EBACE Convention News

Embraer’s stable continues to grow

 - April 28, 2010, 6:36 AM

Embraer is ahead of schedule in achieving its self-imposed 2005 goal of becoming “a major player in the business aviation market by 2015.” The Brazilian manufacturer has come to EBACE with four examples of its current product range–the Phenom 100 and 300 light jets, the super-midsize Legacy 600 and the large-cabin Lineage 1000. It also is showing a mockup of the new Legacy 500, which it has in development alongside the smaller Legacy 450 and the larger Legacy 650.

So Embraer’s current or planned product portfolio spans seven aircraft. Its market intelligence vice president Claudio Camilier acknowledged that this still leaves gaps in the long-range segment of its fleet between the Legacy 650 and the Lineage 1000, but the company feels it has enough work on its plate for the time being in bringing the three developing new models to market on time.

According to Embraer, it had a relatively successful 2009 despite the depressed market conditions. In part this was due to the start of deliveries of the new five-passenger Phenom 100 very light jet. Since the $3.8 million aircraft was certified in December 2008, the company has delivered about 120 units, with most of these going to the U.S. and up to 15 to customers in Europe.

More Phenom 100s were intended to go to Europe, but Embraer had to annul its contract with Ireland-based JetBird because the charter start-up could not raise the capital to pay for the some 100 aircraft it ordered at the height of the bizav boom. The two companies are reported to be negotiating a new contract but there appears to be no immediate prospect of the deal being resurrected because JetBird can give no clear indication about where it may secure funding.

Embraer confirmed that approximately 100 Phenom 100 and 300 orders have been cancelled during the current recession, and other deliveries have been postponed. Nonetheless, the manufacturer expects to deliver about 120 Phenoms this year.
Deliveries of the $8.5 million Phenom 300 are now also under way. Embraer claims to have a three- to four-year production backlog of the new Phenom family, covering approximately 600 aircraft, about two thirds of which are Phenom 100s. Most sales of the seven-passenger Phenom 300 achieved to date have been in the U.S. market.

The Phenom 300 is a separate design from the 100 and is not simply a stretched fuselage. It achieved certification on schedule in December, with first deliveries going to Executive Flight Services just before the end of last year.

Legacy Series
According to Embraer, the $15.3 million Legacy 450 and the larger, longer-range $18.4 million Legacy 500 will shake up the midsize market by offering fly-by-wire avionics that so far have been available only on larger jets such as the Dassault Falcon 7X and the Lineage 1000. Despite retaining the Legacy name, the 450 and the 500 are not derivatives of either the 600 or 650 models, and their development programs involve more than 500 engineers. The manufacturer said that orders taken with refundable deposits since the 450 and 500 programs were launched at the 2007 NBAA Convention are being converted into firm orders with nonrefundable deposits.

Both aircraft will be powered by Honeywell’s HTF7500E turbofan engines, which incorporate new technology promising reduced operating costs derived from improved fuel efficiency and easier maintenance, as well as reduced noise and engine emissions.

In the cockpits of the new jets Rockwell Collins’s Pro Line Fusion avionics suite is expected to provide pilots with enhanced situational awareness and a highly intuitive interface. The flight deck has four 15.1-inch high-resolution smart displays in a “T” configuration. Standard equipment on the new jets will include systems as synthetic vision, integrated flight information and autothrottles that can control all phases of flight. Enhanced vision and head-up guidance systems are offered as optional equipment.

First flight of the Legacy 500 is expected next year and certification is expected to be complete before the end of 2012. The aircraft will carry up to nine passengers and offer ranges of up to 2,800 nm with eight passengers or 3,000 nm with four passengers with NBAA IFR reserves and a maximum cruise speed of Mach 0.80. This will enable a nonstop transatlantic flight from Gander to Paris. Other Legacy 500 direct city pairs include: Miami to Seattle, New York to Los Angeles, Paris to Riyadh and Moscow to New Delhi.

The Legacy 450’s first flight is scheduled for 2012, with deliveries a year later. It is being developed for a 2,200-nm range with eight passengers or 2,300 nm with four passengers, allowing nonstop flights from Madrid to Moscow, Atlanta to Seattle, New York to Mexico City and Moscow to Riyadh.

