Embraer technicians were scheduled to begin final assembly of the Phenom 100 very light jet (VLJ) prototype in preparation for the jet’s mid-year first flight as this issue went to press. The jet is being built at Embraer’s Botucatu facility in Brazil, but final assembly will take place at the plant in São José dos Campos. Two flight-worthy Pratt & Whitney Canada PW617F turbofan engines for the Phenom 100 were due to arrive in São José dos Campos last month. Embraer expects the engine to receive certification in the fourth quarter.
The larger Phenom 300 design is undergoing wind-tunnel testing at Russia’s Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute, and tests have validated projected range, maximum speed and runway performance, according to Embraer. Other wind-tunnel tests at Brazil’s Comando Geral de Tecnologia Aeroespacial will evaluate the Phenom 300’s aileron control using a partial wing model. Firm orders for the Phenom 100 VLJ and 300 light jet stood at 350 aircraft at the end of last year. Production rate should stabilize at 120 to 150 Phenoms per year by 2009. The Phenom 100 is scheduled to enter service in the middle of next year, followed by the Phenom 300 in mid-2009.