How to Refurbish an Embraer Legacy 500 In Style

Adding several feathers to its cap, F/LIST recently refurbished a pre-owned Embraer Legacy 500 cabin for a client, managing every part of the process in-house. Matt Harris spoke to the Austria-based company to learn how they did it…

Matt Harris  |  02nd September 2020
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    Matt Harris
    Matt Harris

    Matt Harris is Commissioning Editor for AvBuyer. He is an experienced General and Business Aviation...

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    Embraer Legacy 500 refurbished main cabin viewed from the aft

    Towards the end of Summer 2019, F/LIST received a call from a prospective customer who was looking to buy a pre-owned Embraer Legacy 500 jet. The customer wanted to discuss the cost of a refurbishment. Here's the story that ensued...

    Having previously owned several smaller aircraft, this acquisition represented his first foray into Mid-Size Jet ownership. After initial discussions over budget and some of the potential complexities of a larger cabin refurbishment, the customer identified the specific aircraft he wanted, and the planning process began.

    This Project was Personal…

    The customer visited F/LIST’s Austrian headquarters to select materials and discuss his specific needs, and in this instance it was important that they had an interior that completely matched their taste and style. Although a business-owner, the jet had been purchased primarily for their own private travel.

    “This project was really all about creating a look and feel exactly to the customer’s wishes,” Markus Schröcker, Business Development & Sales Aftermarket, OEM Worldwide told AvBuyer. “He had a very clear picture in mind, and it was all about finding and combining the right materials.”

    Fortunately for the client, he had chosen a well-qualified center. F/LIST knew the aircraft well having built the cabinets and flooring for that same jet when it was new in 2015 (as it does for all Legacy 500s rolling off the Embraer production line).

    At one point during the planning process, the client wasn’t keen on the shade of the wood sapele on his newly acquired aircraft, though he liked the texture. 

    Instead of removing the materials and starting from scratch, F/LIST prepared three different samples with different depths of the same shade. From those, the client selected the one they liked helping ensure it was only necessary to remove the varnish from the existing wood, stain it to the appropriate color, and re-varnish with a high gloss.

    With the Legacy 500 still being quite a new aircraft, this project also represented the first time the company had been asked to refurbish one.

    “It is always special for us when we can be part of an aircraft’s life cycle more than once,” Schröcker added. If the results of this project are anything to go by, it is unlikely to be the only Legacy 500 the company becomes reacquainted with.

    Cabin Walk-Around

    Boarding the aircraft passengers find themselves in the entryway/galley area, and step on to a real granite stone floor with a brushed finish (more on this later). Samples of the re-stained, high gloss wood cabinetry lay directly ahead in the galley area, with more of the same granite stone material used on the galley work surfaces.

    The plating details in the galley and throughout the aircraft are the same as were in the original interior since these were in excellent condition.

    Turning right into the main cabin there are six single seats – four to the front (two front-facing, and two rear-facing), and two to the aft (one front-facing and one rear-facing). Each has been re-covered in a light grey/taupe leather, and exhibits an impressive diamond stitching effect.

    “We provided three different samples of the diamond stitching to our client and he chose the one you see here,” Schröcker notes. “He liked the sporty look and feel it gives.” Between each set of seats is a table matching the same stain and gloss varnished finish as the cabinetry in the galley.

    Opposite the two seats to the aft of the cabin, on the right is a divan in a matching light grey/taupe shade to the seats, but instead of using leather the divan is covered in a bold, woven-effect fabric.

    Meanwhile, running throughout the main cabin is a carpet made from a wool and silk combination, and rising up from the side of the floor on each side of the cabin the lower side panels have been re-upholstered in a dark grey leather. For contrast, the upper side walls and headliner sport an almost white ultra-leather covering.

    Stepping beyond the main cabin and into the restroom, the look matches the galley area with the same real granite stone floor. This granite flooring was developed by F/LIST as an alternative to existing flooring solutions and carpets, and is designed to be extremely durable in the high-traffic areas of the interior.

    It would be fair to say the flooring has been a success. Easy to retrofit as part of a cabin refurbishment, at least 500 have been manufactured to date, and F/LIST supplies them to Bombardier (for all aircraft types), Gulfstream (for all aircraft types), Dassault for the Falcon 7X and 8X, and Embraer for all aircraft except the Phenom 300.

    More granite is used on the counter surfaces in the restroom area around the basin, while the cabinetry is of the same wood veneer used throughout the rest of the aircraft.

    Communication the Key

    But what was the biggest challenge during the project? Schröcker points to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We started the project in early February, and then in March Europe and the US started to shut-down – so getting materials became the biggest challenge to this project.”

    Nevertheless, the F/LIST team remained in continual communication with the client, relaying the project status at every turn, managing expectations, and working tirelessly to maintain the client relationship. The process – although delayed by a few weeks – came to its successful conclusion in June.

    As Schröcker reflects on the project as a whole, he concludes how proud F/LIST is of the way every element of the project was handled and completed in-house – whether the upholstery and certification work in the company’s Berlin facility, or the manufacturing and testing in Thomasberg, Austria, F/LIST had it covered.

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