Embraer broke ground for a 67,000-sq-ft engineering and technology center in Melbourne, Fla., yesterday, marking further expansion of the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer’s footprint at this U.S. location. The new building, which is expected to open in mid-2014 and house 200 employees by 2017, will join Embraer’s Phenom assembly facility and executive jet customer service center at the Florida campus.
Located at Melbourne International Airport on 13 acres, the Embraer Engineering and Technology Center USA represents a $26 million investment over the next five years by Embraer. To date, 12 employees, including former Kennedy Space Center personnel, have been hired and are working in temporary facilities adjacent to the airport.
When opened, the center will include laboratories, test equipment, a 3-D virtual-reality center, prototype capabilities and 3-D computer-aided design stations that will allow computational fluid dynamics and finite element modeling. The dozen workers at the temporary engineering facilities are initially working on executive jet interior designs.
Meanwhile, the first U.S.-assembled Embraer Phenom 300 is quickly approaching first flight, with the twinjet now in the production preflight area at the Melbourne plant. The aircraft’s engines were run in the past week and plant workers are putting the finishing touches on the interior. Once this work is done, the light jet will undergo full systems checks and high-speed ground runs before taking flight. This aircraft will be delivered in the first quarter.