FLIGHTCHECK

Embraer Legacy 600: $25.41 mil, Mach .80, FL4

Priced for success, supermidsize jet combines comfort, performance, range and reliability.10, 3400 nm, 10-14 seats

By Clay Lacy
ATP/CFII/Helo. Gulfstream II/III/IV, Learjet and Citation series, HS125 and other assorted type ratings


With its spacious airborne real estate the supermidsize Legacy 600 is an intercontinental performer with attractive operating costs and good short field capability.

Embraer entered the business aviation market in 2000 with the Legacy 600 and now there are more than 160 operating in 24 countries. When the Legacy 600 entered service in 2002 it changed expectations of what a business jet should be, delivering an unprecedented combination of performance, reliability and cabin comfort.

Based on the 37-passenger ERJ135 which has racked up over 10 million cycles and 14 million flight hours-the rugged 49,604-lb MTOW Legacy 600 benefits greatly from its sister ship's regional airline experience.

Today the Legacy 600 is part of 6 business jet offerings from Embraer the Lineage 1000, Legacy 600/500/450 and Phenom 300/100 and this all bodes well for future product support on the business aircraft side.

With 40 business aircraft service centers worldwide, including 20 in the US, Embraer has carved out an important presence in the business aviation marketplace and has done so very quickly.

As Embraer's first business jet, the Legacy 600 has held its own in a competitive marketplace and I looked forward to the opportunity of flying this popular supermidsize airplane, with its stellar reputation for comfort.

I've always considered the Legacy 600 surprisingly affordable for what it offers in terms of range, cabin comfort and performance. At a fully equipped price of under $26 million it's a lot of aircraft, and capability, for the price.

You've got a 1650 cu ft beautifully finished stand-up cabin-larger inside than a Dassault Falcon 900EX or a Gulfstream G350/450-and range to fly 3400 nm (4 passengers at Mach 0.74) or 3250 nm (8 passengers at Mach 0.74) with only minor range penalty at Mach 0.80.

For operators who fly primarily within North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa or Asia-with occasional intercontinental missions this may be all the airplane they'll ever need. The 3-zone cabin is about 3 times the size of a midsize jet, double the size of most supermidsize offerings and larger than many aircraft with price premiums of $6-10 million.

The Legacy 600 fits into Embraer's executive jet lineup between the 3000-nm $18.4-million Legacy 500 and the 4400-nm (8 pax)/4500-nm (4 pax) $45.7-million Lineage 1000.

Roundtable discussion

Arriving at Clay Lacy Aviation VNY (Van Nuys CA) with the Legacy 600 were Embraer Regional Sales Mgr Mark Saxton and Instructor Pilots Capt Alex Garcia de Carvalho and Capt Weber Mariano Daros.

Garcia, an 8000-hr TT pilot, joined Embraer in Dec 2006 having previously flown Embraer Brasilias, Boeing 737s and 767s. Weber piloted Bell 212s offshore before flying Learjets on charter and moving to the airlines to fly Brasilias and Fokker 50s prior to joining Embraer in Jul 2007.

Saxton explained that the Legacy 600 differs from the ERJ135 in several significant aspects including aerodynamic improvements, additional fuel tanks and higher operational ceiling FL 410.

Three distinct seating areas and a 49 ft 10 in cabin (from flightdeck to rear pressure bulkhead) provide seating for up to 14 passengers with a full-size galley, full-width lav and 240 cu ft, 1000-lb capable, largest in class inflight assessable baggage area.

Standard cabin entertainment features include Rockwell Collins Airshow 410, DVD player and two 17-inch widescreen LCD bulkhead-mounted monitors. Options include high speed data (HSD) with a 128 kbps wireless Inmarsat Swift64 network and galley upgrades, seldom available on smaller jets, including a fridge or wine cooler.

Saxton pointed out that the Legacy 600 competes most directly with the Bombardier Challenger 300, Cessna Citation Columbus, Dassault Falcon 2000DX and Gulfstream G200. Projected DOCs of $2545 (with fuel at $6.13/gal) compare favorably with smaller cabin aircraft the Legacy 600 competes with.

(L-R) Captains Alex Garcia de Carvalho and Weber Mariano Daros brief Clay Lacy on Legacy 600 operating characteristics as Embraer Regional Sales Mgr Mark Saxton looks on.

Range at Mach 0.74 is 3250 nm, at just over 8 hours endurance, with fuel burn of 2343 gallons. While the Legacy 600 does not fly as fast, as far or as high as some of its competitors range and performance will be adequate for many operators.

From TEB you can fly nonstop to FAI (Fairbanks AK), BCN (Barcelona, Spain), GYE (Guayaquil, Ecuador) or EUN (Laayoune, Morocco). From 9078 ft elevation TEX (Telluride CO) the 600 will fly 1640 nm nonstop to TEB. An important consideration the Legacy 600 is the largest corporate aircraft approved for operations into LCY (London City, England), which requires a 5.5 degrees glideslope, and into CEQ (Cannes, France).

Designed to endure an average of 2500 hours per year with low operating cost and a track record of over 99.7% dispatch reliability, the Legacy 600 offers superb cabin comfort while delivering high utilization and high availability. Order backlogs are not too extreme, says Saxton, with availability currently mid-2010.

Walkaround

We walked out on the ramp to take a closer look at the Legacy 600 with its substantial ramp presence only 3 ft shorter than a G450 with about 8 ft less span and a 3 ft lower tail height.

Walkaround was easy with everything very accessible. Compared to earlier version Legacy 600 shuttles, this new and improved Legacy Shuttle has winglets, just 1 emergency exit, no wipers on the windscreens, a redesigned galley and an optional (and externally serviced) forward lav for the crew.

Weber (L) and Lacy review the Legacy 600s easy-to-access single-point fuel panel. Panel is fully automatic with programmable fuel shut off.

Compared to the ERJ135 the Legacy 600 has aft strakes for improved lateral control, improved seals on access panels and landing gear, repositioned wingtip nav lights, 2 sets of headlights and a quieter 77-dB cabin on takeoff. Unique to the Legacy 600, and not found on airline variants, pointed out Webber, is a clear ice sensor to warn the crew of ice on the wings.

This is a reliable system and certainly a good safety feature. FADEC controlled flat rated 7987-lb max takeoff thrust (ISA= 22 degrees C) Rolls-Royce AE3007 A1E turbofans provide 7% more thrust, compared to earlier Legacy versions, and the 600 features an all automatic single-point fuel panel.

Checking engine oil is straightforward with conveniently located sight gauges, potable water service is conventional and access to the cavernous 7.5-ft long baggage area which is large enough to carry a tow bar (a great feature).

Access to the rear electronics compartment is also well thought out and easy. While the Legacy 600 does not have a tailskid-it's difficult to hit the tail, says Garcia there are skids on the belly to protect the fuselage in case of gear up landing.

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