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With thirteen other commercial and military aircraft for sale are in the model mix- and a reputation firmly established through regional airlines- Embraer has attracted plenty of interest in the Legacy business jets for sale - its first serious assault on the corporate market.

Dave Higdon   |   1st July 2002
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Dave Higdon Dave Higdon

Dave Higdon writes about aviation from his base in Wichita Kansas. During three decades in...
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Embraer Seeks Suits for Legacy

With thirteen other commercial and military aircraft for sale are in the model mix- and a reputation firmly established through regional airlines- Embraer has attracted plenty of interest in the Legacy business jets for sale - its first serious assault on the corporate market.

It wasn’t an NBAA where the pride of Brazil’s aerospace industry first showed me its latest project – a new mid-size business jet. Instead Embraer officials gave me my first tour of their ambitious undertaking at a Regional Airline Association convention.

Regional airlines give the Brazilian airframe maker the bulk of its exposure in North America- thanks to the efficiency-based popularity of the company’s regional airliners. Embraer- as much as any other regional-airline supplier- enjoys a reputation for making airplanes that do the job- a reputation that dates back to the EMB-110 Bandierante - a twin-turboprop 19-seater.

While reasonably popular- the Bandierante’s lack of pressurization limited its appeal among North American regional airlines – despite reasonable speed and fuel efficiency- along with a highly competitive price and operating costs.

It fell to the more-sophisticated Embraer Brasilia regional jet for sale to really earn respect for the Brazilian planemaker. Rakishly good looking- a T-tail- steeply sloped nose section and artfully arched scimitar props gave this PW-100-powered propjet looks that matched its speed: A scorching 300 knots in cruise - the fastest of its pack. It was a competitive pack - at that- a field of 30- to 35-seat propjets that included the Saab 340 and de Havilland Dash 8-100.

Some complained that the Embraer Brasilia for sale was too small and confining. But the operators didn’t complain about the size when the speed gave them two and sometimes three additional segments daily at fuel costs equal to some other airplanes flying two and three fewer segments.

Embraer’s reputation earned another significant boost when the first EMB-145 regional jet aircraft for sale entered service in December 1996.

With a fuselage similar to the Brasilia’s- the EMB-145 boasted an unusual seating arrangement that operators love to brag about to passengers: 66 percent on a window- 66 percent on an aisle. As of a few weeks ago- 600 EMB-145s had been delivered.

The company evolved that same platform into the smaller EMB-135- which underwent further alteration to become the Legacy business jet aircraft for sale – the only corporate model from a company with 13 other commercial and military models in the model mix.

In an acknowledgement to the diversity of corporation needs- however- Embraer offers the Legacy in two versions: The Legacy Shuttle that closely approximates the EMB-135 airliner- and the Legacy Executive- which boasts differences in weights and equipment befitting any aircraft working in the service of business aviation.

Launched in July of 2000- the Embraer Legacy jet aircraft for sale has proceeded relatively quickly through its development cycle. For example- only a few months after it was launched- the Legacy made its maiden flight from the company’s plant in San Jose dos Campos.

The first Legacy test model was modified to allow it to execute primarily flight handling and quality characteristics and was then joined by the second test bed on March 31st of 2001- this time a full-fledged dedicated Legacy prototype.

The first production Embraer Legacy will further bolster the flight evaluation and test program in the following weeks. That aircraft is being employed primarily towards certification of the main cabin interior configuration.

Airliner-to-business jet

Until a few years ago- the success rate of airliners converted to business aircraft was- well- at best a lousy percentage. Regional planemakers tried it before – including Embraer. But those 1980s efforts seemed to lack the sincerity that is credited for making Boeing Business Jet for sale the exception that changed the rule. Boeing- in partnership with engine maker GE- formed a unit devoted to marketing the airplane – built from a specially prepared 737 airframe.

While Embraer has only formed its own internal organization to support marketing of the Legacy- the company has treated the EMB-135 airframe to the sort of changes that differentiate the airplane from the airline configuration. In fact- in many ways- it’s a different airplane.

The basic EMB-135 airframe was subjected to considerable modification to become the new Legacy business jet aircraft for sale- including winglets and fuselage strakes- underbelly and cargo compartment tanks- higher-rated turbofan engines- a new fuel system- an entirely new main cabin and a state-of-the-art avionics suite - among other changes.

These alterations helped Embraer improve on the airframe’s maximum operating speed when compared to the original airliner.

The reward for attending to the details is an order book with 73 firm orders and options for 94 more- as of an early June check with the company. As you’ll see- many factors support the success of the Legacy as it progresses through the development program. Top among them is value – the amount of airplanes for sale available for the dollar.

Running with the big wings

At a gross weight of more than 49-000 pounds – and with a cabin commensurate with that weight – the Legacy stands wingtip-to-wingtip with established business jets like Dassault’s 900-series Falcons- Bombardier’s Challenger SE and Gulfstream GIV-SP business jet aircraft for sale.

