Im­pres­sive Legacy

WINGS A short test-flight proves that Em­braer has suc­ceeded in its de­sire for the Legacy 450 to be all things to all (busi­ness)men.

Robb Report (Malaysia) - - Wheels - By Daryl lee

The Em­braer Legacy 450 sits squarely in the mid­dle of the Brazil­ian man­u­fac­turer’s range of pri­vate jets and is priced com­pet­i­tively, given it has a laun­dry list of ad­vanced spec­i­fi­ca­tions and room f or u p t o n ine p as­sen­gers (de­pen­dent on con­fig­u­ra­tion).

Its range of 2,904 nau­ti­cal miles means that it can reach pretty much ev­ery ma­jor city in South-east Asia, East Asia and In­dia, reach­ing as far afield as the Mal­dives and Alice Springs. Un­for­tu­nately, the Legacy 450 will not reach Tokyo with­out a re­fu­elling stop, which seems like a bit of a glar­ing omis­sion.

That said, should reach­ing Ja­pan’s cap­i­tal city be a key con­sid­er­a­tion, you’ll want to make the small step up to the Legacy 500, which is es­sen­tially the same plane as the Legacy 450 though with a slightly longer fuse­lage and a 3,125 nau­ti­cal mile range. Un­for­tu­nately, Em­braer will want ap­prox­i­mately US$20 mil­lion (RM88 mil­lion), be­fore op­tions, for the priv­i­lege, against the S$16,570,000 (RM52 mil­lion) list price the Legacy 450 com­mands. That’s a notin­signif­i­cant amount of money, and the Legacy 450’s seg­ment ri­vals from Cessna, Bom­bardier and Gulf­stream will match and in some re­spect, beat the Em­braer.

Clau­dio Came­lier, Em­braer’s re­gional vice-pres­i­dent for sales, stresses that the Legacy 450 is not pitched as the bud­get op­tion, with its value ly­ing in its mod­ern air­frame and fly-by-wire tech­nol­ogy that makes for a safer plane.

In ad­di­tion to that, the Legacy 450 (and by ex­ten­sion its big­ger brother, the 500) has a num­ber of clever lit­tle fea­tures that could help

bring own­er­ship costs down. It’s built with mod­u­lar­ity and ease of ser­vic­ing in mind – an ex­am­ple is in the win­dow panel as­sem­bly which of­fers lo­calised dis­as­sem­bly with­out hav­ing to re­move the en­tire in­te­rior panel and seats.

All that wouldn’t mean much if the Legacy 450 didn’t per­form well, and on that front, I’m happy to say it per­forms more than ad­mirably, in­so­far as can be told from a halfhour flight from Sin­ga­pore to Kuala Lumpur.

The Legacy 450’s short run­way take- off ca­pa­bil­i­ties were demon­strated as it de­parted Sele­tar Air­port with su­perb agility while climb­ing to its cruis­ing al­ti­tude.

And while the Legacy 450 has traits en­demic to all small jets - such as agility and air­field flex­i­bil­ity - it also has qual­i­ties once found only on larger planes. It has jumbo jet lev­els of quiet­ness and is rock solid dur­ing tur­bu­lence, though on that last point, full credit has to be given to my pi­lot.

Cabin lux­ury is, of course, su­perla­tive, with but­tery leather up­hol­stery and seats that slide on un­can­nily smooth rails.

Em­braer’s pri­vate jet di­vi­sion may be the new­est kid on the block – it de­liv­ered its first ‘proper’ prod­uct at the end of 2008 – but it’s def­i­nitely go­ing places fast.

That’s no real sur­prise, I sup­pose, based on the strength of the Legacy 450 here. www.em­braerex­ec­u­tive­ ≠

Cabin lux­ury is, of course, su­perla­tive.

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