Best of the Best 2008: Business Jets: Embraer Phenom 100

  • Mary Grady

Embraer’s Phenom 100 is often called a very light jet. But if this classification is correct, then the company has produced the most spacious VLJ yet. The cabin is significantly longer and wider than are those of the Eclipse 500, the Cessna Citation Mustang, and other VLJs, and extra-large windows make the Phenom 100 seem even roomier.

Embraer, a Brazilian manufacturer best known for building regional airliners, entered the business-jet market in 2001 with the Legacy 600, a 16-passenger aircraft derived from its ERJ 145 regional jet. The Phenom 100 and the slightly larger Phenom 300 light jet, both announced in May 2005, are the company’s first executive craft designed from a clean sheet. Earlier this year, Embraer indicated that it will further expand the line with two jets that will fit between the Phenoms and the Legacy, providing a clear progression for owners looking to move up. The company also offers the Lineage 1000, an ultralarge business jet based on its 100-seat ERJ 190 airliner.

Two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW617F engines power the Phenom 100 to a top cruise speed of 437 mph. The jet can carry enough fuel to fly nonstop from New York to Miami or from Los Angeles to Denver. It accommodates four passengers comfortably in a typical club configuration, and the main baggage compartment, more than twice as big as the Eclipse 500’s, has ample space for golf clubs and skis. The cabin, designed by BMW Group DesignworksUSA, has a refreshment center and a private lavatory aft.

The cockpit holds two seats, but a single pilot can fly the 100 easily. The Prodigy flight deck, based on Garmin’s all-glass avionics suite, features three high-definition displays that integrate all essential flight data with simple systems and a smooth interface.

A Phenom 100 flew for the first time last summer, and three planes currently are being tested. Deliveries of the $3 million jet are expected to begin later this year. A new manufacturing plant in Brazil is ready to boost production significantly, but the aircraft already are sold out through 2012.

Embraer, 954.359.3700, www.embraerexecutivejets.com

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