Stretching a massive 43 feet in length- the Legacy cabin offers comfortable travel thanks to a cabin height of 6 feet and a maximum width of 6.8 feet. Certainly not a compact business jet -unless you look at the bottom line. At an NBAA-equipped price of around $20 million- the cost of a Legacy falls closer to the G200 Gulfstream- Falcon 50EX and Cessna Citation X airplanes for sale – all jets considerably smaller than the Brazilian.

In fact- at about 1-400 cubic feet of cabin space- the Legacy is exceeded only by the GIV-SP – and the price differential is about 50 percent. If you make payload for the buck your standard- the Legacy tops its class- at just over 6-000 pounds. Only where pure range for the dollar is the frame of reference do other models start to nibble away at the Legacy’s value equation. All but one of the longer-legged jets cost millions more to buy – plus the ongoing difference in direct operating costs.

Overall- the size and payload numbers make the Legacy a very attractive option; range wise- it’s still a contender when you consider that the average business jet’s mean leg is well below 1-000 miles. And where standard equipment is concerned- many knowledgeable sources consider the Legacy to be far above standard.

Embraer keeps down Legacy runway needs

Credit the engines for much of the Legacy’s efficiency. Embraer selected Rolls-Royce’s proven AE 3007-A1E powerplants- each developing 7-935 pounds of thrust at temperatures up to 22 degrees Celsius above standard. The high ISA allowance helps the Legacy keep its runway performance competitive as density altitude increases.

The power of those Rolls-Royce powerplants and the efficiency of the Legacy’s 69-foot wing – complete with efficiency-boosting winglets – help keep runway requirements low- regardless of the mission.

For example- the Legacy needs less than 4-000 feet of runway when fueled for a 1-000-nautical trip and carrying four passengers. With a top cruise speed of 455 knots true- the Legacy can turn in a block time on this trip of just 2:36 and just 5-320 pounds of fuel. Not shabby for a jet of this size- given that other jets for sale of its cabin size need 1-000 pounds more to cover the same distance. Yet a leg of 1-000 nautical miles is far from the Legacy’s maximum reach.

The Legacy’s performance offerings include a maximum range of 3-200nm with full fuel- 10 people and their luggage. That’s a leg long enough to fly non-stop between Washington- D.C. and Paris or London- even the opera capital of the Legacy’s home country- Manaus on the Amazon.

From London- the Legacy can make New York City if the winds are only slightly lighter than normal; otherwise- anywhere in New England. Destinations as diverse as Gander and Lagos also fall within reach of a Legacy departing London. Not the longest legged of the fleet – but more than capable of delivering in a world where maximum-range flights remain the exception – regardless of the category of business jet you examine.

Getting there- dependably

Embraer elected to use Honeywell’s state-of-the-art Primus 1000 avionics set to provide Legacy pilots with the most complete package of information and situational awareness- and a minimum workload.

The full glass cockpit includes dual flight management systems (FMS) with IFR GPS; Laseref Inertial heading reference system; TCAS II collision-avoidance equipment; advanced Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System gear (EGPWS); weather radar with turbulence detection; satellite communications equipment; and Reduced Vertical Separation Standard Minimum (RVSM) capability.

The flight-deck design puts no less than five full-color liquid-crystal displays in the panel- two in front of each panel plus one in the center-panel space. The center-panel unit serves as the master Engine Instrument and Crew Alerting System (EICAS) display- providing graphical and numerical references simultaneously.

The two in front of the pilots serve as Primary Flight Display (PFD) and Multifunction Display (MFD); functions can be exchanged in the unlikely event that one of these solid-state wonders fails.

All information needed to navigate and monitor air and attitude data shows up on these two screens- so the reliability and interchangeability was paramount to Embraer’s designers.

Service and support are also easy to access- thanks to Honeywell’s broad presence in the market and the proliferation of its Primus hardware in business aviation.

Proceeding toward U.S. certification

The timing of this feature could hardly be tougher- given that Embraer expected certification of the Legacy by the end of June – and the deadline for this article was the first week of that month.

Circumstances following the September 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. conspired to wrinkle Embraer’s business plans- as those events did to virtually every planemaker on the planet. Despite setbacks and layoffs in Brazil- however- the company earned Brazilian certification in December; by the end of May- three units were already in the hands of operators in Brazil.

First-quarter certification plans in the U.S. had to slip only one quarter- as of the most recent word from the company. The imminence of U.S. certification also helped buoy the jet’s acceptance when it appeared at the EBACE convention in May.

And the queue will likely continue to grow given the economic uncertainties of the moment. As one analyst noted recently- “When times get tough- the tough companies don’t dump assets like business jets for sale – they just dump high-dollar models for higher-value hardware.”

Given the value represented by the $20 million Legacy – top-of-the-field size- competitive speed and superior sophistication – the likelihood of its order book shrinking is small. Once again- business aircraft owners will benefit from using an aircraft built on the proven abilities and strong support of an airliner. If a couple of other contenders succeed- the Legacy won’t be the last.

• More information from Embraer: Website: www.embraer.com;

Read more about: Embraer

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