When Embraer set out to demonstrate the credentials of the Legacy 650 through demonstrator flights, there is no doubt that it proved its case. There is a lot of performance, range and space for the $29.5 million price tag and Embraer showcased this aircraft type’s credentials to the max. Jo Murray was on board
The Legacy 650 is one of those aircraft that is hard to define. Should it be compared with the rest of its family of Embraer derivatives, with aircraft of a similar cabin sized aircraft (the Challenger 605, Falcon 2000, Falcon 900, G350 or Challenger 850), with aircraft of a similar range or with aircraft of a similar price? Perhaps it is best to consider this new market entrant on its own merits at this very early stage in its commercial life.
So far, Arab Wings, DC aviation and Titan Airways all see the point of the Legacy 650. Each is waiting for the delivery of their new certified jet, based on the proven technology of the EMB 135/145 regional jet of which there are around 1,100 in operation worldwide.
Perhaps the Legacy 650s heritage is the best place to start. With such huge populations already in service (albeit in commercial airliner configuration) there is a strong service and support base for this aircraft type outside the private jet arena.
The Legacy family (comprising the 600 and 650) boast quite a pedigree as a variant of the 35-seat EMB-135 regional jet and the 50-seat EMB-145, which was first certified in December 1996. The provenance is important as it demonstrates just how rugged the Legacy family’s breeding is as a high utilisation regional aircraft. In fact, the EMB-135/145 has become a workhorse on numerous largely North American and European regional routes. In a low utilisation business aviation application, the Legacy 650 will find its workload a breeze.
What is important operationally about the Legacy 650 is its usefulness as a connector of city pairs. The London/Dubai demonstrator flight is a typical application for this aircraft type; but so too is London/New York or Moscow/Shanghai or even São Paulo to Miami. It can operate in restricted airports such as Cannes and London City as well as hot and high destinations. This is going to be a perfect business tool for those in the position of being able to take advantage of its performance.
Perhaps speed is not the Legacy 650’s biggest selling point (maximum speed cruise is Mach 0.80) and the cruise altitude is limited to 41,000ft and 39000ft taking off at maximum takes off weight, but comfort, space and productivity will surely sell this aircraft.
The Legacy 650 has a 1650ft3 cabin which totals 49.10ft in length and 6ft 11in in width. It has a three zone cabin to separate out working, sleeping and dining. There are also 22 windows to provide plenty of natural light and the ceiling height allows six footers to stand upright. The Legacy 650 has a forward galley and flight attendant station, an amply sized aft lavatory and a 240ft3 baggage compartment – the largest in its class.
Its brother, the Legacy 600, has already clocked up eight years’ operation and has been delivered to nearly 200 customers worldwide, but is quite a different prospect. For the same 3,400nm mission, the Legacy 650 will allow about 2,500lb more payload (with the 650 ultimately capable of 3,900nm range). The 650 has a maximum takeoff weight of 53,572lb compared with the 600’s 49,604lb. The 650 has an additional ventral tank as well as a wet central wing box; and it has a new wing structure and reinforced landing gear derived from the larger EMB-145.
Thrust is provided by two Rolls-Royce AE 3007A2 engines – a refined version of proven technology. The airplane is complaint with the latest ICAO Stage IV noise regulations which allows landing at the most noise restrictive airports and also contribute to a peaceful cabin environment.
Embraer has also done its best to minimise the pilots’ workload with the installation of the Honeywell Primus Elite avionics suite, as well as other features like the Electronic Flight bag. Then there is the connectivity afforded passengers through Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband system for high-speed Internet in-flight and the Iridium satellite phone.
So far, the Legacy family of business jets has been well received because the cabin sizes afford plenty of comfort at very manageable operating costs. It is also a tried and tested airframe with copious support expertise around the world.
The bottom line is that the Legacy 650 affords plenty of airplane for the price and is already capturing the imagination of operators, especially in Europe and the Middle East.
Embraer’s Legacy 650 executive jet is certified
The Brazilian Civil Aviation Agency (Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil – ANAC) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have granted certification for the Legacy 650 executive jet.
“We are happy to announce today the ANAC and EASA certifications of the Legacy 650, just one year after the program launch at the last NBAA convention. This will allow us to start deliveries of the aircraft in 2010, as planned,” said Luís Carlos Affonso, Embraer Executive Vice President, Executive Jets. “The Legacy 650 met all of the original specification targets, particularly the 3,900nm range, which allows the airplane to connect important city pairs and open new markets for Embraer.”
Maurício Almeida, Embraer Vice President, Programs, Executive Jets, said: “The Legacy 650 is a very capable product that has had a seamless, although challenging, development trajectory. Once again, this demonstrates Embraer’s ability to respond to market demands in a timely manner.”
A host of avionics
The Legacy 650 certification marks the debut of the new Honeywell Primus Elite™ avionics suite, which will also equip the Legacy 600. The highly reliable, light-weight Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) units provide enhanced functions, such as charts and geographical maps with up-linked XM weather overlay. As a follow-on certification, the coupled VNAV (Vertical Navigation) will allow the airplane to follow FMS (Flight Management System) vertical paths, which is particularly beneficial during descents with several altitude and speed constraints, since it reduces crew workload and optimises fuel consumption.
Similarly, the FANS/CPDLC (Future Air Navigation System – Controller Pilot Datalink Communication) function will provide the aircraft with air-ground data communications so pilots can respond to ATC (Air Traffic Control) messages, request clearances and deviations in the flight plan, report information, etc., thus avoiding voice frequency congestion and possible language hurdles. With RNP 0.3 (Required Navigation Performance) capability and other functionalities, such as WAAS/LPV (Wide Area Augmentation System/Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance) and the SmartRunway™ and SmartLanding™ Runway Awareness and Advisory System, the Legacy 650 and Legacy 600 flight decks will conform to the latest technologies for enhanced situational awareness, while ensuring outstanding operational flexibility in congested airspaces, terrain-challenged airports, and adverse weather conditions.