Embraer, formerly known only for airliners and a large cabin business jet, is branching into new territory with a midsized jet, the Phenom 300. This six-passenger, single-pilot private jet will have enough range to fly nonstop from New York to Denver and will have a maximum cruise speed of 450 ktas. Although many of the details have not been finalized, the preliminary picture is that of a jet with a lot of potential.
The cabin of the Phenom 300 is 4 feet, 11 inches tall and about 5 feet, 1 inch wide. The cabin will include a lavatory, two-zone climate control, LED lighting, and a total of 76 cubic feet of baggage space split between three interior storage compartments. Embraer selected BMW Group DesignworksUSA to design the six-passenger cabin interior. Their simple, elegant design, combined with the Phenom’s Oval Lite cabin profile results in a cabin that looks and feels spacious.
Embraer selected Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PW535E turbofan engines to power the Phenom 300. Each engine produces 3,200 pounds of thrust on takeoff and will be controlled by FADEC. The Pratt & Whitney engines provide enough power for the Phenom 300 to take off in 3,700 feet at sea level on a standard day. The Phenom 300’s mostly metallic airframe will distribute the fuel between two wing tanks. Although exact fuel capacity has yet to be published, Embraer has confirmed that the Phenom 300 will have great range for a private jet of its size: preliminary calculations predict that it will be able to fly two crew and four passengers 1,800 nautical miles. Although it is too early to calculate flight times (the Phenom 300 will take its first flight in mid-2008), Embraer’s engineers expect that the Phenom 300 will be able to fly at a maximum cruise speed of 450 ktas.
One portion of the Phenom 300 that is sure to impress is its cockpit. The all-glass Prodigy flight deck will have three 12-inch LCDs to display all primary navigation, systems, and engine information. The Phenom 300’s spoiler system will be controlled by fly-by-wire technology.
The safety record of a private jet is one of the most important factors to take into consideration when comparing between two aircraft, although it is impossible to compare a new aircraft that has not even reached certification, as is the case with the Phenom 300. Despite this fact, the aircraft’s rigorous safety testing is promising: Embraer will put the Phenom 300 through 35,000 hours of life testing, well above the status quo of 20,000 hours.
Embraer reports that sales of the Phenom 300 have been brisk. They are expanding their manufacturing facilities in Brazil to keep pace with the demand: to date, they have more than 100 confirmed orders for the $6.65 million aircraft. They report that many of those placing ordres are first-time aircraft owners who have previously used charter or fractional programs to travel. The Phenom 300 is a logical step up from charter or fractional private jet travel, as it offers both economy and flexible operations planning. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2009, with the delivery waiting list extending into late 2011.