The digital design process involved three-dimensional simulations, not only for the aircraft itself, but for the development of the tooling and the development of the manufacturing processes. The company dedicated 800 engineers to the program.
Edwards notes that when Parker Aerospace encountered software problems with the fly-by-wire system, Embraer brought in its own engineers to team on the project. Parker also ended up subcontracting with BAE Systems, which helped work through the issues. Edwards, who says the issues were “just all a bad dream,” notes that the company has been pleased by the results from BAE.
The system is a complete fly-by-wire, a first for a midsize executive jet and the first complete system for an Embraer aircraft. It replaces conventional controls with electronic sensors that rely on inputs such as angle-of-attack, speed, temperature and aircraft configuration to control the elevator, aileron, spoiler and rudder.
The system provides automatic pitch, trim, roll and yaw compensation. It was designed with “soft limits” that enable the pilot to override normal performance envelope limits, but it corrects flight before the aircraft stalls.
The system is controlled by a side stick, replacing the traditional column. This provides a “cleaner cockpit,” says Augusto Salgado da Rocha, senior manager of product strategy and sales engineering for Executive Jets. In addition, Embraer is bringing auto-braking capabilities to one of its midsize aircraft for the first time.
Powered by two Honeywell HTF 7500E turbofans producing 6,500 lbst, the Legacy 500 will fly at Mach 0.82 with a 3,000 nm range. The cockpit is equipped with Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics with four 15-in. displays that incorporate capabilities such as synthetic vision, electronic charts and graphical flight planning. Also offered is enhanced vision and head-up guidance capability.
While called a midsize, the cabin’s cross-section is more akin to a super midsize, with a 6-ft., stand-up cabin that is 6 ft., 10 in. wide. The aircraft can hold up to 12 passengers.
While Embraer continues with the development program, it is establishing a support network that is expected to be announced soon, says Edson Carlos Mallaco, VP of customer support and services for Embraer Executive Jets.
The first simulator, provided through its partnership with FlightSafety International, is being built and should be ready for testing by year-end, Mallaco says. While Embraer has not determined the exact location for training yet, he expects the first simulator will be stationed in the U.S. and a second in Europe.