VLJ Makes Phenomenal Progress

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Right on schedule, Embraer on Friday afternoon quietly showed off its first fully assembled Phenom 100 to a group of journalists at its headquarters in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil. First flight of this airplane is scheduled for the end of June, with Brazilian certification and first delivery expected a year later. The very light jet's Pratt & Whitney Canada PW617F engine is currently being flown on a test bed, and Embraer has also made the mating check with the wing and the fuselage and says the assembly program is going "very smoothly." A second Phenom 100 is now in construction at Botucatu, and a total of three development aircraft will be used for certification flight testing. According to Embraer, the VLJ is mostly metal construction with 20 percent composite parts. The projected range of the $2.85 million twinjet is 1,100 to 1,160 nm with IFR reserves. Embraer said it will increase the price of the Phenom 100 after the European Business Aviation Convention and Expo next month in Geneva, though it declined to give that figure today. The company says it has combined orders for more than 350 Phenom 100s and derivative Phenom 300s. The Brazilian manufacturer is also actively looking at two new bizjets in the super-light and midsize categories and is gaining feedback for such airplanes from its advisory boards.