YouTube – Super Tucano
Max. Fuel External:
trainer – light attack
US$9 -14 million
US$430 – 500/hour
one or two
P&W PT6A-68 turboprop
37 ft. 4 in.
36 ft. 6 in.
2 x .50 cal.
The Super Tucano, officially Embraer A-29 Super Tucano, is built in Brazil by Embraer and in the United States by Sierra Nevada Corp. Its original mission was as a trainer and light attack aircraft that patrolled Brazilian air space, particularly its rain forest, looking for unauthorized forest blazes, illegal deforestation, plus anti drug trafficking.
Due to its ruggedness and versatility, the Super Tucano has gained popularity with countries around the world, particularly in Latin America and Africa. The large bubble canopy provides excellent all around visibility. Its avionics, including a pair of central mission computers, enable night missions. Its full function head up display, hands on throttle and stick controls and all-glass instrumentation, can be used with night vision goggles.
The Super Tucano uses an integrated weapons system for mission rehearsal, planning, ordnance management and aiming. Missions can be reviewed through the use of on board recording. There are zero/zero ejection seats and Kevlar armor protection for the cockpit. An external front and internal rear windshield leave the aircraft controllable should the canopy be lost in action. Super Tucano aircraft have anti skid brakes for short runway operations.
Each wing of the Super Tucano has a .50 cal. machine gun with 200 rounds of ammunition, all carried internally. This produces less drag than external gun pods. There are five hard points, two under each wing and one on the aircraft’s center line.
There are provisions for the Super Tucano to carry external fuel tanks on its center line and inboard wing hard points which in total can increase flight times by some three hours. When not holding fuel tanks, the wing hard points can carry a variety of bombs, included laser guided, air to air missiles, and rockets. The Super Tucano has been qualified by the Brazilian Air Force to carry some 133 different types of external ordnance.
On April 8, 2019 it was announced that Sierra Nevada received an additional US$42.7 million to continue its training of Afghan pilots and maintainers of the Super Tucano through the end of 2023.
Afghanistan received twenty Super Tucano aircraft from the United States in 2016. They have primarily flown ground support missions using their laser guided bombs.
Flying the Super Tocano
Flying the Super Tucano is not unlike flying an advanced, fast, single engine civil aircraft. The seats are comfortable and can accommodate virtually any size pilot. The controls are logically placed and fall easily at hand.
In addition to performing the usual primary flight controls check, preparing for flight involves activating the automatic rudder trim and the navigation avionics.
Once lined up on the runway center line and cleared for takeoff, the throttle is advanced to its forward stop. There is a push back in your seat as the Super Tucano quickly accelerates to takeoff speed. At this point the engine is producing some 88 percent torque and 1,400 shp. Minimal rudder correction is necessary to keep the aircraft tracking straight down the runway. Once safely airborne, gear and flaps are retracted with minimal pitch change. With full power at 15,000 feet of altitude, the Super Tucano will do 345 mph in level flight.
The Super Tucano’s g limits are plus 7 and minus 3.5. Doing spins, loops, barrel rolls and other aerobatic maneuvers brings out the best of the aircraft. Controls are well balanced and coordinated. There is little rudder input necessary with the automatic rudder trim activated.
Recovery from fully developed spins in either direction are quickly accomplished with stick centering and applying opposite rudder. Stalls, both clean and dirty, result in only a gentle pitch down of the nose. There is lots of warning by the aircraft buffeting prior to entering a stall.
Landings are easily accomplished with no surprises. The landing pattern is generally flown at around 160 mph and final approach with flaps extended at around 125 mph. The anti skid brakes of the Super Tucano get the aircraft down to taxi speed straight and quickly.
Some 250 Super Tucano aircraft have been produced to date. The manufacturer says that they have accumulated over 100,000 flight hours with an 86 percent mission capable rate.
Feb. 27, 2020: The U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center awarded Sierra Nevada Corp. US$128,998,320 for two Super Tucano light attack aircraft with associated contractor support and sparing. Completion should be by Aug. 23, 2024.
RC Super Tucano
The RC Super Tucano from Black Horse comes almost ready to fly. The all-wood radio control airplane has a wingspan of 68 inches and a length of 69 inches. It has provisions for flaps and retracts. Power can come from a .65 to .95 two stroke engine or the equivalent electric motor. Weight is around 10 lbs.
Phoenix Model has a RC Super Tucano ARF of all wood construction. Wingspan is 61 inches and length is 49 inches. It can be powered by from .46 to .55 two cycle engine, a .52 four cycle engine or the equivalent electric motor. All up weight is about 6 lbs.
AeroFred has free plans for a number of RC Super Tucano radio control airplanes. They use different construction materials and have wingspans from 36 inches to 60 inches.