Legacy 650 Demonstrator Shows Off at Teterboro

 - July 4, 2012, 1:55 AM
L-r: Embraer’s Robert Knebel and Christian Kennedy chat with this magazine’s editor aboard the Legacy 650 last month. (Photo: R. Randall Padfield)

Brazil’s Embraer took a brand-spanking-new Legacy 650 on a demonstration tour of the Eastern U.S. last month to show the airplane’s updated cabin and specifically the better soundproofing, revised layout, materials and in-flight entertainment system. The large-cabin twinjet’s visit to Teterboro coincided with the NBAA Regional Forum there on June 7 and Embraer invited several media people, including two AIN editors, on a “dinner aloft” with three Embraer marketing staff.

The takeoff was planned for 6 p.m. and return by 7 p.m., but thunderstorms in the New York area stymied air traffic. So the passengers waited in the lounge of First Aviation at TEB and then waited again on board the airplane (PT-TSC). When the flight finally received clearance and the jet taxied to the runway, the passengers counted at least a dozen business airplanes following behind. PT-TSC’s wheels came up just after 7:30 p.m.

As Capt. Eloy Neto, Embraer instructor pilot, explained it later, “We changed our route three times. The last one was Teterboro, Carmel, Cambridge, radar vectors around Cambridge for 30 minutes–with Boston control giving great assistance–and then back to Teterboro via Albany.” The other pilot was Capt. Luis Fernado Pelegrini, also an instructor pilot, and the flight attendants were Flavia Fraga and Cristiane Melo.

The Rolls-Royce AE3007A2-powered jet cruised at 35,000 feet and Mach 0.74 for most of the one-hour-twenty-nine-minute flight. The turbofans burned 4,400 pounds of fuel, giving an average burn rate of 1,483 pounds per hour per engine. The 650’s maximum range is 3,900 nm with four passengers and NBAA IFR reserves.

PT-TSC, a 2012 model, had logged just 80 flight hours since its delivery flight on April 5. The model received Brazilian and EASA certification in October 2010 and FAA approval in February last year.

From fore to aft, PT-TSC’s cabin features a forward galley and small lav; a club four on either side of the aisle; a credenza on the right facing double-club seats on the left with a table between them; a two-seat divan on the right with two facing single seats on the left; and a normal-size aft lav that leads to the cabin baggage compartment–all in all, a fairly standard configuration for jets of its size. We found the cabin noise levels, craftsmanship and materials to be good. Technology and technique improvements in soundproofing mean that the extra muffling carries no appreciable weight penalty compared with earlier 650s/600s. (The shorter-range 600 retains its place in the product lineup for now, and the market will decide its future, said Embraer Executive Aircraft vice president Robert Knebel.) The cabin sleeps five, as long as the two people sleeping on the double-size mattress over the club four and table are agreeable.

Unfortunately, the airplane’s Honeywell Ovation Select IFE system defied Embraer’s best-laid plans and chose not to work properly during the flight, playing the same video over and over through multiple sharp new HD monitors on either side of each seat row. One of the flight attendants said she had rebooted the system before takeoff and that this takes time, but the video never changed and the control buttons remained ineffective. With the audio off, the passengers ignored the video and instead enjoyed the convivial conversation, quiet relaxed atmosphere, comfortable seats and in-flight meal. Fraga and Melo offered a choice of filet mignon and sea bass, which the passengers judged as excellent, as they did the choice of wines.

No doubt about it: it’s hard to beat dinner aloft in a Legacy 650 after a long work day.