Living on the central coast, I often find myself using Santa Maria or Santa Barbara airports as an alternative to LAX or BUR when I travel. With that said, I have spent many hours as a passenger on the Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia turboprop airliner. There is something exciting about watching the engines start, feeling the vibration of props, and the close quarters of the seating arrangements. Yes, riding in a “puddle-jumper” is not for everyone.
For many years, the flightsim community survived without a decent model of the Brasilia. There was Project ERJ for FS2002, but that model lacked something. Then came the now defunct Online Simulations Solutions (OSS) that planned on releasing a basic freeware model and a more inclusive package for FS9, designed by the wonderful Erick Cantu of Vistaliners. While the outstanding freeware model was released, there were very few liveries available due to OSS’s strict repaint policy. But then OSS went under and Erick released his model as freeware as part of the Vistaliner’s collection of flightsim models. To this day, Erick’s Brasilia is still one of the most brilliant models available for FS9.
With the model out, I anxiously awaited painters to fulfill my dream of virtually flying the SkyWest liveries from destinations on the central coast to LAX. Slowly they came and I was satisfied, but then United debuted a new livery in 2004 and I have been patiently awaiting since for the United Express NC Brasilia to come available. I can remember the day I drove by SBA and saw one of these on the tarmac… I was so impressed with how this livery complemented the classic lines of the Brasilia. I really, really wanted to fly it in flightsim, but a quality paint was not availble.
That is until now, thanks to the superb work of Jeffrey Bryner. Available to the flightsim community is N293SW, a Skywest Brasilia wearing the new colors of United Express (pic above). The quality is very high, with superb window representations, excellent detail placement, and those wonderful metal texture engine nacelles. So far, I flew this bird from LAX to SBA and back and am just can’t tell you all how giddy I am to have such a great repaint in my sim. After a good night’s sleep tonight, I will be flying the Santa Maria – LAX route and San Jose – Santa Barbara route. Thanks Jeffrey!