As Embraer pushes towards first flight of its new Legacy 450 and 500 jets, the airframer is keen to stress the attributes it hopes will make them segment leaders in the years to come.

The feature that Embraer seems proudest of is that both aircraft have closed-loop fly-by-wire.

It claims they are the only aircraft with a purchase price below $45 million to offer the fly-by wire system. Other rivals like the Dassault Falcon 7X, or the Airbus ACJ offer the system, but both are much more expensive.

Although the company has several years of FBW experience, through the development of the AMX fighter and its 170 and 190 regional jets, the Legacys are the first fully fly-by-wire aircraft in Embraer's portfolio.

Legacy 500 production
 © Dominic Perry/Flightglobal

Embraer cites improved safety, comfort and efficiency as key reasons for specifying the fly-by-wire system in the Honeywell HTF7500E-powered aircraft.

The Legacy 450 and 500 offer closed-loop controls on the pitch, yaw and roll axes; in comparison Boeing's 777 airliner has closed-loop only on pitch and the Airbus A320 only on yaw.

Auto throttle on the system provides another safety boost; reducing the stall speed and therefore lowering the required take-off and approach speeds, particularly useful at airports such as London City that have a steep angle of attack.

It also adds 450kg (990lb) to the Legacy 500's payload when operating from London City.

The aircraft are also fitted with a structural integrity monitor: it gives an error message to the pilot following a hard landing and immediately identifies what needs inspecting, rather than having to send data to Embraer for analysis.

Source: Flight Daily News