February 5, 2010
By Thomas A. Horne
Embraer has released updates on its Legacy 450 and Legacy 500 business jets, indicating progress in the definition phases of these designs. These concepts for these airplanes were announced in 2007 at the National Business Aircraft Association (NBAA) convention as the MLJ (mid-light jet) and MSJ (mid-size jet) projects. They were renamed the Legacy 450 and 500, respectively, and formally launched in May 2008.
Work so far has focused on soliciting customers and pilots for input on issues relating to man-machine interface, developing test rigs and simulators for the airplanes’ fly-by-wire (FBW) flight controls, and beginning the certification process. Simulators have been built to probe key features of the FBW, such as flight envelope protection (stall, maximum speed, and maximum structural load situations); automatic compensations (thrust asymmetries, flap and landing gear deployment); and control laws that enhance pilot control, reduce pilot workload, and increase passenger comfort.
A Legacy 500 cabin mock-up was built and was used for interior design, evaluation of finishes, and the all-important vacuum toilet tests. In addition, aircraft equipment is being vibration-tested under critical flight situations to assess potential wear issues.
Embraer says that the selection of systems, airframe, and interior suppliers is at a very advanced stage. Rockwell-Collins’ Pro Line Fusion avionics—with synthetic vision systems—has been chosen as standard equipment in both jets. In a $23 billion contract, Embraer chose Honeywell’s HTF7500E turbofan engines for the jets. These engines have advanced combustor designs that reduce the production of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and unburned fuel emissions and smoke.
The Legacy 450’s performance targets include a Mach 0.82 high-speed cruise, a 2,300-nm range at long-range cruise power with four passengers, and a 4,000-foot takeoff field length. The Legacy 500 will have the same high-speed cruise, but travel 3,000 nm with four passengers at long-range cruise power, and a 4,600-foot takeoff field length.
The Legacy 500 should enter service in 2012, Embraer says. The Legacy 450 is set for first deliveries in 2013.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
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