PICTURES & VIDEO: Embraer achieves Legacy 500 first flight, delays delivery to 2014

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Embraer has pushed back the delivery date for the Legacy 500 even as the airframer announces clearing the first flight milestone for the first mid-size business jet to incorporate fly-by-wire controls.

The 1h45min flight today evaluated handling and performance, including landing gear retraction, Embraer says.

"The flight was a success, precisely according to plan," says Captain Mozart Louzada, an Embraer test pilot.

The event comes after Embraer was forced to consume an extra year of development to overcome problems with the fly-by-wire control system. Embraer and BAE Systems assumed control of the integration effort after subcontractor Parker Aerospace stumbled.

Until today, Embraer still planned to deliver the first Legacy 500 in late 2013, but the schedule has been slightly postponed.

"Deliveries of the first aircraft are expected to begin in 2014," Embraer says in a statement without elaborating. The extension also means a corresponding delay for the slightly smaller Legacy 450, which is scheduled to enter service one year after the Legacy 500.

The new Embraer product will compete in the mid-size private jet market with the future Cessna Latitude and Bombardier Learjet 70/75.

embraer legacy 500 first flight embraer
embraer legacy 500 first flight embraer

Embraer

Embraer expanded its previously limited reach in the business jet market in 2005, and four years later introduced the Phenom 100 and 300 light jets. The company next launched the Legacy 450/500, filling the gap in its product line-up between the Phenom series and business derivatives of its regional jets.

In addition to fly-by-wire, the Legacy 450 and 500 feature Honeywell 7500 turbofan engines and Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics with synthetic vision.

The Legacy 500 was also the first Embraer aircraft to feature a composite fuselage section. The company opened a composite manufacturing facility in Evora, Portugal, earlier this year, which announced delivering the first composite empennage to Embraer earlier today.