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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedEmbraer, the business jet that grew up at Oshkosh
By J. Mac McClellan
It was just five years ago that Embraer announced the decision to develop a whole new line of business jets. The 2005 announcement didn't happen here at Oshkosh, but that summer the company was here with a big exhibit.

That was unusual for any jet maker.

At first Embraer brought models of its Phenom 100, the first from-scratch business-jet design in the company's plans. Read more

But to emphasize its heritage it also displayed a full-size re-creation of the 14-bis heavier-than-air flying machine built in 1906 by Alberto Santos-Dumont.

The Brazilian aviation pioneer had been flying powered lighter-than-air machines around Paris for several years before the Wright brothers' first flight in 1903. One-hundred-and-two years later, his exotic airplane, with its huge box-like control surface extending far ahead of the airplane, attracted big crowds here at Oshkosh and made it clear to all the long aviation history of Brazil.

In a couple of years the Phenom 100 was progressing on schedule, and Embraer planned to make the first flight during AirVenture.

The Phenom was thousands of miles away in Brazil, but Embraer erected huge video displays on AeroShell Square so that people here could see the Phenom first flight in real time as it happened.

That was certainly a first for any business jet.

In the years that followed Embraer was able to bring actual jets to Oshkosh, and this year both the Phenom 100 and the much larger Phenom 300 are on display. Embraer has already delivered more than 120 Phenoms and has retained a solid backlog of orders.

Young but mature…and scrappy
Embraer, which is quite a new company as airplane manufacturers go, had its founding just more than 40 years ago to build a regional airliner.
Embraer overcame all of the obstacles that any new airplane maker faces to move on from turboprops to regional jets.

And now it competes globally against the big guys with its 170 and 190 E-jet series of airliners. The E-jets fly for many of the major U.S. carriers, and they are quickly becoming a staple for airlines in the developing world.

It was a bold step for Embraer to jump into the business-jet segment where competition is tough and airframe makers are well-established.
But it has worked.

In the five years since Embraer announced its plans for a series of business jets, those airplanes have grown to account for 22 percent of total revenue.

And there is much more to come from Embraer with the first metal cut for the prototype of the Legacy 500, a jet that pushes the midsize envelope both in terms of cabin size and range.

The Legacy 500 cabin has a flat floor with 6 feet of standup headroom, and its IFR range is 3,000 nautical miles. It will be certified for up to 12 passengers.

The shorter-range Legacy 450 will be able to fly 2,300 nautical and carry as many as nine passengers in similar comfort since the cabin cross section is the same.

In addition to a low-drag airframe that results from the latest design techniques, the efficiency of the Legacy 450/500 comes from use of the Honeywell HTF7500E that promises the lowest fuel burn, longest maintenance intervals, and lowest emissions in the category.

And both airplanes will have fly-by-wire control systems that are derived from the systems in the airline E-jets.

Embraer isn't talking about how many millions it is investing in the development of its line of business jets-and the many service centers it will take to support the jets.

But is has to be enormous.

What the company understood from the beginning is the importance of taking the stage at Oshkosh.

Every summer we have been able to see the rapid progress Embraer is making as all of aviation gathers here. We have been able to see Embraer's jets be born and grow right here, and it has been exciting to watch.

FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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