Just two weeks after beginning the flight-test campaign for its Legacy 500 midsize business jet, Embraer’s executive jets division arrived at MEBA 2012 with a string of other important milestones behind it.
Embraer Legacy 450
The Embraer Legacy 500 made a “flawless” one-hour 45-minute first flight today from the aircraft manufacturer’s headquarters at Brazil’s São José dos Campos Airport, marking the beginning of the midsize jet’s flight-test program. Embraer test pilots Mozart Louzada and Eduardo Camelier, along with flight-test engineers Gustavo Paixão and Alexandre Figueiredo, flew the fly-by-wire aircraft, performing handling and performance characteristics evaluation.
Embraer’s Legacy 500 program is gathering pace as the new midsize business jet is prepared for its maiden flight.
This week at the NBAA Convention, Embraer Executive Jets is displaying a complete Legacy 450 cabin and cockpit mockup for the first time. The mid-light Legacy 450, which is expected to enter service in 2015, is designed to carry up to nine passengers and have a range of 2,300 nm with four passengers at Mach 0.78. The interior on display, which was designed in partnership with DesignworksUSA, features a stand-up cabin with a flat floor.
When the Embraer announced the launch of its Embraer Executive Jets division in 2005 and its intent to become “a major player” in the crowded world of business jet manufacturing, eyebrows were raised and there was a certain amount of skepticism. After all, the ambitious Brazilian airframer had just unveiled its Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 entry-level and light jets, and its only business jet in service at the time was the Legacy 600, a 16-passenger aircraft derived from its ERJ 135 regional airliner.
Gulfstream’s super midsize G280 business jet, flying under an experimental certificate, landed this morning at Geneva International Airport for its EBACE debut. The aircraft, N280GD, touched down on Runway 25 at 10 a.m. under low-hanging clouds, following a seven-hour, 47-minute flight from Dulles International Airport outside of Washington, D.C.
Embraer’s quest for a complete business jet portfolio took a major step forward in March with the start of taxi tests of Legacy 500 serial number 001 at the Brazilian OEM’s São Jose dos Campos plant.
The first flight of Embraer’s new Legacy 500 has been delayed until the third quarter of this year, due to software problems with its fly-by-wire controls. Nonetheless, the 500 and its shorter-haul, smaller sibling, the Legacy 450, are set to shine as the latest entries in the Brazilian manufacturer’s burgeoning book of business jet offerings, which range from the entry-level Phenom 100 to the uber barge Lineage 1000.
With the award last summer of a $160 million contract to provide avionics for the U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender aerial refueling tanker, Rockwell Collins (Booth Q79) became the primary avionics supplier for all USAF tankers. The U.S. manufacturer recently completed a fleetwide update of systems on the KC-135 Stratotanker, and will provide flight deck displays and other systems on its replacement, the KC-46A.
The Embraer Phenom 500 prototype will not make its maiden flight by year-end as originally scheduled, due to delays stemming from the Parker remote electronic unit software in the aircraft’s fly-by-wire flight-control system.