Embraer Firms Up E2 Cabin Design

Farnborough Air Show » 2014
July 11, 2014, 6:20 AM

Embraer is unveiling its cabin interior for the new -E2 version of its established regional-jet series, which are marketed generically as E-Jets, here at the Farnborough Airshow this week. Maintaining the same four-abreast fuselage cross section, the -E2 models are principally re-engined variants of the E175, 190 and 195 powered by Pratt & Whitney geared turbofans–the PW1700G on the E175 and the larger PW1900G on the heavier E190 and E195.

The PW1700G is very similar to the PW1200G being developed for Japan’s Mitsubishi MRJ, while the PW1900G is close to the PW1500G approved for the Bombardier C Series. Further E2 changes are new high-aspect-ratio wings with increased span and raked tips, longer landing gear to accommodate fatter under-wing engine nacelles, Honeywell Epic 2 avionics and Moog digital flying controls. The stretched E175-E2 and E195-E2 match the range of the equivalent “E1” models, but the E190-E2 sports a range increased by 450 nm.

Embraer believes that the volume of passengers’ checked baggage could be reduced by as much as a third following its introduction of larger overhead bins designed to accommodate one small roller-bag per traveler. Ahead of the public unveiling at Farnborough, the manufacturer previously displayed an E2 cabin mockup at its Fort Lauderdale marketing center in Florida.

Paolo Cesar de Souza e Silva, Embraer Commercial Aviation president and chief executive, confirms that the Brazilian company does not want to compete against Airbus and Boeing in the mainstream 150-seat market. It aims instead to enable operators to “right size” their equipment to match local market capacity and timetable requirements. The manufacturer chose deliberately to re-engine and develop its current family rather than build a new 130- to 150-seat design but, nevertheless, in a high-density single-class configuration, the planned E195-E2 can be laid out for up to 144 passengers–competing directly against standard Airbus A319/A320s and Boeing 737-700s.

Silva says Embraer (Chalet A25 Outdoor Exhibit 6) is talking to “a good number” of airlines but, with a firm-order backlog covering 400 aircraft, he declined to indicate how much additional E-Jet/E2 production is accounted for by memoranda of understanding, letters of intent or other “soft” bookings. Asked about the E190-E2, which Embraer cites as a “new market developer,” Silva identified opportunities in Latin America, specifically naming Brazil as the third largest market with “a lot of room to grow” as more and more airports are built.

Right Sizing

China also is a “huge” market in which the E190/195-E2 could be used to open new routes or “right size” markets. The E190/195 series also could be used to address low-cost carriers’ longer routes in Asia, where many markets are too small for larger aircraft, but Embraer is not yet ready to address that demand, according to the official.

In North America, Silva sees continuing demand for current Embraer models to be satisfied before the E2 series becomes available. Citing “a huge need” to replace 50-passenger regional-jets and older 70-seat aircraft in the U.S., he suggested that “another 300 aircraft” such as the E175 might be needed in the period up to 2018/2019.

During year, a good one for Embraer commercial aircraft bookings, the Brazilian manufacturer took E175 orders from American Airlines and United Continental, and from SkyWest for both E175s and E175-E2s. On the E-Jet family’s potential for use in air cargo operations, Paolo said Embraer has “no firm plans” to address the market; it has launched market assessments, but has made no decision.

Advent of the evolved E2 models has overtaken any plans for an E190/195 product improvement package after the style of that developed for the smaller E175. The market for an improved aircraft] has been “so dynamic,” according to Silva, that Embraer moved directly on to the E2, for which the E190 sub-variant is to be the first to enter service. A performance improvement package would not have come along before 2016, by which time E190-E2 availability would be only two years away, explained the official.

The E2 offers a limited amount of production commonality for Embraer principally because the fuselage cross section is unchanged. However, the new wing and landing gear means there will have to be some new tooling. Silva described as a “big challenge” a more than two-year transition period during which production of current E-Jet and new E2 variants will overlap.

After concluding concept studies in May, Embraer started preliminary studies (including aerodynamic wind tunnel tests) of the 88-passenger E175-E2, which it expects to enter service in 2020. The E175-E2 introduces an extra seat row and will have wings and engines “optimized for [its] size, distinctly different from the configuration that was adopted for the E190-E2 and E195-E2,” said the manufacturer.

At the end of May, Embraer’s preliminary design review of the E190-E2 completed joint definition (including wind-tunnel testing) for the 106-passenger model, which is scheduled to introduce -E2 commercial operations before July 2018. E190-E2 development is continuing with the critical design review to validate product maturity ahead of prototype production. Embraer has “flown” the aircraft through virtual simulations to evaluate flight characteristics and accrue virtual flight time well before the actual first flight. Simultaneously, the 132-seat E195-E2 entered joint definition; it is due to enter service in 2019.

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