Snatch a glimpse while you can at the sleek and stylish Embraer Legacy business jet as you wander through the static display park - this is one aircraft that won't be remaining 'static' for long.


The Legacy, which is based on Embraer's ERJ-135 regional jet platform and represents the Brazilian manufacturer's entry into the business jet market, is on a whistle-stop promotion tour of the world during 2002.

A full-size cabin mock-up in a custom-built transporter has been visiting cities across North America since May, with stops scheduled in Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Washington DC and many more.


Supporting that tour at several stops has been the Legacy demonstrator aircraft, which debuted earlier this year at the European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva and can now be viewed at Farnborough. After this show, it heads to the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) exhibition in Orlando in September.

The aircraft was awarded European Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) type certification in early July and Embraer expects US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification before the end of July. Deliveries to European customers began this month.

The most recent order came from Spanish real estate developer Fadesa. It will take delivery of its aircraft in September.

To entice European customers, Embraer is offering a bit of TLC – that's Total Legacy Care – covering scheduled and unscheduled maintenance at a fixed rate for the first five years of operation.

The Legacy should feel right at home at Farnborough as it was at this show in 2000 that the programme was announced. Since then, Embraer has logged 74 firm orders and 94 options from customers on three continents.

The super mid-size, Rolls-Royce powered business jet sells for around $20 million for the 15-seat executive version and about $16 million in the 19-seat shuttle variant. It offers a maximum speed of Mach .80 and range of 3,100nm (5,741km). This would enable it to transport 10 passengers non-stop from London to Riyadh; New York to London; or Singapore to Tokyo.

"This airplane is about value, value, value," says Sam Hill, Embraer executive vice-president for the corporate aviation market. "When you look at the cost of the airplane and the fact that we have 40% more cabin area than others in the same price, this is the best value of any of our competitors."

Hill is particularly proud of the way Embraer has delivered on all its original promises for the aircraft, in some instances improving on performance specifications. "We have come a long way in two years," he notes. "Our word is our bond and we feel very strongly about that. Even though we had some surprises on the weight and range, we have never had to apologise because we have been able to maintain our range while also improving on performance."

While Embraer had originally specified a take-off performance of 1,952m (6,400ft), engineers have been able to pare that down to 1,738m (5,700ft). The significance here is that it brings the Legacy within the key 1,830m (6,000ft) runway length requirement - opening up some 4,000 extra airports around the world and greatly extending Legacy's flexibility as a business tool.


One of Embraer's largest customers for the Legacy is US scheduled-public charter operator Indigo, which provides shuttle services between Chicago and New York. Indigo last year ordered 25 Legacy aircraft, plus options. While that order had to be pushed back because of financing issues in the post 11 September environment, Hill says the order remains in place and is now "moving forward".

Indigo is expected to receive its first Legacy in October, a couple of months behind the original schedule. "They has a short setback and had to go out and find new financing, but that programme is a go," confirms Hill.

Ultimately, Embraer still views the USA as its largest potential market for the Legacy, although Hill admits that the region's slowing economy may dampen sales in the near-term. "Twenty million dollars is a big decision," he points out. But he believes this is where the Legacy's value for those dollars will pay off. "We're expecting a lot of interest to be generated at Farnborough and also on the world tour."

Source: Flight Daily News