NBAA Convention News

Phenom 100 certification imminent

 - October 6, 2008, 8:30 AM

When Embraer announced the formation of Embraer Executive Jets and the launch of its Phenom 100 very light jet and Phenom 300 light jet programs, there were at least a half-dozen competing programs already in various stages of development. Today, only two very light jets from that group–Cessna’s Citation Mustang and the Eclipse 500 from Eclipse Aviation–are in service. The Phenom 100 is expected to join them in the coming weeks.

According to Embraer market intelligence chief Cláudio Galdo Camelier, in the runup to the show there remained only paperwork validating the Phenom 100’s Eaton flap actuator software and certification of seats from new primary suppliers Goodrich (pilots) and DeCrane (passengers), with customer deliveries expected to begin next month. Goodrich and DeCrane had been secondary sources of the Phenom 100 seats but were appointed as primary suppliers several months ago, according Embraer, to ensure on-time delivery of the first aircraft.

The Phenom 100 is priced at $2.95 million for North American customers whose aircraft meet U.S. FAA certification requirements. For European customers whose Phenom 100s must meet European Aviation Safety Agency standards, including weather radar and a second DME, the aircraft will cost $3.05 million.

The Phenom 100 required minimal modifications, most developed during the flight-test program, including aerodynamic wing fences to allow lower approach and takeoff speeds, a dorsal fin enlargement and a ventral fin. According to Executive Jets executive vice president Luis Carlos Affonso, the modifications were not needed for the airplane to meet its projected performance numbers; rather, they were incorporated “to make a good airplane better.”

According to Camelier, the combined order book for the Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 is in excess of 800 airplanes.

Embraer expects to deliver 10 to 15 Phenom 100s by end of the year and anticipates a combined delivery of 120 to 150 Phenom 100s and 300s. By the time full-production capacity for both airplanes is reached in 2010, Embraer expects two thirds of deliveries will be Phenom 100s.

The program for the larger, $6.65 million Phenom 300 light jet now has two airplanes participating in certification flight testing in Brazil and two more are nearing completion at the Botucatu assembly plant. Certification and entry into service of the 300 is expected in the second half of next year.

Both airplanes will come off the same production lines, with fuselage, wings and tail sections built at Botucatu and shipped for final assembly and interior completion work at the Embraer plant at Gavião Peixoto, Brazil.

Looking forward to an order book suggesting that approximately half of Phenom production will go to the North American market, Embraer has committed to the construction of a $50 million aircraft assembly plant in Melbourne, Fla. Aircraft wings, fuselages and tail sections will be produced at Botucatu and shipped to Florida for final assembly.

The Melbourne facility is expected to begin producing Phenom 100s and 300s by 2010 and when up to speed will be capable of turning out eight aircraft a month.
In the cockpit, both the Phenom 100 and 300 will feature the Prodigy flight deck based on the Garmin G1000 avionics system. A synthetic-vision technology upgrade is planned as a standard addition on the Phenom 300 and as an option on the Phenom 100.

As for the interior, it would be a mistake to think of the Phenom 300 as simply a larger version of its smaller sibling. While the cabin cross-section is the same, the longer 300 will accommodate six passengers–two more than the Phenom 100.
The airplanes differ in other respects as well. The Phenom 300’s mtow at 19,500 pounds is slightly more than twice that of the Phenom 100, and its Pratt & Whitney Canada PW535E engines will produce 3,200 pounds of thrust each while the PW617F engines on the Phenom 100 will crank out 1,615 pounds of thrust each. The swept-wing Phenom 300 will have a max cruise speed of Mach 0.78 and range of 1,800 nm. The straight-wing 100 will have a Mach 0.70 max cruise speed and range of 1,160 nm.

The Phenom 100 and 300 will play a key role in Embraer’s long-range plans, according to Camelier. The pair is expected to create a long-term customer base for the midsize Legacy 450 and super-midsize Legacy 500 formally introduced earlier this year.