Primus Elite adds features to Honeywell avionics suite

 - November 24, 2009, 10:22 AM

The Legacy 650, the newest addition to Embraer’s growing choice of business jets, will fly with Honeywell Primus Elite avionics, a new product offering that will bring XM graphical weather capability, video display link and Jeppesen electronic charts to the cockpit, all of it accessible with a cursor-control graphical interface.

The Primus Elite system is the same package Honeywell is offering as a retrofit upgrade in a variety of business jets. That Embraer chose it for its newest business jet over the Honeywell Primus Epic system is notably smart. Primus Elite doesn’t offer nearly the degree of integration of Primus Epic, but it still packs plenty of punch for a lot less money.

The Elite system offers coupled Vnav approaches, required navigation performance (RNP) 0.3, Waas/LPV, Honeywell’s SmartRunway and SmartLanding runway awareness and advisory system (Raas), and future air navigation system (Fans) 1/A datalink communications. The high-resolution graphics rendered by the Primus Elite displays are capable eventually of supporting Honeywell’s SmartView synthetic-vision system.

Legacy 600 owners will be able to upgrade their Primus 1000 avionics to the Elite system through an Embraer service bulletin that will be available in the first quarter of 2011. Buyers who take delivery of new Legacy 600s before then will have the choice of adding the upgraded avionics.

Besides featuring less integration than Primus Epic, the Primus Elite system will also be more reliable. The LCD-based Primus Elite display systems can slide into the holes of CRTs in Primus 1000/2000/XP, SPZ-8400/ 8500 and some SPZ-8000 avionics systems. Primus Elite converts the existing CRT displays to more capable and longer lasting active-matrix LCDs. The LCD displays also incorporate internal computing power to allow operators to integrate technologies previously available only in newer aircraft.

“The new displays offer better reliability, enhanced safety and expanded aircraft capability such as datalink weather, charts and maps,” said Chad Cundiff, vice president of crew interface products for Honeywell. “Primus Elite requires no aircraft structural modifications, limited wiring, little downtime and no additional pilot training, saving the operator acquisition and maintenance costs.”

Cundiff predicts that other OEMs will follow Embraer’s lead by adding Primus Elite avionics to the front offices of derivative models.

The Primus Elite system, formerly known as the DU 875/885, will be available for retrofit installation in the Bombardier Global Express and Gulfstream IV/IV-SP/V starting early next year. The price will vary depending on the type of airplane and what additional equipment is to be replaced, Cundiff said, adding that aircraft manufacturers will be the ones responsible for releasing pricing and delivery information.

The Legacy 650 is a derivative of the 600 that will share the latter’s type certificate. Besides the changes to the airplane’s front office, a Legacy 650 will be hard to distinguish from an original Legacy 600. Both are based on the ERJ 135 regional airliners. With structurally reinforced landing gear, the 650 will sit about five inches lower than the Legacy 600. The 650 will use the same wing as the 600, but winglets will be added, the structure reinforced and the shape of the aft wing/fuselage fairing changed.

The 650’s engines are Rolls-Royce AE3007A2s with high-flow fans, each producing 9,020 pounds of thrust, 210 pounds more than the AE3007A1Es in the Legacy 600. With additional fuel tanks and 10-percent more efficient engines, the 650 has a projected range of 3,900 nm with four passengers (NBAA/IFR reserves), about 500 nm more than the Legacy 600. Certification of the new model is targeted for the middle of next year.