Embraer Shows Off Complete Jet Family With New Legacys

 - May 20, 2014, 12:01 AM
The front office of the Legacy 500, the company’s first fully fly-by-wire aircraft, features a Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion flight deck. At the time of the first flight the company said, “It is hard to overstate the importance of fly-by-wire techonology. Fly by wire does for business aviation what GPS has done for navigation.”

The impending service entry of Embraer’s Legacy 450s and 500s is set to complete the Brazilian manufacturer’s product portfolio–a sort of bridge of options connecting the Phenom 100 and 300 light jets with the larger Legacy 650 and Lineage 1000 models. During a pre-EBACE press visit to its São José dos Campos headquarters last month AIN found Embraer’s management in a confident mood, despite the fact that the overall fortunes of the business aviation market still seem somewhat mixed.

Embraer Executive Jets (EEJ) now boasts an installed based of some 739 aircraft in operation worldwide. The company’s president and CEO Marco Tulio pointed out that this total has increased fivefold since the financial crisis that started in 2008 and last year it boasted annual revenues of $1.65 billion.

“Our growth has made some victims,” said Tulio, referring to market share he says has been won largely at the expense of U.S. rivals Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft (now trading jointly as Textron Aviation). Embraer claims a worldwide business aviation market share of 17.6 percent, up from just 3.3 percent in 2008.

Here at the EBACE show this week Embraer has a range of news announcements to make relating to its products and programs–mainly about its new Legacy 450 and 500 models but also about its Phenom family and the Lineage 1000 at the top end of its product range.

Legacy 450/500

The Legacy 450 and 500 models share 95 percent common design and systems. Four prototypes of the Legacy 500 are in flight test and have already completed more than 1,330 flight hours representing 88 percent of the test campaign (see box). “We are on track for a Legacy 500 entry into service in the first half of 2014, and first half of 2015 for the Legacy 450,” said Tulio.

To achieve maximum maturity on systems and avionics before entry into service, Embraer installed an iron bird at its Eugenio di Melo facility a few miles from São José dos Campos, where all systems are tested together. A complete Legacy 500 cockpit with fly-by-wire control system and all cabin electrical systems is deployed at full scale, and is used to record parameters at more than 800 test points in the operating/flight envelope. This took more than 21,000 system hours in total, with the program being finished by the end of April. According to Tulio, the delivery of the first Legacy 500 will come shortly after certification, with three to six Legacy 500s being delivered this year.

Embraer has taken a huge step forward with the Legacy 450/500 in terms of it being the first fully fly-by-wire aircraft (with every control surface FBW controlled) to be offered by the manufacturer. The company admits that it was not easy, although the main issues were “more caused by creating documents for certification–which was new for us– than [producing the] fly-by-wire software,” said Augusto Salgado da Rocha, senior manager product strategy and sales engineering. He added that the Legacy 450 and 500 are “the only aircraft below $52 million to offer this technology.” The Legacy 450 list price is $16.57 million, while the Legacy 500 costs almost $20 million.

Equipped with the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion flight deck, there is also an option for the E2VS system to be fitted in the Legacy 450/500 to combine a compact head-up display with an enhanced-vision system: the Rockwell Collins EVS3000. This is capable of detecting all types of runway lighting (including LED) without the need for a cooler unit, thus making it lighter and requiring less power than alternative systems.

Cabin Interiors

Embraer Executive Jets has evolved its cabins since the first designs developed for it by BMW DesignWorks USA in 2006-2007. “The BMW concept was nice in pictures, but less so in reality,” admitted senior manager product strategy Augusto Salgado. He added that a brand-new concept, with a more conventional design, is being presented here at EBACE 2014.

Focus groups spent many hours in the mock-up to test and improve the new cabin design, Salgado explained. Seat forms have been redesigned to be more practical and comfortable, and tables have been designed to allow passengers to simultaneously have their meal and work from a laptop. Storage for magazines has been added as well as an in-flight entertainment system control unit for the Honeywell Ovation Select cabin connection suite.

EEJ is highlighting the 6-foot 10-inch by 6-foot cross-section of the cabin, which it says is the largest in the midsize market segment, as well as the flat floor, which allows more flexibility in designing layouts. “The Legacy 450/500 offers a 6,000-foot cabin altitude at [up to] 45,000 feet, a best in class,” claimed Salgado.

