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Thu, Apr 19, 2007

Embraer Spreads Its Wings... From VLJs To Military Planes

Updates Phenom Progress At LAL; Announces Transport Study At LAAD

It's no secret Brazilian planemaker Embraer is serious about increasing its presence in the business aviation marketplace, with development progressing on the company's Phenom 100 VLJ and slightly larger Phenom 300. As those aircraft near their first flights, the company is also increasing its presence at Fly-In events like Lakeland 2007, as well.

In a press conference Wednesday, Embraer representatives told attendees the company performed the first Phenom 100 executive jet wing-fuselage mating in late March, at its main plant in São José dos Campos, Brazil. Both the wing and the fuselage – assembled at the Botucatu plant – arrived at Embraer’s main facility and are now undergoing systems integration.

The anemometric, oxygen and hydraulic systems have already been installed, as well as the main landing gear. The first Phenom 100 jet is being equipped with flight test instrumentation.

“The Phenom 100 program makes firm and steady progress,” said Luís Carlos Affonso, Embraer’s Executive Vice-President, Executive Jets. “This achievement is a direct reflection of Embraer’s commitment to deliver an outstanding and revolutionary executive aircraft.”

The first three Phenom 100s are being completed at the São José dos Campos plant.

Also in March, Embraer performed the first metal cut for the Phenom 300 executive jet. An automated five-axis high-speed machining center milled the aircraft’s first part –- a nose landing gear fitting located in the forward fuselage.

CATIA V5 software supported digital design and manufacturing simulations on both platforms. Embraer also uses avanced technological instruments as laser and ultra-sound are used in the quality assurance process.

“The first metal cut is another significant achievement that confirms the stead advance of the Phenom 300 program,” said Henrique Langenegger, Embraer Vice-President, Programs, Executive Jets. “This revolutionary light jet concept is becoming a reality.”

But bizjets aren't the only as-yet untapped market Embraer is exploring. The company also confirmed, during a conference Thursday at Latin America Aero & Defense (LAAD) in Rio de Janeiro, that it has been studying the possible development of a military transport aircraft.

If the aircraft is actually launched, the C-390, as it is called, will be the heaviest airplane ever produced by the company... and will be able to transport up to 19 tons (41,888 pounds) of cargo.

Embraer also says the new project will incorporate a number of features developed for the Embraer 190 commercial jet. As a medium-sized military transport jet, the C-390 will be equipped with a rear ramp for transporting a wide range of types of cargo, including wheeled armored vehicles, and will also sport modern loading and unloading systems.

The new jet may be refueled in flight, as well as be used to refuel other aircraft, in flight and on the ground. The cargo cabin will allow configurations for transporting the wounded or sick, on Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) missions.

The technical advances of the Embraer C-390 include fly-by-wire, which lowers the work load of pilots, with the resulting increased safety, and operating on short and unpaved runways, without the need of ground support.

“Our analyses indicate that there is a potential market for this type of aircraft worldwide, especially to substitute older models that will reach the end of their useful life over the coming decade,” said Luiz Carlos Aguiar, Embraer’s Executive Vice-President, Defense and Government Market. “We are now expanding the studies and looking for the best use of the technological solutions employed in the Embraer 170/190 family. They will be carefully adapted to the specific needs of the military operators. This is a good example of spin-off and how Embraer’s long-term vision is focused on customer satisfaction.”

Does that sound to you like the C-390 is merely a design proposal? Not to us, either...

FMI: www.embraer.com

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