and perhaps more. Probably depends on the prop technology. Maybe 380-400 knots is practical, only a little less than the 450 knots we expect from a jet.

            360 knots is already good as the turboprop will be of the runway earlier and climbing faster to cruise.

  3. I think they asked themselves “how do we design a turbo prop that can be launched in 2022 but can be neo-ed to take the RISE prop-fan when it is available sometime after 2035”. The answer was to put the the turbo prop engines at the back.

    • That’s my thoughts as well but the3 configuration has a number of merits apart from the possibility of a RISE like open prop fan engine.
      1 It keeps the undercarriage short and light.
      2 It keeps the aircraft low to the ground allowing it to use its own aero stairs and simplifying baggage loading from a cart.
      3 In the case of engine failure there is limited asymmetrical thrust and not much rudder authority is needed or ‘power’ consumed in fighting yaw from the asymmetry.
      4 It probably improves ditching safety.
      5 The aircraft can likely back itself out of the terminal using reverse prop and not need a tug.
      6 No passenger need be placed near the noise of the plane of the propeller or its menacing appearance.

      Other impressions I have seen of the aircraft suggest that the props are in no danger of blade strike in rotation or possibly even in case of undercarriage collapse. In any case I suspect FBW so there will be anti tail strike software.

      Prop disintegration needs to be looked at as this would severe cables unless well armoured. It may use electro hydraulic actuators.

  4. Often wondered why no new aircraft designs show rear mounted engines. The DC-9 was a complete success as was the CRJ line up.

    • As Bjorn noted, tail mounted has issues when in competition weight wise as well as control aspect with wing mounted.

      Its why you no longer see any even regional aircraft (sans this Dupont Scheme) with rear mounted.

      The only place it works is business jets and those are a different beast.

      • @TWA

        How about a 1%er jet with under wing engines? Any of those out there? (and not a commercial design that has been made into a biz jet)

        Is FOD a major reason why?

        • The wings produce lift so its best to attach the engines directly to the wings. Rear mounted engines must transfer their weight to the wings (and undercarriage) through additional structure in the fuselage.

          On the plus side the wings are kept clean for producing lift.

          • Yes William, I know that. My question was how come there are no business jets with engines under the wings?

          • Frank:

            Lower gear, cabin access, whole different mission set and support sytem from a LCA.

    • I wondered the same too…
      Up till now all rear engine mounted aircraft has been old aircraft with fly by steel. Do not recalled any of the more modern fly by wire commercial aircraft having rear mounted engine. Could this be an overlooked shortfall of fly by wire??
      I understand the main constrain was the control portion of such T-tail design and also the weight balancing and distribution of the cargo is more complicated. But besides these, I’m not aware of other limitations.
      It will also be interesting to see how Embraer addresses the issues of tail strike with such big rotor mounted on the rear. The fan diameter of the RISE engine could very well be as large as the cabin itself.

      • The late model Falcon, Gulfstream and GlobalExpress all feature Fly by Wire and all feature rear mounted engines. Embraer has extremely good Fly-by-Wire technology on its E195 series of jets. I suspect this will be the first airliner turbo prop with fly by wire which will make it interesting. It looks a fast and svelte aircraft that will compete with turbofans.

        In conventional aircraft the pilot is expected to use his sense of feel to reduce control surface deflection as the indicated Air Speed (IAS) of the aircraft increases so as to not over stress the aircraft. In Fly by Wire the control laws reduce the deflection of the control surfaces. They also usually limit g force, rate etc., bank and dive angle etc. using internal attitude sensors, accelerometers, rate gyros etc. FbW also usually uses angle of attack sensors and air speed sensors to prevent stall. Of late ‘Synthetic Air Data” has been used to provide independence from finicky ambient sensors.

        The use of FBW on an aircraft of this class would promote new levels of safety. The advantages such as anti tail strike limitation, faster rotation on takeoff and thereby reduced roll are just to great to forgo.

        Rear engines should allow the aircraft to backup without a tug easier and creates a safety situation for ground boarding etc.

  5. Would ducted props lower noise levels? (and offer some containment for detached blades?).

    • A duct will certainly reduce noise, particularly for near-field cabin and sideline noise, but not so much for approach & fly-over noise. Large diameter ducted fans could have a lower cumulative noise level than existing GTFs of the same thrust class by a substantial margin. A well-designed, minimal length duct can also contain a multi-blade loss event if the fan maximum RPMs are low enough, which for large diameter fans will definitely be much lower than similar class GTFs.

  6. Any idea if the new rear mounted design is “because we needed to” or is it “simply because we could”? So, if the design needed to be capable of evolving with elec/H2 and this required beefed up load transfer capability in the rear fuselage then it became a no/marginal penalty option to go rear mounted for the plain vanilla v1 production model.

  7. This drawing surprised me. It seems to me that Embraer decided on a successor to the E-175/CRJ900 ie performance and comfort are top priorities and fuel consumption would have a relatively modest gain (20%). Very competitive for the US market and far removed from the ATR-72 proposal.

    A future evolution to “open rotor” type motorization looks like it could bring other companies, like Safran, into joint projects.

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