Embraer’s newest bizjets will continue the Legacy

 - May 20, 2008, 10:38 AM

A “legacy,” by definition and by tradition, is something of value passed down from one generation to the next. It was with this in mind that Embraer took advantage of the EBACE stage to officially introduce the latest additions to its business
jet family–the Legacy 500 and Legacy 450–formerly referred to as the MSJ and MLJ respectively.

In making the introduction and unveiling a cabin mockup of the Legacy 500, Embraer Executive Jets executive v-p Luis Carlos Affonso noted that in selecting the names, two possibilities seemed obvious: to continue the Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 line, or to build on the reputation of the Legacy 600. In terms of performance and cabin size “and by nature,” the new airplanes are more akin to the Legacy, he said. Hence the choice.

While the original Legacy 600, still in production, is an executive/VIP derivative of the Brazilian manufacturer’s ERJ 135 regional jet with sales in excess of 115 airplanes, the Legacy 500 and its slightly smaller sister the Legacy 450 are clean-sheet designs.

According to Affonso, the Legacy 500, carrying a promotional price of €11.4 million ($18.4 million), is scheduled to enter service in late 2012. The Legacy 450 is slated to enter service a year later, with a €9.79 million ($15.25 million) price tag.
The Legacy 500 is expected to have a range of 3,000 nm with four passengers, or 2,800 nm with eight passengers and a cruise speed of Mach 0.80 (NBAA/IFR reserves). This will allow non-stop flights from Paris to Riyadh, Moscow to New Delhi and New York to Los Angeles.

The Legacy 450 cabin is only slightly smaller, but with performance figures slightly less than those of its larger sibling. The 450 is being designed for a range of 2,300 nm with four passengers, or 2,200 nm with eight passengers at Mach 0.78. The range would permit non-stop travel from Moscow to Madrid or New York City to Mexico City.

Honeywell will provide engines for both airplanes–the HTF7500E with 6,000 pounds to 7,000 pounds thrust. The powerplant is based on the HTF7000 platform, which Honeywell promotes as being more fuel efficient and easier to maintain, with lower operating costs and reduced noise and emissions.

Both airplanes will feature side-stick-operated, fly-by-wire flight controls, a unique departure from previous Embraer aircraft designs. The cockpit will feature Rockwell Collins’ Pro Line Fusion avionics and what Affonso described as an “unmatched level of capability to the midlight and midsize [aircraft] categories, providing extensive situational awareness with a highly intuitive user interface.”

The flight deck panel will have four, 15.1-inch, high-resolution displays on a “T” configuration, arranged with advanced graphics capabilities to deliver: high resolution for enhanced synthetic vision systems; integrated flight information systems; advanced flight management systems; full-flight regimen auto-throttle controls; and multi-scan weather radar.

The broad cross-section cabin in both aircraft will feature a flat floor and six-feet of stand-up headroom, a fully equipped galley and an externally serviced aft lavatory. The interiors of both jets have been jointly developed by Embraer and U.S.-based DesignworksUSA.

In terms of competitive categories, the lines are blurred, but the Legacy 500 is most likely in the same category as Bombardier’s new Learjet 85, the Cessna 680 Sovereign and Challenger 300. Market rivals for the 450 include the Learjet 45 and 60, Citation’s XLS and Hawker Beechcraft’s Hawker line.

Affonso said a combined order book for the two new Legacys carries more than 100 letters of intent from a global array of potential customers. Embraer has earmarked some €481.6 million ($750 million) for research and development of the two programs.

Asked if naming the MLJ the Legacy 450 suggests yet another airplane to come in the niche between the Legacy 450 and the smaller Phenom 300, Affonso was noncommittal.

He did admit, however, there is room for another business jet in the €6.42 million ($10 million) to €7.50 million ($12 million) range, with the Phenom 300 priced at €4.497 million ($7 million) and the new Legacy 450 at €9.79 million ($15.25 million). Would the next model in this niche be a Phenom 350 or a Legacy 400?
A look at names Embraer has already trademarked at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reveals these possibilities: Phenom 200, Legacy 400 and 700 and Lineage 800.

See video of the unveiling at www.AINtv.com.