Clive Girven discusses the Embraer Phenom 100, a clean sheet design. It is not merely an updated 40 year old model like much of the competition, but harnesses modern technology and design.
Embraer have been in the highly competitive market of executive jet production for 10 years. In the past they have successfully adapted their own mainstream aircraft for this market. The Phenom 100 is a clean sheet designed aircraft from Embraer. It is not merely an updated 40 year old model like much of the competition, but harnesses modern technology and design.
With an open mind clearly focused on the customer and with no pre-conceived ideas Embraer set about designing a light executive jet for the 21st century. The company’s DNA is quite evident, with their design skills, attention to detail, superb craftsmanship and philosophy of operation coming to the fore. It all ensures that the finished product is of the highest quality and durability.
Comfort without parallel
With its patented Oval Lite cross-section the Phenom has the largest fuselage profile for an aircraft in its segment. In fact, it goes beyond that and exceeds the dimensions of many in the sector above. And that allows two essential ingredients for the business traveller – space and comfort, so you and your 3 fellow passengers feel refreshed on arrival.
Both the cabin and cockpit benefit from Embraer’s brilliant collaboration with the BMW Group Designworks USA. When you step on board you will see no bulky dated furnishings, instead finely crafted sleek ergonomic seating grace the cabin. A light and airy environment is enhanced with the largest windows of its category. The Phenom’s intelligent climate control system keeps the cabin temperature pleasant at altitude. The cabin is surprisingly quiet and with its soft or satiny surfaces and mood lighting tranquillity is assured!
Designed to fulfil
Depending on how you wish to have your aircraft configured all creature comforts can be provided. With a forward refreshment centre time onboard should literally fly by and there is a rear washroom to freshen up.
Once again the Phenom beats the opposition in its class, having the largest hold. Golf clubs or skis are not a problem. The only real problem would be having enough bags to fill the Phenom’s 71 cu.ft capacity.
If a last minute passenger arrives and every seat is taken then that is not a problem. Unusually, the Phenom’s wash room can actually be reconfigured to provide an additional seat.
The Phenom 100 also has a big brother, the Phenom 300, the 300 being the large of the two. To the untrained eye they look the same aircraft but but there are subtle differences. A more swept wing is used. It is larger and can, therefore, hold more fuel than the 100 and consequently has a greater range. Fuel economy is aided with the use of winglets which reduce drag and the wing sweep allows the increase in maximum speed to 453kts or 0.78 Mach. These are speeds that many airliners find difficult to achieve. The cabin passenger seating configuration allows 6/9 (with belted toilet and 2-place divan use) on the 300 as opposed to 4/5 on the 100 and the addition of another row of windows ensures that the Phenom’s reputation for a bright and airy interior is preserved. A larger galley area can be provided with microwave and hot jug or can be the same as the one installed on the 100. This will free space for an additional seat.
Technology can be extremely useful in the busy airspace around the world. However, technology just for the sake of it can be an enormous hinderance., The Phenom is fitted with Embraer’s Prodigy’s™ flight deck, based around the Garmin G1000 avionics system. The name Garmin being synonymous with car Sat Nav, however they are also world leaders in all aspects of GPS navigation whether that is land, sea or air. The flight deck is dominated by three 12-inch screens with clear, concise and intelligently displayed information.
The system is a stroke of genius simplifying even the most time consuming and demanding of tasks, helping revolutionize pilot-avionics interface. Using a keypad allows complete control of all FMS, navigation and communication functions, The large-format screens display traditional cockpit information in an integrated fashion and puts all aircraft- systems, monitoring, situational awareness, and flight-planning functions at the pilot’s fingertips.
By design the Phenom is single-pilot certified if you wish to fly it yourself, however, European regulations require it to have two pilots when used for hire.
The Phenom Experience
To truly understand and appreciate a good watch, wine or car you have to hold, touch, taste, or put simply, experience it. For me that holds true for aircraft. Therefore, when an invitation arrived from FlairJet to sample the FlairJet Phenom experience I jumped at the opportunity.
FlairJet are based at London Oxford Airport, north of Oxford. They were the first operator of the Phenom in the UK and have a mixed fleet of Phenom 100’s and 300’s totalling 5 aircraft, all of which are less than 2 years old. They also have their own resident Embraer engineer who ensures that the fleet stays airborne and are maintained to the highest standard.
FlairJet provide first class private Jet Charter as well as Aircraft Management, Delivery and Training services.
