20/Twenty: Legacy 650 Carries The Embraer Legacy

Embraer Legacy 650
The Embraer Legacy 650. Credit: Nigel Prevett/Aviation Week

Embraer announced in July 2020 that it was ending production of the Legacy 650 and Lineage 1000 large and ultra-large business jets to concentrate on its Phenom 100/300 and Praetor 500/600 models.

By discontinuing the regional jet derivatives—the Legacy 650 traced its heritage to the Legacy 600, an ERJ-135 derivative; and the Lineage 1000 to the E190 airliner—Embraer Executive Jets made a clean break from the foundation provided by its commercial sister company.

After entering the business jet market with the Legacy 600 in 2001, Embraer Executive Jets certified the new Phenom 100 entry-level light jet in 2008; the Phenom 300 in 2009; the Legacy 650 in 2011; the Legacy 500 in 2014 and the Legacy 450 in 2015. The Brazilian manufacturer certified the mid-size and super-midsize Praetor 500 and 600 derivatives of the Legacy 450/500 in 2019.

“The Legacy 650 and the Lineage 1000 programs were instrumental in developing Embraer into the key player we are in business aviation today and showcase our engineering capabilities, aviation knowledge and product robustness,” Embraer said when it ended production. “They also allowed for the development of many creative concepts.”

Embraer built the Legacy 650 and the enhanced 650E from 2011 to 2016 and 2016 to 2019, respectively. Harbin Embraer Aircraft Industry Co., a joint venture of Embraer and Harbin Aircraft Industry Group, assembled 40 ERJ-145 regional jets in Harbin, China, from 2004-10 and five Legacy 650s from 2012-16 before the companies ended the venture in 2016.

The factory-new list price of a Legacy 650E in 2019 was $25.9 million, according to the Aircraft Bluebook. Aviation Week’s Fleet Discovery database counted 59 Legacy 650s in service worldwide as of December, with another 53 parked or stored. German charter company Air Hamburg is the largest operator with 19. Most of the fleet is concentrated in western Europe.

There were three pre-owned Legacy 650s openly listed for sale in mid-December, two of which had deals pending, said Leah Lenardic Alexander, an International Aircraft Dealers Association-certified broker with Duncan Aviation.

“As we are seeing across so many desirable models, there is very little available inventory in the 650 fleet,” Alexander said. “There’s been a wide range of final sale prices over the last 12 months, during which we’ve seen 650s close anywhere from around $9 million to over $15 million, with several key factors influencing final valuations. These include, of course, the age of the aircraft, whether or not the engines were fully covered on an engine program like Rolls-Royce Corporate Care, and how recently a significant inspection such as the 96-month or 144-month plus landing gear overhaul had been completed.”

Alexander added: “Buyers may also place a premium on aircraft already equipped with the [Honeywell] Ovation Cabin Management System, GoGo L5 high-speed internet, and FANS 1/A, WAAS and LPV [navigation]. With continued upward pricing pressure, so few aircraft transacting overall in the 650 market, and about 45% of those having been off-market sales in 2021, there isn’t a cut-and-dry prediction about what the next pre-owned 650 will sell for.”

Doug Roth, Duncan Aviation aircraft marketing and acquisitions representative, said potential buyers of the Legacy 600 or 650 should consider that there is typically a service bulletin (SB) required for import, and that there may be a significant lead time for available parts to comply with the SB even if the aircraft had been registered on the buyer’s registry of choice. “While this does not make it impossible to consider acquiring a 650 currently on another registry, it does add a complicating factor to the transaction,” Roth advised.   

A Flying Taxi

Legacy 650 side view
Credit: Nigel Prevett/Aviation Week

The Legacy 650 is powered by two Rolls-Royce AE 3007A2 engines, each producing 9,020 lb. of thrust. The jet accommodates up to 14 passengers and two crew, with a maximum range of 3,900 nm. At maximum takeoff weight (53,572 lb.), it requires 5,741 ft. of runway in ISA sea level conditions.

Unveiled by Embraer at the NBAA conference in Orlando in October 2016, the E model improved on the 650’s Honeywell Primus Elite flight deck by incorporating a synthetic vision system, TCAS symbology and XM ground-based weather information as part of a Primus Elite Advanced Features package, as well as standard autothrottles. Two iPad mounts were made available for pilots’ usage. 

“The Legacy 650 can be viewed as a flying Checker cab,” former BCA senior editor and chief pilot Fred George wrote in May 2020. “It’s no luxury limo, even though it is comfortably outfitted. It flies low, slow and short, compared to three-section cabin jets from Bombardier, Dassault and Gulfstream. It initially climbs only into the mid-30s and cruises at Mach 0.74/425 KTAS on long-range missions. So, plan on nine hr. inflight for a 3,800-nm mission. On shorter trips, bank on 400-420 kt. block speeds.”

Using average U.S. operations as a guideline, Alexander said owners can expect in the ballpark of $2,800 per hour for direct operating costs. “Upward pressure on all inputs from fuel to labor to insurance in the near term may continue to push that figure upward beyond what we have historically expected for year-over-year inflation,” she added.

With maximum range specifications of around 4,000 nm, the Bombardier Challenger 605 and Dassault Falcon 2000LXS appeal to a similar segment of aircraft owners, Alexander said.

“Each has its trade-offs that may be deal breakers for certain buyers,” she said. “The Challenger 605 and Falcon 2000LXS reach slightly higher maximum cruise speeds (488 kts and 478 kts respectively, compared to 459 kts for the Legacy 650). That said, the Legacy 650 offers a higher payload, max gross takeoff weight, and significantly larger cabin volume with over 1,650 cu ft. compared to under 1,150 cu ft. for the Challenger 605 and less than 1.030 cu ft for the Falcon 2000LXS. And of course, the Legacy 650 can carry over 50% more passengers than the Falcon 2000LXS, so an owner who wants to fly up to 13 people would readily choose a Legacy 650 for the additional carrying capacity it offers compared with competitors.”

Three Cabin Zones

Legacy 650 cabin
Credit: Duncan Aviation

The Legacy 650 cabin features three zones with an option for a separate crew lavatory in the forward cabin.

The most popular configuration has forward, four-place club seating, a mid-cabin four place conference group and an aft three-place divan opposite dual club seats. “Alternately, we’ve seen the aft zone with opposing three-place divans, which increases the max passenger count to 14,” Alexander said.

The jet’s 48-month and 96-month inspections “are both significant,” instructed Brad Kluthe, Embraer technical representative with Duncan Aviation. “The 144-month, outside of the landing gear overhaul, is not a large inspection, but when doing that you are complying with everything under that, including the 48-month [inspection],” he added.

At the Dubai Air Show in November 2021, Embraer announced maintenance program improvements for the Lineage 1000 and Legacy 600/650 types. For the Legacy 600/650, the company has extended a six-month “LU6” inspection package to an annual requirement for low-utilization operators.

Bill Carey

Bill covers business aviation and advanced air mobility for Aviation Week Network. A former newspaper reporter, he has also covered the airline industry, military aviation, commercial space and unmanned aircraft systems. He is the author of 'Enter The Drones, The FAA and UAVs in America,' published in 2016.