Embraer has started steep-approach trials of its 190 twin-jet at London City but is confident of the type's performance, having already conducted sea-level testing in northern Brazil.

It expects to conduct around 30 approaches at City - during the early morning and early afternoon off-peak periods - with a view to obtaining certification in the fourth quarter of this year.

The Embraer 190 requires no physical modification to perform the approach. Its cockpit has a simple switch which commands the number 4 and 5 outer wing spoilers to offset slightly while the control column is in a neutral position, creating the drag required to increase the rate of descent.

Speaking during a briefing at London City today, Embraer vice-president for airline market intelligence Luiz Sergio Chiessi said the airframer had already tested the jet with some 50 approaches at Macapa, northern Brazil, where the sea-level location provides similar conditions to those in London.

"They showed us that everything was fine - so we didn't expect any surprises," he says.

Embraer 190 LCY

He says the tests were carried out before it reached its agreement to supply five 190s to British Airways CityFlyer, underpinning its confidence that the type would easily adapt to London City services. CityFlyer is taking the 190s from March next year but will also introduce six Embraer 170s from September.

While the Embraers can be fitted with head-up displays, CityFlyer managing director Peter Simpson says the carrier has not requested installation on its fleet.

Part of the current London City testing regime for the 190 includes ground manoeuvring. At 36.2m (118.9ft) the jet is longer than the Bombardier Q400, but its wing span is less than the Fokker 50's. Its vertical fin is much taller, however, than current types operating to City.

London City Airport chief Richard Gooding says, however, the tests have indicated that the aircraft is compatible with its stands.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news