I flew on one of American Airlines' smallest jets — and now I'm a huge fan (AAL)

Embrarer 145

It’s easy to see the entire commercial aviation industry through the dual lens of Boeing and Airbus — understandable as the US giant and the European mega-consortium even divide about 90% of the current market for jet aircraft.

However, there are two other plane makers of note on the planet: Canada’s Bombardier and Brazil’s Embraer.

Mind you, both are in the process of being absorbed by the Boeing-Airbus duopoly. Airbus has effectively taken over the troubled Bombardier CSeries, rechristening it the A220. Meanwhile, Boeing has bought into Embraer big-time with a nearly $4-billion deal that’s slated to close this year.

Like most travelers, I hate flying on larger narrow-body jets for the most part. But I make an exception for small, single-aisle jets, which I very much dig. The Boeing 717, for example.

Recently, I made a quick trip to my hometown, Huntington, West Virginia. This a small city served by a small regional airport. For what seems like decades, I’ve flown in and out of HTS on turboprop regional planes. But on my last visit, I discovered that jet service is back.

And the jet I wound up riding, the Embraer 145, was a winner. Read on to find out why:

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The Embraer is an elegant jet aircraft, developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s by the Brazilian company to serve regional markets and replace propeller-driven planes. It took to the skies for the first time in 1995.

Source: FlightGlobal Archives

Here’s the Embraer 145 I flew from Huntington Tri-State airport to Charlotte. I was flying American Airlines, so the jet was operated by Piedmont Airlines, under the American Eagle banner. Piedmont has 60 Embraer 145s in its fleet.

Some useful information about the jet.

The Embraer 145 is the second-smallest jet American Eagle operates; only the Embraer 140 is smaller.

The 50 seats are arranged in a 1-2 configuration, with a very narrow aisle.

Legroom wasn’t bad — but I’m a mere 5-feet-7-inches, so for larger folks, the seats could be snug.

Naturally, because I was flying on a jet plane, I read a novel about a train robbery in Victorian England.

It was a 1975 best seller!

And the late Michael Crichton was rather a young’un in those days.

Tri-State is more of an airfield than an airport, hence the stepladders to board right off the tarmac. Jet service has been absent for some time — I used to ride Bombardier Dash 8 turboprops off this mountain-top redoubt.

The takeoff was swift and private-jet-like.

Airborne! Flight time to Charlotte was only about 30 minutes — we basically climbed and descended. A quick trip, a much less noisy than what I was used to. The 145 rocks a pair of Rolls-Royce turbofan engines that can generate nearly 9,000 pounds of thrust. The jet can fly as high as 37,000 feet.

Hello Charlotte! The second leg of my trip would take me to Newark Liberty, obviously on some larger equipment.

What a nifty jet the Embraer 145 is! I much prefer flying on small single-aisle jets to big narrow-bodies. They get up fast, the boarding and deplaning process is quick, and compared with regional turboprops, they’re a much faster way to zip between the major US carriers’ hubs. To top it off, I’m glad that jet service has finally returned to my hometown!

Source: businessinsider
I flew on one of American Airlines' smallest jets — and now I'm a huge fan (AAL)