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.
The AOPA Medical Advisory Board is the latest group to urge quick action on the proposed FAA rule that would allow thousands more pilots to fly without the need for a third class medical certificate.
Mexico has lifted a requirement that pilots of arriving and departing private general aviation flights use a third party provider to file advance passenger information system (APIS) manifests.
The Perlan Project is less than a year away from the first flight of a glider being built to ride waves near the edge of space. While construction continues in Oregon, the team’s pilots are staying proficient in more ordinary aircraft.
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