Loading please wait....

If you are a registered, please log in. If not, please click here to register.


The balance of power in the business jet manufacturing industry seems likely to shift in the coming months as Embraer comes on line with the first of four new business aircraft it currently has in development. Embraer’s Phenom 100 was scheduled to have been certified in the next month- and the company was planning on delivering as many as 10 of them before the end of the year. Embraer has begun building the first production ...

Mike Potts   |   1st December 2008
Back to articles
Mike Potts Mike Potts

Mike Potts is a writer and consultant who has been involved in aviation for more than 30 years....
Read More

Embraer Market Overview

Growing a family in less than a decade.

The balance of power in the business jet manufacturing industry seems likely to shift in the coming months as Embraer comes on line with the first of four new business aircraft it currently has in development. Embraer’s Phenom 100 was scheduled to have been certified in the next month- and the company was planning on delivering as many as 10 of them before the end of the year.

Embraer has begun building the first production Phenom 100s at its facilities in Botucatu and Gavião Peixoto which will be the final assembly and completion location initially. In a briefing prior to the NBAA Convention in October addressing the company’s emerging business aircraft product line- Cláudio Galdo Camelier- Embraer’s Market Intelligence Vice President for executive jets- outlined Embraer’s ambitious production plans.

Camelier said the company plans to build a total of 120 to 150 Phenom 100s and Phenom 300s in 2009. Most of these will be Phenom 100s- since the 300 is not scheduled for certification until the second half of 2009- and initial Phenom 300 production is projected to be similar to what the 100 will achieve this year.

That means the Phenom 100- in its first full year in the market- will almost surely outsell the individual product lines of every other jet manufacturer except- perhaps- Eclipse (assuming things pick up for the VLJ pioneer). In other words- it will probably debut in its first full year as the largest selling business jet in the world.

What is perhaps most remarkable about the Phenom 100 is that it will arrive in the market on schedule- in the timeframe Embraer had forecast when the program was first announced. Moreover- the company says the Phenom 100 will arrive in the market fully certified- including approval for flight into known icing- when the first airplane delivers. This is an incredible achievement that speaks volumes about the maturity- discipline and organization of Embraer.

The company notes that it has made extensive use of computer aided design- employing CATIA 5.0 in engineering both the Phenom 100 and 300- as well as the Legacy 450 and 500 models that are also currently in development.

During its program briefing- Embraer gave a graphic demonstration of CATIA’s capabilities- snaking a control cable pulley and its associated bracketry into a wing structure to demonstrate that it will fit. Computer aided design has certainly helped Embraer bring the 100 to the market on time- but plenty of other well established companies have seen their new aircraft development schedules slip by months- and even years in spite of the help of computers.

Embraer says it has invested more than $100 million in facilities- tooling and employee development to get ready for Phenom production. As part of this investment- Embraer will use robotics to help assemble the Phenoms – a first in business aviation manufacturing for this class of airplane.

To make sure the certification program is complete when production gets underway- Embraer has been flying four Phenom 100 prototypes. As of this writing- the program had accumulated more than 1-100 flight hours out of a projected 1-200 expected for certification. In addition static testing of the wing structure was complete.

Embraer says it will have the capacity to build up to 17 Phenom 100s and five Phenom 300s per month in Brazil. The first production Phenom 100 fuselages are now on the assembly line in Gavião Peixoto- as mentioned above- and the company is building a production line and delivery center in Melbourne- Florida- which will serve Phenom customers in the North American market. The Phenom aircraft destined for the North American market will be assembled and painted there.

Embraer says it has a backlog of more than 800 firm orders from more than 44 countries for the Phenom 100 and 300- so it shouldn’t have any trouble delivering airplanes at a rate of 150 or more per year- as long as the market continues to hold up.

With the current financial turmoil that has erupted in the past three months- the future of the business jet market is potentially cloudy… although the most recent Honeywell forecast says the long-term outlook is still strong. If Embraer can provide some of its own financing- that may help hold its backlog together since much of the financial problems currently in the news are related to credit and its continuing availability.

Flight testing on the Phenom 300 is also proceeding well- with two prototype aircraft flying and a third in final assembly at time of print. Like the Phenom 100- the Phenom 300 is on schedule- according to Embraer. There is a tendency to think of these two airplanes as being very similar- perhaps because their development schedules seem to be moving in parallel and they share similar names. This is- however- incorrect.

The wing structure of the two airplanes is very different- with the Phenom 100 having a straight wing and the Phenom 300 having a swept wing and winglets. The Phenom 300 has a longer cabin- although the two aircraft do share the same cabin cross section. Their flight decks are similar- too- both being fitted with Garmin Prodigy systems based on the company’s G1000 panel.

The Phenom 100 won’t be the only Embraer business jet to debut this year. The company also expects to deliver as many as two of its Lineage 1000 models- which are based on the company’s EMBRAER 190 regional airliners. Embraer will join Boeing and Airbus in the market for airliners configured as business jets. The Lineage 1000 will be equipped with Rockwell Collins’ new Heads-Up Guidance System and Kollsman Enhanced Vision System- besides the Honeywell Primus epic avionics.

The Lineage 1000 and Phenom 100 will join Embraer’s current business jet- the super mid-size Legacy 600- which is expected to account for 30 to 35 deliveries this year. This will transform Embraer into a much more significant player in the business aviation arena.

The addition of the Phenom 300 next year will add further to Embraer’s market position- and there is still more to come. Earlier this year Embraer announced two more new business jets- the mid-size Legacy 500 and the mid-light Legacy 450.

Both of these new aircraft will share 6’ stand-up cabins- fly-by-wire technology and Rockwell Collins’ Pro Line Fusion avionics systems with optional Heads-Up Display and Enhanced Visions Systems. Both will be powered by Honeywell HTF7500E engines.

The Legacy 500 is designed around a 3-000nm mission with four passengers or 2-800nm with eight passengers. It is expected to compete with the Gulfstream G200- Bombardier Challenger 300- Citation Sovereign and Citation X- and the Learjet 85.

The 450- meantime- targets a 2-300nm mission with four passengers or 2-200nm with eight aboard. It is expected to compete with the Hawker 900XP and 850XP- the Gulfstream G150- the Citation XLS and the Learjets 60XR and 45XR. Against these competitors- both the Legacy 450 and the 500 would have the largest cabins in their respective classes.

Based on preliminary design goals- both the Legacy 450 and 500 will cruise at a speed of Mach 0.82 and operate up to FL450 with a maximum payload of 2-800 lbs. Each is designed to carry 1-600 lbs of payload with full fuel on board. The Legacy 500 will be able to operate from a 4-600 foot runway at maximum takeoff weight at sea level- while the 450 will be able to depart from a 4-000-foot runway in the same conditions.

The Legacy 500 is scheduled to begin flying in mid-2011- with certification and first deliveries targeted for the second half of 2012- and the Legacy 450 is on a comparable schedule but a year later. Based on their record so far- it seems reasonable to assume Embraer will achieve these target schedules.

Embraer says its goal is to become “a major player in the business aviation market by 2015.” If the company is successful in executing its announced plans- it will have transformed itself from a single-product company to an organization with a family of aircraft with entries in six distinct market segments in less than a decade. From this standpoint- that looks like a huge success.

More information from www.embraerexecutivejets.com

Related Articles

linkedin Print

Other Articles