Embraer Gears Up To Begin Legacy 500 Flight Testing

 - October 9, 2012, 4:20 PM
Embraer showed off the painted Legacy 500 prototype for the first time to a group of aviation journalists. Fly-by-wire control problems have delayed the program by a year, with entry into service now expected late next year. (Photo: Bill Carey)

Embraer displayed the midsize Legacy 500 prototype for the first time with a painted finish on Friday to a group of aviation journalists visiting the manufacturer’s headquarters in São José dos Campos, Brazil. Legacy 500 S/N 001, the first of four planned flight-test aircraft, is currently being prepared to fly before year-end.

Embraer launched the Legacy 500 and the mid-light Legacy 450 in March 2008. The manufacturer touts the duo as the first jets in their respective categories with stand-up flat-floor cabins and fly-by-wire (FBW) flight controls.

However, integration problems with the three-axis FBW system provided by Parker Aerospace delayed development of the Legacy 500, which was originally expected to enter service this year. Parker was “not able to keep the milestones, so we brought in the Embraer engineering team and BAE to help,” said Embraer Executive Jets senior vice president of operations and COO Marco Tulio Pellegrini. Embraer Executive Jets president Ernest Edwards called the situation “a bad dream,” adding, “It’s all behind us now, and we’re back on track.”

The flight-test program calls for the four prototypes to fly 1,500 to 2,000 hours. The following Legacy 450 flight-test program will involve two prototypes and fewer flight hours due to its commonality with the Legacy 500, Embraer said.