The Legacy 650, Embraer’s seventh and latest business jet to approach the market, is a derivative of the Legacy 600, which entered service in 2002. The $29.7 million, large-cabin 650 features a new wing design (but the same winglets), LCD technology in the cockpit via Honeywell’s new Primus Elite avionics suite and a reinforced landing gear. It made its first flight in October 2009 after Embraer had quietly begun work on the program in the first half of 2008 in response to demand from Legacy customers for more range.

Much of the extra range comes from the additional 381-gallon fuel tanks in the central wing box. The new Rolls-Royce AE3007A2 turbofans each produce 9,020 pounds of thrust–210 pounds more than the AE3007A1Es in the 600–giving it a projected range of 3,900 nm with four passengers. That is 500 nm more range than the 3,400 nm for the 600 under the same conditions.

The 650’s nonstop range should make possible flights such as Dubai to London, São Paulo to Miami and Londo to New Delhi. The Legacy 600’s Mach 0.80 standard cruise speed is unchanged.

A third aircraft is about to join the flight test program and it will be used to complete avionics testing. Certification and first deliveries of the 650 are due to be achieved before the end of this year.

A breakdown is not available for the 17 combined Legacy 600/650 and Lineage 1000 orders taken in 2009 but Embraer confirms no cancellations of the $27.5 million 600 and no plans to replace it with the 650. However, last year Embraer delivered only 18 Legacy 600s–down from 33 in 2008. The 650’s new features will be available for retrofit on the
older model.

Embraer delivered three of the 19-seat Lineage 1000s in 2009, with two going to customers in Abu Dhabi and the third to the UK. The company holds orders for another 20 of the $49.3 million derivative of the E190 regional airliner, most of them coming from the Middle East. Customers include Abu Dhabi-based Al Jaber Aviation, which received one aircraft in December and holds orders for four more Lineage 1000s and four each of the Legacy 450 and 500.

Globe-trotting Phenom 100 Shows Its Legs

Earlier this year, Embraer pilots got the chance to show what the company’s new very light jet is made of when they flew a Phenom 100 from the intense heat of an Australian summer through an Arctic winter en route to a final destination in Phoenix, Arizona. The epic 13,500-nm trip took 45 flight hours over six days and, according to Brazilian captain Antonio Cesar, “really pushed the aircraft to its limit showing all its strength and reliability.”

Before the final leg ferrying the Phenom to the U.S., Cesar and a colleague performed 19 flights in a sales demonstration tour all over Australia, visiting Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Lismore, Cairns and Darwin, from which the grueling six-day journey to Phoenix began on February 26.

The Phenom made stops in Bali (Indonesia), Singapore, Thailand, Chittagong (Bangladesh), Varanasi and Ahmadabad (India), Karachi (Pakistan), Muscat (Oman), Kuwait City, Damascus (Syria), Salonika (Greece), and Nuremberg (Germany) before arriving in Wick (Scotland) where Sydney Rodrigues from Greece joined Cesar at the controls. 

Tail number PP-XOQ, which is Phenom 100 serial number 007, then headed further north over the Atlantic to Keflavik (Iceland), Narsarssuac (Greenland), Goose Bay (Canada), Buffalo and Wichita (U.S.) before landing in Phoenix on March 3. The airplane faced strong headwinds that reached up to 145 knots when crossing Asia and the Middle East and the harsh winter in Greenland and North America, Cesar reported.

A second Phenom intercontinental flight recently took place between Johannesburg, South Africa, and Paris via the Middle East. Over 20 days (including overnight stopovers) Brazilian captain Andre Luiz Puls Caselato and a colleague piloted the VLJ to locations including Dar-es-Salaam, (Tanzania), Nairobi (Kenya), Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Cairo (Egypt) and Athens (Greece), before zigzagging back to Tel Aviv (Israel), Cyprus, Sofia (Bulgaria), Cannes (France), Milan and Rome (Italy) and finally Paris. “With a lot of automation found only on commercial airliners it is easy to fly, making it impressively maneuverable even in bad weather,” said Caselato, who normally flies Embraer’s E-Jet airliners.