More than half of the Phenom 300 fleet is registered in the U.S. That portion likely will increase as NetJets takes delivery of its aircraft during the next two years and as more aircraft are delivered to rival Flight Options as well.
Most of the U.S.-registered fleet is operated by single-aircraft entrepreneurial ventures, including smaller hedge funds, investment holding companies and engineering firms, along with software development firms, small energy companies and even a Harley-Davidson modification firm in Los Angeles. A large portion of these aircraft are owner flown, a demographic that is rare outside of North America.
Only a few medium-size U.S. corporations fly the Phenom 300, such as Masco and EMC with multiple aircraft flight departments. It's typically the smallest aircraft in their fleets, primarily used for shorter range missions where its fuel efficiency and runway performance are advantageous.
Brazilian operators account for about one-sixth of the fleet. Among these are banking concerns, agricultural products companies and charter operators, along with some entrepreneurs, import/export firms and even the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, based in a São Paulo suburb.
European operators make up the next largest block, with a half dozen aircraft registered in Germany, two in Switzerland, two in the Isle of Man (German and Saudi Arabian operators) and one each in France, the U.K., Ireland, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Portugal.
The Middle East, Morocco and Indonesia account for most of the remaining aircraft. Charter operator Dalia Air in Casablanca, for example, operates an all-fleet including the Legacy 600 and 650, a Lineage 1000 and, most recently, the Phenom 300. Other operators told BCA that favorable experiences with the Legacy 600/650 influenced their buying decision. The Phenom 300 exudes jetliner-rugged substance over style, say some.
American operators contacted by BCA say they upgraded to the Phenom 300 from single and twin turboprops, chiefly TBMs and King Airs, and less capable light jets such as Citation Mustangs and CJs, plus the Beech Premier I, Hawker 400XP and Phenom 100. Cabin size, ramp presence, spirited runway and climb performance, plus range, cruise speed, fuel efficiency and low cost of maintenance were some of the main reasons why they bought the Phenom 300 instead of another make of light jet.
Owner-operators, upgrading from the TBM 850 and Phenom 100, also commented that they found the Embraer Prodigy cockpit, based upon Garmin G1000 avionics, easy to use and great for situational awareness, especially when equipped with the optional synthetic vision package.
Owner-operators and other single aircraft operators typically fly their aircraft fewer than 200 hr. per year. Missions average 1 to 2 hr. in length with distances ranging from 350 to 750 mi. The impressive climb performance of the aircraft favors the use of high altitudes, even on missions as short as 300 nm. Operators say they normally climb directly to FL 430-450 in 14 to 16 min., cruise at 430 KTAS and then descend for landing. The parabola-like mission profile yields the quickest block times and the lowest fuel burns. On a 300-nm mission, for instance, flight time is 46 to 47 min. and total fuel burn is 1,100 to 1,150 lb., assuming a high-speed cruise profile.
Single aircraft operators typically fly with nearly empty cabins on most missions. If the aircraft is professionally crewed, then there may be one to two passengers aboard on most missions. Owner-operators fly the aircraft with no passengers in the cabin on most trips. However, some small operators occasionally load up the cabin with family and friends.
Fleet, fractional and charter operators tend to fly somewhat longer missions. But charter and fractional ownership operators often have shorter average missions because of pre-positioning legs. The average mission length for Executive AirShare, for example, is 1.7 hr. For Flight Options, it's 1.5 hr. Subtract the repositioning legs and the average mission length may increase by as much as an hour. Operators, for example, plan on 2+30 block times for 900-nm trips. Typical fuel burns are 2,150 to 2,200 lb., assuming an unrestricted climb to FL 430-450 and no routing delays. Corporate, charter and fleet operators on average fly four to five passengers.
Most operators say they can comfortably fly the aircraft as far as 1,800 nm at high-speed cruise and land with 100-nm NBAA IFR reserves. Trip time is about 4.4 hr.