The customer comes first, according to Embraer Executive Jets, which is announcing several product enhancements to its midsize Legacy 500 and “mid-light” Legacy 450 business jets at this year’s NBAA convention. The Brazilian manufacturer said that preferences voiced by potential customers have led it to finesse the cabin interior designs of the sibling jets as they advance toward certification. As an option, both jets will also be available with Rockwell Collins’s HGS-3500 compact head-up display (HUD), capable of presenting both synthetic- and enhanced-vision imagery.
With the first prototype of the Legacy 450 in final assembly and due to fly for the first time this year, Embraer revealed to reporters at its São Jose dos Campos headquarters last month that it has extended the fuselage from the original configuration by more than half a foot in order to provide six additional inches of cabin length. The extended cabin measures 24 feet from the aft cockpit wall to the internal baggage compartment.
The fuselage enlargement means there will be two more inches of space separating the aircraft’s two forward seats and four more inches separating the rear two seats from the seats in front of them. Seat pitch in the rear seats increases from 42 inches to 46 inches, providing more passenger leg room.
“What you’re doing is making a six-seat, seven-seat aircraft with comfortable positions everywhere,” said Augusto Salgado da Rocha, Embraer Executive Jets senior manager of product strategy. “These are things that we learned from having mockups and from having people inside of the airplane saying, ‘This could be a little bit more comfortable if you had some additional space.’ Of course, there is a weight penalty, but we will recover the weight penalty so that our performance targets are still the same. We are not changing any of the performance targets,” he added.
Actually, Embraer has changed one performance target–it has increased the range specification of the Legacy 450 from 2,300 to 2,500 nm at Mach 0.82 when carrying four passengers, two pilots and NBAA IFR reserves. It has done so by increasing the aircraft’s full fuel capacity, which has also increased its maximum takeoff weight. But the previously specified 4,000-foot takeoff distance remains the same, and there is also no effect on time-to-climb, initial cruise altitude, maximum operating altitude and speed, according to Embraer. “We are compensating that with [engine] thrust and an aerodynamic design that is better than we anticipated,” Salgado said.
The $16 million Legacy 450 and $18 million Legacy 500 will be the first two business jets under $50 million to employ fly-by-wire flight controls. They will also be the first mid-light and midsize jets equipped as an option with the Rockwell Collins HGS-3500 compact HUD, which eliminates the need for an external projector behind the pilot’s head. The HUD will come as a package with an EVS-3000 enhanced-vision system (EVS), including infrared sensors and a video camera capable of seeing light-emitting diode (LED) runway lights that infrared sensors cannot detect. Still in development, the HGS-3500 will display synthetic vision from the jets’ Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics suite as well as EVS.
The package, branded as the Embraer enhanced-vision system (E2VS) for the Legacys, should be available two years after the jets enter service–2016 in the case of the Legacy 500, which is due to enter service next year. According to Embraer, the E2VS system will improve the jets’ operational capability down to Cat II approach minimums.
Embraer’s design goal for the sibling jets is to have 95 percent line-replaceable unit commonality. They share the same Honeywell HTF7500E engines and Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion flight deck, offering pilots the possibility of a common type rating. They will also share clever new cabin features that Embraer has introduced since the original concept design through focus groups, sales mockups and a new in-house design capability. These include concealed spaces for storing personal control units for the Honeywell Ovation Select cabin management system, as well as carry-on iPads and magazines; embedded cup holders; and curved wood veneer surfaces applied where only hardwood surfaces could be used previously, saving weight. Embraer is exhibiting a refreshed Legacy 450 cabin mockup with the new interior features here at the NBAA convention.
Legacy 450 First Flight
The Legacy 450 is advancing toward its first flight, planned for this year. Reporters viewed the first fuselage undergoing final assembly in Embraer’s historic F-30 building on the São Jose dos Campos campus, where the company’s Bandeirante and other early types were assembled. The first prototype, designated EMB-545, will be one of two built for the flight-testprogram. Entry into service is planned in 2015.
The three Legacy 500 prototypes have accumulated more than 650 flight hours since the SN001 test aircraft first flew on Nov. 27, 2012. An “iron-bird” systems engineering test bench has logged another 4,500 hours. Certification authorities with Brazil’s ANAC, the FAA and EASA have participated in familiarization flights as the aircraft nears its expected type certification and entry into service in mid-2014.
The SN 003 prototype, which made its maiden flight in March, represents the type for its NBAA debut on the static line at Henderson ExecutiveAirport. It made its first public appearance at the EBACE convention in Geneva in May and was displayed again at the LABACE convention at Congonhas Airport in São Paulo in August.