Powerplants

Blackhawk has received EASA certification to install P&WC PT6A-135A engines on Cessna Conquests. Prices for replacing the older PT6A-112 turboprops are based on P&WC's engine exchange program, in which credit is issued for time remaining before the original engine overhaul. This work can be completed at MCA Aviation in the UK, Beechcraft Vertrieb und Service in Augsburg, Germany and Ruag Aerospace in Switzerland.

GE has renewed its unducted fan (UDF) program from the 1980s under a 50/50 partnership with Snecma. It plans to have a counter-rotating UDF engine model in wind tunnel testing by the end of this year. This engine type could reduce fuel burn by 30% compared with traditional turbines. GE is also working with NASA on its Future Vehicle Aircraft Research (FVAR) program. The goal of FVAR is to find ways to reduce aircraft noise and nitrogen oxide emissions by 80% as well as a 70% reduction in fuel burn in the next 25-30 years.

Embraer's new midsize contender-Legacy 500

With its visually pleasing glass cockpit and FBW controls, and a flat-floor, full stand-up cabin designed by BMW Designworks USA, Embraer's new Legacy 500 is an impressive addition to the midsize-cabin market.

Early last year Embraer's corporate aviation division announced it would be developing 2 midsize aircraft. Dubbed the Legacy 450 and 500, the new models were first discussed at the summer aviation trade shows and then in earnest at the fall NBAA.

Since then Embraer has had a full-size mockup of the Legacy 500 "on the road" touring key business aviation centers. During its recent visit to ISP (Islip NY), ExcelAire played host to Embraer Sales Mgr Henry Yandle and the road show team.

While at first glance the Legacy 500 resembles a Phenom 300 on steroids, closer examination shows this is far from the truth. It may have some similarities to the "look," but the fact remains that this aircraft was designed from scratch for the midsize market.

Embraer says it has made extensive use of innovative solutions in both performance and comfort, with no compromise. Key to the design was its incorporation of extensive customer input-something Embraer does a lot.

One of the more striking things you notice when walking up to this mockup is the galley-it faces directly onto the entrance and is an appropriately sized food and beverage center. It hasn't simply been shoe-horned into the corner of an entrance-this is a full-service galley with wet sink and ample storage space. It also provides a nice break leading into either the cockpit or passenger cabin.

As you enter this aircraft, you are struck by the height and width. The Legacy 500 boasts a 6-ft stand-up cabin with full flat floor-something unique to the midsize corporate aircraft industry.

Following a natural tendency to go look in the pointy end first, you quickly notice that the "office" is all state-of-the-art technology. First, the 4 large MFD units are highly visible, given that this aircraft has full FBW flight controls, so there is no control yoke distracting pilot or co-pilot views.

Embraer is working with Rockwell Collins to develop the Legacy 500's avionics. Displays will have advanced graphical capabilities. Included in preliminary data, Embraer plans to offer modular AFDX integrated processing systems, dual VHF comms, dual VOR/ ILS/MKR, a single DME, dual FMS WAAS LPV, basic/advanced RNP, graphical flight planning and a single Rockwell Collins IFIS with electronic charts and maps.

The system also calls for integrated traffic surveillance, EICAS, central maintenance system, and an information management system with wireless data load. The company also plans to incorporate autothrottle, SVS and VNAV features, and HGS and EVS (as options).

The Legacy 500's 2 Honeywell HTF7500E engines will provide 6540 lbs of takeoff thrust and are designed for easy maintenance (with first inspection at 750 hrs) and high reliability. The "environmentally friendly" HTF7500E will offer reduced fuel burn.

According to Yandle, Embraer expects real coast-to-coast performance from the Legacy 500, with the best high speed cruise in its category-Mach 0.82-and an estimated range of 3000 nm with 4 passengers (or 2800 nm with 8 passengers).

Initial cruise altitude is planned to be 43,000 ft with a maximum ceiling of 45,000 ft. Cabin interior design is unique, with Embraer once again having called on BMW DesignworksUSA. The seats are of a tub-like design, pedestal-mounted, with easily accessible controls for pitch and swivel.

Embraer is still refining the interior based on customer input from these tours and other viewings-thus, what we see now is far from final. That said, the overall effect is refreshing, with rounded subtle lines and pleasing use of soft goods and textured hardware.

The cabin area is broken down into 2 zones. One features club seating for 4, the other a 3-seat divan and 1 opposite-facing single seat, with (in the mockup) a credenza unit sporting a flat-panel widescreen TV monitor.

Yandle advises that many customers have optioned not to have a credenza in favor of an additional passenger seat. Like much else, this is entirely up to customer choice. Another key note-the club seats have 4 personally selectable positions up to fully flat.

Legacy 500's cabin has already received several international design awards. It is among the brightest of any corporate aircraft, with its 15 large windows spaced evenly so that every seat gets a view.

Cabin lighting is indirect or subtly placed, adding to the overall brightness. For example, most of the floor level and ceiling height lights are recessed and redirected, while many of the overhead lights are placed behind an opaque sheet of glass.

One more item of real note is a full service aft lav with a full bulkhead and complete door. The potty is externally serviced. Counter space is generous and European-looking. Lighting is not an issue, thanks to use of the same large windows that prevail in the rest of the aircraft.

To the rear of the lav is an in-flight-accessible baggage compartment. This is in addition to an external rear baggage compartment accessible only from the ground. Embraer refers constantly to human factors design and its interest in providing maximum baggage capacity.

Legacy 500 seems to follow this philosophy. Embraer considers the Legacy 500 as competing against the Citation Sovereign, Gulfstream G150, Hawker 900XP, Learjet 60XR and Learjet 85.

It also expects the Legacy 500 to compete somewhat with the Challenger 300 and Hawker 4000. First flight of the Legacy 500 is currently planned for 2Q2011, with first customer deliveries due to take place 12 months later.

The company reports high levels of customer interest. Based on the reactions of guests and ExcelAire ISP staff, Embraer has another winner on its hands with the Legacy 500. -Rob Seaman

History

San Diego Air & Space Museum has opened an interactive exhibit of Leonardo Da Vinci's creations. The exhibition is open through Jan 3, 2010. More than 60 full-size replicas of his designs are on display with reproductions of 12 of his most famous paintings.

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