Embraer to unveil improvements across business jet platforms

Washington DC
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Embraer will unveil several improvements to its midsize Legacy 500 and mid-light Legacy 450 business jets on 21 October, at the NBAA Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Las Vegas.

The Brazilian airframer will also reveal enhanced versions of its entry-level Phenom 100 and ultra-large Lineage 1000, it says, as well as displaying its full business jet line-up at the annual industry gathering.

During a 25 September briefing, Embraer remained tight-lipped about the enhancements to the jets. But it said it is still aiming for certification and service entry of the eight-passenger Legacy 500 in the first half of 2014 – over a year later than originally planned, due to software glitches with the aircraft’s fly-by-wire control system.

Three Legacy 500 prototypes have logged more than 650h in the air since the first aircraft made its maiden flight on November 2012. A fourth, production-conforming aircraft – equipped with a full interior – is in final assembly, and will be used by Embraer as a customer demonstrator.

The Legacy 500 systems have logged more than 16,000h of testing, says Embraer. This includes 4,500h on the iron bird test rig located at Embraer’s Eugênio de Melo engineering facility in São José dos Campos, Brazil, which the airframer is using to validate the aircraft’s avionics and flight controls, as well as electric and hydraulic rigs.

Brazil’s civil aviation authority ANAC has been fully involved in the certification process, and in the past month the US Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Administration have all undergone familiarisation flights on the first Legacy 500 prototype, says flight test pilot Capt Eduardo Camelier.

"They left Brazil really happy with what they saw," adds Camelier. A follow-up review by the FAA and EASA is expected later this year or in early 2014, he says, where the authorities could ask for additional data on certain test points.

Meanwhile, first flight of the Legacy 450 is on track for year-end. Embraer says it will fly two prototypes of the twinjet – the first of which entered final assembly in September. Certification and service entry of the seven-passenger aircraft is earmarked for 2015.