The EMB-120 Brasilia is a modern commuter airline built by Embraer of Brazil in 1985. The turboprop aircraft has a maximum capacity of 30 people and is used as a regional hopper. While the EMB-120 is still in service today, its lousy safety record makes you wonder how that is possible.
Its first crash occurred only a year after it began commercial flight. On September 19, 1986 an EMB-120 smashed into a mountain near Brazil. All five people on board were killed. Again in 1987, a fatal crash into a forest killed 16. In 1988, all on board were killed. In 1991, there were two crashes, the first one killed all 23 people, including U.S. Senator John Tower and astronaut Sonny Carter. The record continues in 1995, two in 1997, one in 1998, again in 2002, and 2004. In 2010, two were killed, in 2011 two crashes killed many of the passengers, and in 2012 there were two crashes. Again in 2013, 2015, and the latest, in 2017—no survivors.
The Fairey Albacore
In May of 1940, the Fairey Albacore joined the service of the Royal Navy. It was designed to replace an earlier version of the Fairey aircraft, but it turned out to be not as functional as the original and was retired by 1944.
The Fairey Albacore was a single-engine biplane with a torpedo bomber. Fairey Aviation built the plane for use in the Second World War. The plane was fitted with upgrades such as in-cabin heating, a more powerful engine, hydraulic flaps, and was capable of dive bombing. In 1942, it was at its height, equipping fifteen Fleet Air Arm squadrons, and then a year later, the Fairey Barracuda took its place.
The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.9
The B.E.9 was a prototype reconnaissance plane that was built off the B.E.2 model in 1915. The added feature caused severe safety problems. A seat was mounted in front of the plane’s propeller to accommodate a gunner. Nicknamed the “pulpit,” the seat provided a gunner a perch to aim and fire his WWI-style machine gun. He had a great view of what was ahead, but it wasn’t the safest seat on the plane. The propeller was one hazard, and the proximity to the engine in the case of a crash risked certain death, even in the event of a mild crash.
After testing it, Hugh Trenchard, head of the Royal Flying Corps, said, “This type of machine cannot be recommended.” Major Hugh Dowding agreed. He said the B.E.9 was “an extremely dangerous machine from the passenger’s point of view.” By 1916, it was sent back.
The Blackburn B-26
The Botha B-26 was another reject from Blackburn. Blackburn was a leading aircraft manufacturer with many successful models, but the B-26 was not one. The Botha was originally built as a twin-engine, three-seater torpedo bomber and reconnaissance craft. Blackburn built 580 B-26s for the Royal Air Force in 1939.
After a request to build it as a four-seater, the Botha became too heavy and the twin-engine lagged under its excessive weight After a number of crashes due to weight issues in 1940, the B-26 was deemed too unstable and underpowered to use. In September of 1944, the aircraft were retired for good.
The Blackburn B-25 Roc
The WWII fighter aircraft, the B-25 Roc was introduced in 1943. Requested by the Royal Navy, 136 were built by Blackburn Aircraft Ltd. By 1943, all of them were retired. The B-25 delivered the Allies one victory. In 1940, a fleet of B-25s stopped a squadron of German Ju 88s, shooting one out of the sky and forcing retreat. It was a two-seat monoplane with a three-blade propeller and mounted with four machine guns.
The B-25 also had water landing capability, but it proved to be its downfall. The float mechanism caused a crash during testing. Additionally, the bulky floats slowed it down. Only able to hit a max speed of 193 mph, the B-25s were abandoned.