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PICTURES: E195-E2 makes first flight in normal fly-by-wire mode

Launching a two-year flight test campaign for Brazil’s largest commercial aircraft in history, Embraer completed a 2h-long first flight of the E195-E2 test aircraft in Sao Jose dos Campos on 29 March with the regional jet’s fly-by-wire system engaged in normal mode for the duration, senior vice-president and chief operating officer Luis Carlos Affonso tells FlightGlobal in an interview.

As the fifth Embraer model with a full fly-by-wire control system, the E195-E2 became the first of the company’s products to engage the full suite of flight envelope protections enabled in normal mode on the first flight.

“It is a good achievement for the fly-by-wire system, as well as the airframe,” Affonso says.

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The initial flight test also accomplished the routine objectives of a maiden sortie for a commercial aircraft, including the examining of how the aircraft handles in all six flap positions and in landing approach configuration, he says. Embraer’s test pilots delivered the verdict that Affonso had hoped to hear.

“They reported the E195-E2 flies exactly the same way as the E190,” Affonso says.

The E195-E2 shares the same Pratt & Whitney PW1900G geared turbofan engines installed on the smaller E190-E2, which achieved first flight 10 months ago. But it features an even longer fuselage, which was stretched by three rows of seats beyond the E195-E1 standard, as well as a tweak to the outer wing. The combination of changes should allow the E195-E2 to carry up to 146 passengers in high-density configuration at distances up to 2,400nm.

Perhaps the most notable achievement of the first flight event was the timing. Embraer had originally planned to start flying the E195-E2 in the second half of this year, but announced in early March that the schedule had advanced by three to nine months. Despite the head-start on flight tests, the entry into service schedule remains unchanged in 2019, Affonso says.

The two-year flight test campaign will allow Embraer to deliver a mature and reliable aircraft at entry into service to launch operator Azul, Affonso says.

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Two months after Embraer completed first flight of the E190-E2 last year, the company dispatched the prototype to the Farnborough air show to make a surprise debut. The company now has almost three months to prepare the E195-E2 for a similar appearance at the Paris air show in June. But Embraer won’t confirm the E195-E2’s presence for the Paris event until around May, says John Slattery, president and chief executive of Embraer’s commercial aircraft division.

“Luis Carlos and I would love,” Slattery adds, “to bring that aircraft to Le Bourget.”

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