On arrival I was directed to London Oxford Airport’s new business aviation centre. The waiting lounge was very pleasantly furnished, large panoramic windows looking out over the aircraft parking area and I could see the Phenom 100 poised for flight. It looked quite diminutive from a distance, however, it was set against a back-drop of Embraer’s top of the range business jet, the Lineage an aircraft of airline proportions!
As I was escorted out to the aircraft, and the closer I got, the more substantial it appeared. It was obvious to me that it was from the Embraer stable with certain design cues pointing to the Phenom’s heritage. This was even further confirmed, looking into the flight deck as I boarded, with the traditional 2 rams horn yokes taking centre stage.
The cabin exceeded my expectations, being extremely comfortable and airy. With two forward and two rear facing seats there was ample leg and shoulder room. Facing the rear proved a delightful way to travel allowing you to converse face to face with all your fellow passengers. Large windows, the size of which I have never seen in any commercial jet afforded a wonderful view.
A short safety briefing was given by the first officer and in less than 2 minutes we were engines running and were ready to taxi.
Conversation with my two fellow passengers was not hindered in any way by the engine or air conditioning noises which you often get with jet aircraft. In fact I would go so far as to say that they were barely noticeable, however, that was all about to change.
As we set off down the runway with the engines at full power an unusual thing happened, the cabin actually became quieter. How Embraer have achieved such low noise levels in the Phenom I will never know. It was absolutely amazing, holding a conversation was effortless. I would normally expect to hear a noticeable increase in engine noise and the blast from the air conditioning system, flap movement, hydraulics systems operating and the undercarriage moving, but nothing. The increased sound due to airflow over the fuselage as we accelerated did not intrude, tranquility.
I looked forward into the flight deck. It seemed simplicity itself. Once again I could see familiar switches and buttons from other Embraer’s but this time they seemed fewer in number.
Before I knew it we where on approach to land. Once again even with the aircraft in the landing configuration there was no noticeable increase in noise. Like the take off the landing used surprisingly little runway. Once clear of the runway and parked we where disembarking in no time at all. Its just a shame the flight could not have been a little longer and given me the opportunity to make use of the refreshment centre.
My thanks to FlairJet for a truly enlightening experience.
Forty years of jet production have meant that Embraer have been able to engineer reliability and longevity into the Phenom and by doing so helping to keep operating costs the lowest in its class. The Phenom is capable of 35,000 flight cycles (a cycle is one take off and landing), that’s more than double its closest competitor. It only requires simple maintenance and has long intervals between inspections, courtesy of MSG-3 maintenance methodology.
Under MSG3 work on an aircraft is broken down by zones or entire systems, so when dealing in a particular area or system, all potential components are serviced/replaced in one shot instead of having to go back multiple times to the same system or area. This greatly reduces many repetitive tasks and provides time and costs savings.
The Phenom’s fuel efficient engines were built with specific requirements by the world’s leading producer, Pratt and Whitney, which means time between overhaul is a lengthy 3500 hours.
Embraer’s world wide engineering and parts coverage means that you are never far away from assistance if, in the unlikely event, it should be required.
Desire and ability
New York – Nassau, Moscow – Baku, London – Lisbon are all easily achievable in the Phenom 100, combined with its short field capability those out of the way destinations now become accessible. Even noise sensitive airports are not a problem.
Would I invest in one? The Phenom 100 and 300 fly further faster and more economically than the opposition so the answer is simply – YES!
Specification Model – Phenom 100
Range – 1,178 nm
Mach No. – 0.70
High Speed Cruise – 390 knots
Maximum Ceiling – 41,000 ft
Take Off Field Length – 3125 ft
Specification Model – Phenom 300
Range – 1,971 nm
Mach No. – 0.78
High Speed Cruise – 453 knots
Maximum Ceiling – 45,000 ft
Take Off field Length – 3183 ft
Escapement.uk.com wishes to thank Embraer and FlairJet for their kind assistance with this article.
About the author
Clive Girven is an experienced commercial pilot, with a flying career which commenced in the British Royal Air Force, flying helicopters.
Clive flies an Embraer for a well-known airline but sometimes waxes lyrical about his other passion in life, collecting wristwatches with an aeronautical theme.
Angus is a self-confessed watch addict and is frequently asked to contribute to various printed magazines and websites around the globe. He also writes for individual watch companies on matters of horology and has appeared on television and radio as an industry expert.