I flew on a R144 million Embraer Phenom 300E and I now understand why it's the most popular private jet in the world
- The Embraer Phenom 300E made its world debut last October at the National Business Aviation Association conference and exhibition in Las Vegas.
- The updated 300E builds on the success of the original Phenom 300 that entered service in 2010.
- Since 2013, the Phenom 300 has been the most delivered private jet in the world.
- The Phenom 300E has room for as many as 10 passengers and can fly more than 2,200 miles.
- The Embraer Phenom 300E costs $9.45 million (R136 million) while most customers end up paying around $10 million (R144 million).
- For more stories, go to Business Insider South Africa.
The Embraer Phenom 300 has been an unqualified success since its debut in 2010. Over the past half-decade, more customers have taken delivery of the Phenom 300 than any other private jet in the world. According to Embraer, it has delivered more than 400 of the planes to customers in roughly 40 countries around the world.
In October 2017, Embraer unveiled an updated version of the plane called the Phenom 300E at the 2017 National Business Aviation Association conference and exhibition in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In case you're wondering, the "E" in 300E stands for enhanced. It's in reference to the extra dose of technology and luxury Embraer baked into its new plane.
The Phenom 300E enters the light business jet segment to some stiff competition from traditional stalwarts like Textron's Cessna Citation CJ3+ and Bombardier's Learjet 70. There are even new entrants like Switzerland's Pilatus PC-24.
Even though Embraer is a renowned Brazilian planemaker, the company builds its dedicated private jets like the Phenom and Legacy 500 at its facility in Melbourne, Florida. It's larger, commercial airliner-derived private jets like the Legacy 650E and the Lineage 1000E will continue to be produced in Brazil.
Last year, Business Insider got the chance to experience the Phenom 300E in person on a short a demo flight from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to White Plains in New York.
Teterboro is also where we checked out the $20 million (roughly R283 million) Embraer Legacy 500 in 2017.
Here's a closer look at the new Embraer Phenom 300E:
Here is the Embraer Phenom 300E waiting for me at Teterboro Airport.
The Phenom 300E is 15,6 metres long and 5,1 metres tall.
It boasts a wingspan of 15,9 metres.
Despite its classification as a light jet, the Phenom 300E's aesthetics makes it look and feel larger than its actual size.
Power comes from a pair of Pratt & Whitney Canada PW535-E turbofan engines —each producing 1,524kg of thrust.
Hidden just below the left engine is...
...A cargo compartment. It, along with another compartment in the nose of the plane, help the Phenom offer up to 2 cubic metres of cargo room.
However, inside the cabin is where you'll see the biggest changes to the Phenom.
Step inside and you'll come to our test plane's two-person divan.
The divan's multi-tone, diamond stitched upholstery is a give away that this isn't your run-of-the-mill private jet. More on interior design later. But first...
... The divan features a fold-down armrest equipped with a slot that allows passengers to prop up tablets and smartphones. The Phenom is also equipped with high-speed Wifi so passengers can stream video.
In total, the Phenom 300E can carry up to 10. However, our demonstrator is configured for eight passengers.
Looking forward towards the front of the cabin is...
...A small galley with a cupboard and...
Hidden behind a set of sliding doors at the back of the cabin is a private bathroom complete with toilet, mirror, and...
Shortly after climbing on board, I settled into my seat. The P&W turbofan engines quickly ushered us down the runway into New Jersey airspace. We head north before turning east towards the Connecticut coast.
Here's the New York skyline in the distance. The flight proved to be smooth and the cabin remained comfortably quiet for the entire duration.
Here's a nice view of Connecticut from the plane as we turn south to land in White Plains, New York.
The Phenom 300E can fly as high as 13,000 metrest. From take off until 8,000 metres of altitude, the Phenom's cabin is pressurized to mimic the conditions at sea level. Above that, it's pressurized to the equivalent of 2,000 metres. Most commercial airliners are pressurized to 2,400 metres while new carbon composite jets like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350 are pressurized to around 1,800 metres.
But I was really blown away by the new cabin put in place by Embraer's interior design team led by company vice president Jay Beever. It's a great balance of style and functionality. There's also a ton of styling cues taken from the automotive world.
After all, before working on jets, Beever spent his time at Ford's now-disbanded Premier Automotive Group which included brands like Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, and Volvo. Here he is last year during our test flight of the Legacy 500.
A great example of Jay's commitment to style and functionality is the diamond stitch, multi-tone seat. They remind me of the last Bentley I drove. But, it's the fine details that really impress. Jay's team was able to widen the aisle by designing a trick carbon fibre fold-away armrest.
Take a look at seat's handles. As you can see, there are leather accents that match the upholstery. However, what you can't see are the soft leather patches on the inside of the handles only your fingers will know are there. There's also a divider that keeps your fingers from getting jammed by the handle. Details!
Here's another example of where style meets functionality. The cupholders are designed to look like Embraer had to drill through a layer of wood and a layer of metal just to install it. There's also a built-in slot for your smartphone.
Jay also subscribes to the thinking that the rapid pace of technological development means it's best to hide the cabin tech so your plane doesn't look out of date a few years after you buy it. As a result, there's a stylish lid hiding...
... This touchscreen that controls the cabin's tech features.
Look up and you'll see a black tech panel running along the spine of the jet. When not in use, the panel goes dark and looks like a stylish strip of glass.
In reality, it's hiding a pair of infotainment displays.
There are also touch buttons that light up when you trigger proximity sensors.
Up front, the Phenom 300E is equipped with a state-of-the-art Prodigy Touch Flight Deck running Garmin 3000 avionics. It's equipped with a trio of interchangeable 14.1-inch displays, a synthetic vision augmented reality system, and reactive wind shear alerting.
Phenom 300E uses a traditional control yoke instead of the side stick found on the Legacy 500.
Here are the pilots for our flight. You can actually do solo flights on the Phenom 300E. It's certified for single-pilot operation.
According to Embraer, the Phenom 300E can cruise at speeds as high as 838 km/h with a range of more than 3,000km.
The Embraer Phenom 300E costs $9.45 million (R136 million) but, with custom features and optional extras, most customers end up paying closer to $10 million (R144 million).
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