February 17, 2011
By Thomas A. Horne
Brazilian manufacturer Embraer will make a major expansion of its U.S. presence next week, when the company will open its newly-constructed, 90,000-square-foot, $50 million assembly plant at the Melbourne, Fla., airport. The factory will be used for final assembly of Embraer’s Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 business jets and have 200 employees. Flight testing also will be conducted from the Melbourne factory, and a co-located delivery center will be used to prepare airplanes for customer acceptance.
Florida may well be the site of yet another Embraer plant. The company recently announced it might assemble its Super Tucano at a renovated factory in Jacksonville. This, assuming that it wins a $950 million, 35-airplane U.S. Air Force contract to build the single-engine, turboprop-powered light-attack, weapons-capable, hard-point-equipped Super Tucanos. The 41,000-square-foot Jacksonville factory renovation could cost Embraer as much as $3.8 million.
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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