Embraer has established industry-leading risk reduction projects for the Legacy 500 midsize business jet cabin while it works to solve complex fly-by-wire (FBW) issues in the cockpit.
Ernest Edwards, president of Embraer Executive Jets, says the development team has completed two operational cycles of a full cabin mock-up for its Legacy 500 business jet, a risk reduction tactic he says has not been used before to this extent in the corporate jet sector.
Edwards says the mock flights used industrial engineers seated in the Legacy 500 test cabin for several five-hour simulated flights, complete with food and beverages, "so they can start looking around to see where to make improvements". Edwards says flight attendants have also been tapped to test the wet bar, a feature he says is not available on other midsize business jets.
The Legacy 500 and Legacy 450 interiors are being designed by BMW Designworks USA, the company that also developed the cockpits and interiors for Embraer's Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 light jets. The smaller Legacy 450 is scheduled to enter service one year behind the Legacy 500.
"We've already gone through two iterations and we're really pleased we've done it," says Edwards of the mock flights.
The company expects to complete first flight of the Honeywell HTF7500E-powered, FBW twinjet in the third quarter, with certification and entry into service targeted for the fourth quarter of 2013 or early 2014.
The date is one year behind initial targets due largely to problems with the FBW development. In November 2011, Embraer revealed that there were software issues related to the remote electronics units provided by Parker Aerospace. Since that time, the company has had its engineers working more closely with Parker and with BAE Systems, provider of the flight control computer and associated software, says Edwards.
"You don't know if the problems you saw are behind you until you test it," he says, referring to testing of the actual FBW hardware and software on the production conforming aircraft, rather than on the company's "Iron bird" simulator, the site of more than 2000h of testing since November 2010.
"We still have some challenges ahead," Edwards says. "Technology can surprise you."