Embraer is to begin series production of the Phenom 100 next month as the Brazilian airframer advances towards certification and first deliveries of the very light jet in the third quarter.
Its manufacturing facility in Botucatu, 230km (143 miles) east of Sao Paulo, is gearing up to manufacture the Phenom's wing and fuselage at a rate of six aircraft a month by year-end. The parts will then be shipped 160km by road to the Phenom final assembly and flight testing facility at Gaviao Peixoto.
"We are building a 5,000m² hangar which will be dedicated to Phenom fuselage manufacture and we will build the fuselage for the Phenom 100 and 300 light jet in the existing hangar," says Almir Borges, director of the Botucatu facility. "Our aim is to build the major components for 22 aircraft a month by the end of 2009."
Meanwhile, the fourth Phenom 100 test aircraft is being readied for its maiden flight in the coming weeks, kick-starting the aircraft's maturity programme.
The Phenom 100 test-flight programme has so far chalked up more than 400 flight-test hours of the 1,200 needed to complete the campaign. A further 600h will be devoted to the maturity programme, says Embraer. Icing tests are due to begin in the northern USA next month.
"The aircraft has met all the performance numbers we promised," says Luis Carlos Affonso, Embraer´s executive vice-president, executive jets, "and we are on course to receive US and Brazilian certification in August early September."
The first $2.95 million aircraft will be delivered to a private US customer soon after that. European approval is scheduled for around April 2009.
"The aircraft will be priced at $3.05 million due to the extra equipment needed for certification - a second DME [distance measuring equipment] and weather radar," says Affonso.
Embraer plans to deliver up to 15 Phenom 100s this year and up to 150 next year, pending the service-entry Phenom 300 in the second half, and more than 200 aircraft in 2010.
The Phenom 300 is being prepared for its first flight at the end of the second quarter. In Gaviao Peixoto, Embraer has completed wing and fuselage mating, attached the aircraft's Pratt & Whitney 535E engines and carried out electrical power on tests.