With the stroke of a pen on 21 October, an FAA official cleared the Embraer Legacy 500 jet for flights over US soil.
“It was a long journey started in 2006 when the company decided to launch the Legacy 450 and 500,” says Marco Tulio Pellegrini head of Embraer executive jets. “We are very, very pleased to have achieved this milestone.”
The aircraft received Brazilian certification two months ago and has been delivered to a Brazilian launch customer. To achieve FAA certification so soon after native flight clearance is unusual if not unheard of, says John Hickey, deputy associate administrator of aviation safety for the FAA.
The Legacy 500’s clean-sheet design is the first midsize business jet with a 6ft (1.83m) flat-floor cabin and fly-by-wire flight controls. It “redefined the segment” of jets at the $20 million price point, Pellegrini says. The signing at NBAA means the jet is officially cleared to fly in US airspace.
Hickey was effusive in his praise of Embraer’s having brought an aircraft from drawing board to certification so swiftly.
“Designing an airplane and going through all the steps it takes to get to certification is not an easy process,” he says. “That’s why there aren’t a lot of companies in this business that can do that. Embraer is one of the best companies in this business.”