At last year’s NBAA Convention, Embraer tested the water, so to speak, for two new aircraft it described as a midsize jet and a “mid-light” jet and began accepting “letters of interest,” along with $90,000 and $70,000 refundable deposits, respectively. But it stopped short of an official program launch.
Eight months later, however, at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) show in Geneva, the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer made it official, unveiling the midsize jet as the Legacy 500 and the mid-light as the Legacy 450, two twinjets bridging the market gap between Embraer’s Phenom 300 light jet and its large-cabin Legacy 600. At that point, Embraer began accepting “letters of intent” (LOIs) from customers and, according to Embraer Executive Jets executive v-p Luis Carlos Affonso, more than 100 flooded in.
The Legacy 500 has what Embraer describes as “true coast-to-coast” range at 3,000 nm with four passengers and is expected to enter service in the second half of 2012. The 450 has a $15.25 million price tag, a range of 2,300 nm with four passengers and is expected to enter service in 2013.
Slightly longer, the 500 will carry eight passengers in standard configuration while the 450 is configured for seven passengers. Both flat-floor cabins, however, have the same cross-section profile with six feet of headroom. And the initial interior designs for both come from BMW Group DesignworksUSA.
Embraer has not released exact thrust rating numbers but has announced both airplanes will be powered by variants of Honeywell’s HTF7500E turbofans, producing between 6,000 pounds and 7,000 pounds of thrust.
Both Legacys are clean-sheet designs and will feature side-stick, fly-by-wire flight controls (elevator, ailerons, rudder and spoilers), a unique departure from previous Embraer aircraft designs. The cockpits of both will carry Rockwell Collins’ Pro Line Fusion avionics with head-up display and an enhanced-vision system as options.
The flight deck will have four, 15.1-inch, high-resolution displays in a “T” configuration, arranged with advanced graphics capabilities to delivery: high resolution for enhanced synthetic vision systems; integrated flight information systems; advanced flight management systems; full flight regime auto-throttle controls; and multi-scan weather radar.
At this point, Embraer has identified 15 partners in development of the 450 and 500, including: B/E Aerospace for passenger seats; BMW DesignworksUSA, interior design; FACC, interior monuments; Goodrich, pilot seats; Heroux Devek, landing gear; Honeywell, engines, APU and air conditioning pack; Meggitt, wheels and brakes pneumatic system; MTI, insulation; Pacific Scientific, electric power generation; Parker, fuel flight controls hydraulic generation; Rockwell Collins, avionics; SKF, thrust lever and rudder pedals; and Zodiac, fuel, flight controls and hydraulic generation.
Affonso has admitted that there is room for another business jet positioned between the Phenom 300 and Legacy 450, most likely in the $10- to $12 million range. But he declined to discuss that possibility further. However, it has been confirmed that Embraer already holds a trademark for the Legacy 400 name, as well as for those of the Phenom 200, Legacy 700 and Lineage 800.
At its São Jose dos Campos headquarters last month, v-p of market intelligence Cláudio Galdo Camelier said Embraer has begun taking firm orders for both new airplanes. He declined to discuss sales numbers but did say that the number of LOIs to date that have been converted to orders “justifies the decision to launch,” and added that most of the orders have been for the pricier $18.4 million Legacy 500.