EBACE Convention News

Embraer’s Phenom 100 preps for flight

 - May 21, 2007, 6:55 PM

Cessna and Eclipse are about to feel some Brazilian heat. The first Phenom 100 very light jet being assembled at manufacturer Embraer’s São José dos Campos factory is scheduled for its first flight next month.

As the first three Phenom 100s slated for the certification program are being completed at the main São José dos Campos plant, Embraer is putting into place a multi-site production strategy for the Phenom program.

The plan includes expansion of the plant in Botucatu by nearly 96,000 sq ft and a reconfiguration to accommodate the Phenom stage-one assembly lines.

At Gavião Peixoto, a 128,800-sq-ft building will house administration, engineering, receiving and final assembly facilities. Work on a new paint shop is to be completed by the end of this year.

In March, wing-fuselage mating for the $2.85 million Phenom 100 was performed at the São José dos Campos plant. In April and May, flight systems and landing gear were added and an initial engine run-up was conducted on the two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW617F engines.

Assembly is also progressing on the second and third certification program aircraft. The company expects the production rate to stabilize at 120 to 150 aircraft a year by 2009. According to Luis Carlos Affonso, executive v-p of Embraer Executive Jets, the $2.85 million price is good only through June 30. Starting July 1, the price will jump to $2.98 million.

Affonso said early customers for the larger Phenom 300 are going to get considerably more than they paid for. Embraer has announced a 14-inch increase in cabin length that allows a more flexible cabin configuration, including a two-seat side-facing divan opposite the cabin door. Because the airplane is also 14-inches longer, he said, there is no reduction in the 66-cu-ft aft baggage compartment, and that the cabin height and width remains unchanged. More important, he said, all the original projected performance figures remain the same.

In March the company began cutting metal for the slightly larger Phenom 300 and anticipates a first flight for that airplane in the middle of next year.

While the price is $6.65 million, look for an increase as the date of the first flight in mid-2008 approaches.

Total orders for the Phenom family of aircraft by customers from 30 countries are now past the 400 mark and the next delivery slots are “well into 2011.” Most of the orders are for the Phenom, said Affonso, primarily driven by larger numbers of fleet sales to customers planning to use the aircraft in an air taxi role.

At EBACE, Embraer has full-scale mockups of both the Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 on display.

As for the Lineage 1000, Embraer’s VIP version of the E-jet 190 airliner, Embraer is approaching 10 sales and anticipates the first will be delivered this fall to PATS, DeCrane Aerospace’s independent completion center in Georgetown, Delaware, for interior finish.

Embraer celebrated delivery of its 100th Legacy in March, and another three have been delivered since then. The $24.7 million aircraft went to ABS Jets in the Czech Republic and was the fourth to be delivered in that country. Affonso described the event as “confirmation of the remarkable acceptance that the jet has enjoyed, building a 13.6-percent market share in just five years.” He added that he looks forward to seeing that climb to 15 percent next year.

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