Embraer Phenom 100 VLJ Makes Maiden Flight

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Not all the aviation news over the past few days took place in Wisconsin: Last week, Embraer's entry into the very light jet (VLJ) sweepstakes took to the air for the first time from the company's facility in São José dos Campos, Brazil. The test flight, crewed by Capt. Antonio Bragança Silva and Capt. Eduardo Alves Menini, plus flight test engineer Marcelo Toledo Basile, lasted 01:36 and characteristically included several maneuvers required to verify the airplane's behavior and systems operation. According to Embraer, members of all the engineering teams involved in its Phenom 100 program were present, analyzing flight data telemetry. The first Phenom 100's flight, powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW617F engines of 1,615 pounds thrust each, was preceded by several weeks of ground tests, confirming vibration, flight control, low- and high-speed taxiing, and systems functionality. A full test program, including static and fatigue tests, will follow. Embraer said it expects Brazil's National Civil Aviation Agency type certification first, followed by FAA certification. The company plans for the Phenom 100 to enter service in mid-2008 with EASA certification following in early 2009.

“This is a key milestone for Embraer and a very special and rewarding moment for the entire Embraer team," remarked Frederico Fleury Curado, Embraer president and CEO. "To see our new baby bird taking off is highly satisfying and I congratulate every Embraer employee for making this possible.” The Phenom 100 was launched in May 2005, with the first metal being cut a year later. In mid-June, the new jet was first rolled out of the hangar. The Phenom 100's cockpit will be built around Garmin’s Prodigy all-glass, fully integrated avionics suite, featuring three interchangeable 12-inch displays – two Primary Flight Displays (PFDs) and one Multi-Function Display (MFD). The system integrates all primary flight, navigation, communication, terrain, traffic, weather, engine instrumentation and crew-alerting system data. Embraer says the Phenom 100 will comfortably accommodate four passengers in a typical club configuration. Its range with four occupants will be 1,160 nautical miles with NBAA IFR reserves. The company plans to certify it to FL410; the Phenom 100 will have a maximum operating speed (Mmo) of Mach 0.70. It's priced at $2.98 million, based on January 2005 economic conditions.