Among the 20th-century achievements of the Brazilian collective spirit, the country’s aircraft manufacturer is a sparkling diamond, the only example in the southern hemisphere. It’s an apt metaphor, bearing in mind the extremes of temperature and pressure where the much-admired gems are formed, similar to the arena where the small number of aeronautical manufacturers slug it out. The aeroplane, one of the most complex engineering products in the world, is the realisation of a poem, scanned by the rules of physics, written by the collaborative effort of souls in concert, alive at the intersection of economic viability and implicit vote of confidence by its passengers.
On 19th August, 1969 – a month after the Eagle had landed on the Moon – Embraer was born, with aeronautical engineer Ozieres Silva as CEO. Like Kennedy said, “We do these things because they are hard”, and achieving the difficult has been in the DNA of this Brazilian gem for the past 50 years. Competing with the world’s biggest has perhaps distilled and refined the best of Brazilian culture born in the city of São José dos Capos proposed by Santos Dumont, now with roots throughout the world, including in Portugal.
Embraer’s technical and historic details include its first planes, the Urupema glider and the Bandeirante – its first transport aircraft and the reason it started -, the AMX project, the lesson in cold, hard reality that was the CBA-123, turning the corner with the ERJ-145, the debut of the Phenom and Legacy, the great KC-390 and E-Jets, where you are perhaps flying now, on board TAP Express. Here’s a chance for reflection: so many others having tried, what special combination has made these 50 years possible, and will allow it to fly for the next 50?
Organisational scholars postulate the importance of the preservation and quality of its critical genes, honed by time in the human crucible of those who lend it life. After all, it takes more than a childish dream of building an aeroplane to succeed in the world: competence, dedication, agility, creativity, a dose of realism, a bit of luck. Dreaming also gives soul and purpose to the collective endeavour, the compass that maps the route to navigatethe future. That way, we are slightly more at ease. Everything points to it being the unique and visible “making a plane” being a collateral result of another mission, implicit in the enthusiasm of its workers: the will to change Brazil, and the world, everyone raising the bar of designing, manufacturing and sustaining these winged beings that, every day, connect millions of human beings.
by Ricardo Reis
web design & development 262media.com