LABACE: Embraer unveils Phenom 100 upgrades

Washington DC
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This story is sourced from Flight International
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Five years after the Phenom 100 jet entered service, Embraer has unveiled the first major upgrade package for the entry-level jet, adding an inboard, multi-function ground spoiler and speed brake, as well as several interior improvements.

The addition of the spoiler gives the Phenom 100 a feature previously reserved for the larger Phenom 300, but is not expected to affect the company's ongoing initiative to receive a common type rating for both aircraft.

Embraer displayed the first Phenom 100 equipped with the new flight control surface during the LABACE convention at Sao Paulo's Congonhas airport, where the longest runway is a relatively short 1,940m (6,360ft).

Safety concerns originally pushed Embraer to test a ground spoiler three years ago. In two incidents ultimately attributed to pilot error, the aircraft's brake-by-wire system failed to stop the Phenom 100s from overrunning the runway.

But a survey of Phenom 100 operators found that a ground spoiler was deemed less important than a speed brake, so Embraer decided to combine the functions into a single device.

The ground spoiler works by increasing drag and dumping lift after landing. The speed break is activated to increase the aircraft's sink rate on approach.

Although it improves the aircraft's performance on small runways, Embraer is not offering the system with a performance credit. At the same time, the combined spoiler and speed brake will be installed as a standard feature with no extra cost for Phenom 100s delivered in 2013. The company has not yet set prices for 2014 aircraft models.

Embraer is also rolling out a collection of 11 new interior themes, with each replacing composite laminates with wood veneers. Another upgrade replaces the fixed club seating in the cabin with three moving chairs. The fourth chair remains fixed because it is located beneath the cabin's emergency exit door.

The Phenom 100 upgrades appear only a few months after Embraer rolled out improvements to the Phenom 300, including touchscreen displays on the Garmin G3000-based Prodigy flightdeck and increased take-off and zero fuel weights.

Embraer is continuing an effort to obtain a common type rating for both aircraft. A flight test was conducted in early August in front of a combined team of regulators representing the European Aviation Safety Agency, US Federal Aviation Administration and Brazil's national airworthiness authority (ANAC). Embraer's application for the common type rating is now under review, but the company hopes to have it approved by the end of this year.