A Spotlight On Embraer Legacy 650
Following Embraer’s announcement that they will be ending production of the Legacy 650 series and the Lineage 1000 we take a look at the aircraft in Fred George’s Operators Survey from 2015 and using Aviation Week’s Fleet Data.
Embraer Legacy 650 operators concede that there are more luxurious, larger cabin, higher flying, faster cruising and longer range large-cabin business aircraft than the aircraft they fly. But nothing comes close in terms of “value for money.”
“You want to fly out of Aspen to Europe on a hot day? Get yourself a three-hole airplane. Need to cruise at Mach 0.82 and climb into the mid-40s? This is not your airplane. Routinely fly between Paris and Dallas? You need another airplane,” says Michael Mahan, who flies serial number 1165 managed by Million Air Dallas.
The Legacy 650 is the only business jet priced under $41 million with three seating zones, an optional forward crew lav and transatlantic range. With a base price under $32 million, it can fly eight passengers 3,800 nm, making possible nonstop flights between London and New York, Dubai and London, São Paulo and Miami, or Singapore and Sydney. That’s about 500 nm more range than its predecessor Legacy 600 offers.
Embraer positions the Legacy 650 as a large-cabin business aircraft because of its payload and range. The 42.4-ft. overall cabin length indeed is greater than any business jet priced under $50 million. However, the cabin cross-section is strictly super-midsize and its Mach 0.74 long-range cruise speed is typical for a first-generation regional jet.
A large number of operators said they upgraded to the Legacy 650 from the Legacy 600 because they were pleased with the performance, reliability and utility of the original aircraft. Passenger acceptance of the original model also was a big factor. Almost everyone said that Embraer has strong commitment to product support and continuous product improvement. They upgraded to the Legacy 650 mainly to get the additional range. The extra fuel transforms it from a transcontinental airplane into a transatlantic jet.
Firms that fly the aircraft view them as basic business transportation, with a sizable portion being used in part-time or full-time air charter operations. Operators typically carry four to six passengers, but often they fill up all 13 seats. The most-common cabin configuration is Embraer’s standard layout with four club chairs up front, a four-seat conference grouping and credenza in mid-cabin, and an aft private stateroom with a three-place divan and a pair of facing chairs.
A few operators with whom we spoke, such as London Executive Aviation, have aircraft with a second four-chair club section in place of the four-seat conference grouping and credenza in mid-cabin.
Likes and Dislikes
Cabin size frequently tops the list of operator’s five favorites. Cabin volume is 1,410 cu. ft., but that includes the forward galley and aft lavatory. Net volume for seated passengers in the three sections is closer to 1,015 cu. ft.
The cabin has a 2-in. dropped aisle to increase maximum headroom to 6.0 ft. Outside of the Gulfstream G280, this is the only business aircraft priced above $25 million that doesn’t have a flat floor. Operators don’t mind the dropped aisle, but many wish the aircraft had a couple of inches more headroom. The cabin seems airy, though, as it has 22 cabin windows with 28.5 sq. ft. of total area to flood the interior with ambient light.
Operators say the galley layout is much improved over the Legacy 600. It features larger potable water and trash containers, more working surfaces and more-efficient space utilization in the galley annex. That’s because Honeywell Ovation cabin management system controls, emergency equipment and the infotainment kit have been repackaged more efficiently. But they say they still could use more storage space for stores, catering and beverages.
Complaints were few, but some patterns emerged. The solid bulkhead partition, forward of the divan in the aft cabin that separates the stateroom from the main cabin, must be removed for takeoff and landing to meet emergency egress requirements. Some operators chased down recurring oxygen system leaks. The function, fit and finish of interior items isn’t up to best industry standards.
For now, the Legacy 650 has created its own entry-level niche in the long-range, large-cabin business aircraft class. It’s more practical than posh, true to its jetliner family roots. It’s “tough as a boot,” according to operators, and easy to fix if it breaks. It has strong appeal to some CFOs who might wince at the price tag of some other large-cabin aircraft. Operators also say that no manufacturer is more committed to listening to customers than Embraer, more dedicated to continuous product improvement. In the short term, all that bodes well for this versatile, cost-effective performer.
Read the full article by Fred George - Embraer Legacy 650 Operators Survey