Embraer’s new Legacy 500 just might be the most well equipped midsize business jet cabin on the market. Embraer v-p of interior design Jay Beever is convinced that the airplane is that, and more. Beever could be accused of hyperbole, but on the other hand he might be right.
When Embraer began designing the interior of its latest business jet, now barely a year from certification, designers and engineers wanted to create an interior that meets every expectation.
The size of the cabin gave them a running start, beginning with more than six feet of headroom and 6 feet, 11 inches of width (the same width as that of the much larger Legacy 600). At 26 feet 10 inches long, the cabin is a few inches longer than that of the Challenger 300, with which the Legacy 500 competes, though slightly smaller in volume by about 40 cu ft.
Embraer began work on the cabin in 2006 with meetings of focus groups and customer advisory boards that were not exclusively Embraer insiders, operators and customers. “We also had 15 to 20 individuals involved from various companies that operated aircraft other than Embraers,” said Beever.
Tweaking continued though the full-size cabin mockup, completed from a design by DesignworksUSA in 2007, and its introduction at the EBACE trade show in 2008. By 2011, said Beever, a “production worthy” mockup saw several groups spend the night, using all the amenities and necessities, even sleeping on board.
The cabin windows, 13.1 inches wide and 14.4 inches high, are larger than those in the Legacy 600 and the cabin is laid out so that each seat is conveniently positioned adjacent to a window. Beever points out that the windows are 30 percent larger than windows in the competing Citation XLS. Further, the windows are positioned higher so passengers do not have to bend down to get a view outside.
Pleated and manually operated window shades are standard, but Embraer is considering electrically operated shades and electrically dimmable windows as options.
The cabin lighting is all multi-white, light-emitting diode (LED), “from warm sunset to bright white.” It isn’t multi-color capable, but Embraer’s engineers are working on that as an option at some later point.
A cabin altitude of 6,000 feet at 45,000 feet is a further nod not only to comfort but also to reducing the possibility of ill effects on passengers with circulatory or respiratory problems.
The lavatory’s standard vacuum toilet is serviced from outside the aircraft, eliminating the leakage associated with the old “blue lagoon.” There is also in-flight access through the lavatory to 110 cu ft of baggage space.
Comfort Is a Priority
In the comfort category, Embraer chose newly developed seats from B/E Aerospace. The goal was comfort, said Beever, “pure and simple.” The standard eight double-club seats are manually articulated with 360-degree swivel and extended floor tracking. Optional electrically articulated seats may include a vibrating massage feature, lumbar support and mechanical leg rest.
The eight 26.5-inch-wide seats recline to create four full-flat surfaces for sleeping, and the seat arms drop down to add width.
Even more comfortable for sleeping is the optional three-place, 16g-certified, side-facing divan that converts to a bed. More comfortable yet is a second divan that, when extended to meet the divan on the opposite side, provides more than six feet of sidewall-to-sidewall luxury.
The standard dry galley forward faces the main entry. The optional wet galley, similar in size to the dry galley, comes equipped with a four-gallon hot/cold water reservoir. Available equipment includes microwave and convection ovens, a steam oven from Zodiac C&D, a refrigerator and an Iacobucci/Nespresso coffee and espresso maker.
While wood veneer cabinetry is common in today’s business jets, Embraer has opted for piano black monuments from Fischer Advanced Composite Components and List components and furniture, both of Austria. The application of piano black avoids the chance of cracks due to expansion and contraction that occurs too often with veneers. While wood veneer is an option, said Beever, “Piano black will be piano black for a lot longer.”
Another option also comes from interior components supplier List in the form of ultra-thin, flexible stone for flooring and cabinet tops.
While the cabin is typically configured for eight passengers, the option of a belted toilet in the lavatory and a forward jump seat replacing the cloak storage adjacent to the entry door allows for a maximum passenger capacity of 10. Embraer is predicting a U.S. coast-to-coast range of 2,800 nm with eight passengers.
Staying Connected Is an Absolute Necessity
In an age when everyone is connected to someone or someplace else all the time, Embraer has ensured that the same is true in flight, anywhere. The optional ground/air communication systems are through Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband, offering 432-kbps maximum data transfer worldwide, and Aircell’s Gogo Biz in North America for a nifty 3.2 mbps. A combination of both is also an option.
The cabin management system (CMS) is Honeywell’s Ovation Select and the entertainment system is 1080p. Standard is a single Blu-ray player (with a second Blu-ray optional) and a bulkhead-mounted, 17-inch Rosen HD monitor supplied by Honeywell. A 19-inch aft-mounted HD monitor is an option, as are eight ledge-mounted, nine-inch, wide-screen HD monitors.
The in-flight entertainment accommodates HDMI ports, and an app download from the Apple Store will allow passengers to use personal devices such as iPhones and iPads to control the CMS. Plans are for the cabin control to include Droid and other devices by the time aircraft deliveries begin.
Optional is a 160-GB media server and by April of this year a 1.5 TB audio-video on demand (Avod) file server where both wired and wireless content streaming will be an option.
While there are no portable personal device docks, there is USB access. One 120V power outlet is available as standard for each seating group of two, and that number can be doubled as an option.
The $19.875 million Legacy 500 recently moved into the certification flight-test phase, and Embraer expects the Mach 0.82 jet to enter service in early 2014. In the meantime, said Beever, the tweaking in the cabin goes on, and will continue right up to and beyond first deliveries, “making the best even better.”