Only the new Bombardier Learjet 85 (which competes with the Legacy 500) and the Cessna Latitude (a Legacy 450 rival) can do the same. Meanwhile, EEJ said the Legacy 450’s cabin comfort has been improved by adding four inches of legroom, and its range has been increased from 2,300 nm to 2,500 nm.

Top-of-the-Range

At the top end of Embraer’s business jet family is the $53 million Lineage 1000E, which is derived from its Embraer 190 regional jet. It is being presented for the first time here at EBACE in its upgraded “E” form (signifying extended range and enhanced interior).

The 1000E’s cabin is longer and thinner than that of the Airbus ACJ, but with almost the same volume (2,472 cu ft, or 70 cu m) with five zones, according to Embraer. The aircraft offers a range of up to 4,600 nm, increased from the previous incarnation of the Lineage at 4,400 nm. To achieve this result, Embraer’s engineers have optimized certain areas of the forward fuselage and reduced weight. The aircraft can fly from Teterboro (New York) to Los Angeles with eight passengers.

Pilots now have at their disposal a new autoland system that allows the aircraft to approach, touch down and roll for five seconds on the autopilot. The system is designed to reduce the number of hard landings in difficult conditions. Embraer is hoping that such enhancements, along with the new EV2S offering, will be a catalyst for increased sales activity; in 2013 it delivered only four of the type, which is the average delivery number since the Lineage’s 2009 entry-into-service.

When AIN visited Embraer’s São José dos Campos facilities in April, a new Lineage 1000E was being rolled off the assembly line for delivery to China’s Minsheng Financial Leasing Corp., the second example of the jet for this customer. New features include electric doors, automatic tables, new finishing options (veneer and stone floor), new bedroom and seats, noise-reduction package and toe-kick lights–all part of an enhanced cabin experience designed by Austrian company List.

Entertainment has also been revisited to bring the latest-generation devices such as wireless iPad and touchscreen controls for every passenger, and fully integrated audio and HD video distribution.

Small Is Beautiful

The light jet family from EEJ, consisting of the Phenom 100 and 300, also comes to EBACE with some enhancements. The Phenom 100E sports a 3-foot 7-inch (1.09 meters) “Oval Lite” cross-section, which offers passengers more space for their legs and arms. Listed at $4.16 million, the Phenom 100E now has 11 new interior options (increased from six) with veneer and new premium seats with full movement (swivel, forward and laterally), as with the Phenom 300’s seats. However, Embraer is not offering existing Phenom operators the chance to retrofit the cabins with the 11 options.

New multi-function spoilers are being offered as an option for the Phenom 100E, for speed reduction in approach and increased drag on landing. Also, a new refreshment center is offered in lieu of the standard wardrobe, and a new stowage compartment is located in the lavatory, on top of the existing cabinet.

Regarding the $8.95 million Phenom 300, enhancements are more to the cockpit that to the cabin interior. Since last October, Embraer has offered Garmin’s Prodigy Touch flight deck as an option. “The Phenom 300 is the first aircraft to fly this avionics suite. We recently delivered the first airplane,” said Salgado. With 60 units delivered in 2013, the Phenom 300 was one of Embraer’s best-selling aircraft.

Last but by no means least is the Legacy 600/650, which also has come to Geneva with a few cabin enhancements. “The Legacy 600/650-size cabin is one of the most important advantages of this aircraft,” noted Salgado. It is thinner than most of its competitors but longer than the Dassault Falcon 2000LX or Bombardier’s Challenger 605 (other two-zone jets), and it is some 9 percent longer than the Gulfstream G450 (three-zone).

The latest interior enhancements include restyled seats, with improved swivel capability, while natural stone flooring is now available. Galleys have been redesigned to offer more storage area.

The Legacy 600/650 aircraft are equipped with Honeywell’s Ovation Select cabin suite, including individual touchscreen controls and iPad app to wirelessly control the CMS (this has now been certificated by Brazil’s ANAC authority, the FAA and EASA).

Customers now receive a fully configured iPad with their aircraft, and apps for iPhone and Android are to follow. The in-flight phone system has worldwide coverage via Iridium and has been improved with one cordless phone in the VIP zone and one corded phone at the conference table. With the correct subscriptions, passengers can have worldwide access to e-mail, Internet (up to 432 kbps) and, of course, Wi-Fi. There is nothing very new in the cockpit, which is equipped with Honeywell Primus Elite avionics.