Embraer took a step closer to filling out its business jet product line with the first flight of its Legacy 450, the smaller sibling of the midsize Legacy 500 that has been in test flight for a little more than a year.

The “mid-light” 450 completed its first flight Dec. 28, kicking off what Embraer expects to be about a yearlong flight test and certification campaign.

The 450 flight came relatively on target with the revised scheduled set once Embraer had ironed out fly-by-wire issues that had set back both the 450 and 500 by more than a year. The first flight, which lasted 95 min., evaluated handling and performance characteristics, covering a significant portion of the flight envelope.

Embraer test pilot Eduardo Camelier, who flew the aircraft with Eugenio Cara and flight test engineer Carlos Kobayashi, calls the first flight a success. “The full fly-by-wire system, with side stick flight controls, made the flight very smooth,” Camelier says. “With the advanced avionics suite, the aircraft operation was very easy and intuitive.”

Embraer launched the all-new Legacy 450 alongside the 500 aircraft – originally dubbed the Midlight Jet (MLJ) and Midsize Jet (MSJ) – during the 2008 European Business Aviation Convention and Exposition. The aircraft are designed to fill the gaps in the product line between the Phenom 300 light jet and the Legacy 600 super midsized aircraft.

The Brazilian airframer decided first to concentrate on the 500 with original plans for certification in late 2012 and the 450 following about a year later. The 500 flew in November 2012, and certification is now anticipated in the first half of 2014.

The 450 is a shorter version of the 500 with less range. But while positioned as a mid-light, it has a midsized-aircraft range of 2,500 nm and a 6-ft. flat-floor cabin. Embraer in October announced that it had boosted the range of the 450 from 2,300 nm to 2,500 nm with four passengers. It has seating for between six-nine passengers, and the standard cabin will include four fully reclining club seats that can be berthed into two beds. The aircraft also has 150 cubic feet of baggage space.

In addition to fly-by-wire, both aircraft are equipped with the Pro Line Fusion flight deck and are launching the Rockwell Collins optional HGS-3500 head-up guidance system in the midsize categories with its new multi-spectral EVS-3000. Powered by Honeywell HTF7500E turbofans producing 6,080 lbst, the 450 will cruise at Mach 0.82 and have a 4,000 ft. takeoff field length.

Because of its commonality with the 500, the 450 development program will benefit from the more than 4,500 hr. of iron bird testing and 16,000 hr. of system testing that the Brazilian airframer had completed on the 500 by the end of the third quarter.

Embraer, meanwhile, is planning to more than double its footprint in Melbourne, Fla., for assembly of both the 450 and 500, in addition to production at its Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil headquarters.