On Tour: Embraer's Phenoms

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Embraer this month embarked on an ambitious multi-continent tour, featuring full-scale mock-ups of its under-development Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 light jets, to include some 30 cities in the U.S. The tour began in Daytona Beach, Fla., where the Embraer road show expected to draw attendees at NASCAR's Daytona 500 race. An additional tour began in Brisbane, Australia, is in Sydney this week and plans to be in Melbourne and Perth in early March. Europe, Latin America and South Africa also are on the company's road show schedule. Meanwhile, one European customer, JetBird, is reporting the Phenom 100's first flight is expected by mid-2007, with the low-cost executive charter operator expecting to take first delivery of a Europe-certified airplane in April 2009.

Paul Geaney, managing director of JetBird, commented, "We are delighted that the Phenom design and manufacturing program remains on schedule and, as European launch customer, look forward to receiving the first European certified Phenom 100 in April 2009." The operator has placed firm orders for 50 Phenoms, with options for another 50. As the manufacturer edges closer to having flying airplanes, engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney Canada says it has logged more than 600 hours of tests on the Phenom 100 engine, with the first two flight-worthy engines set for delivery to Embraer in early March. There, they'll be installed on the Phenom 100 prototype. Other components of the 100 have begun to arrive at Embraer's production facility and ground-based testing is well underway.