Would you step into an aircraft with “666” as part of its registration – the number of the beast for those who are superstitious – let alone fly in it?
Malaysia’s first Embraer Legacy 500, a midsize business jet made by Brazil’s Embraer, arrived at Senai International Airport in Johor Bahru (JHB) after a long ferry flight from São José dos Campos around mid-March.
With triple sixes in the aircraft’s registration, the USD20 million private plane is the first medium cabin business jet with digital flight controls, based on fly-by-wire technology. It can fly at 45,000 feet and is powered by two Honeywell HTF7500E engines, touted as the “greenest” in its class.
Perhaps one of the best things about the jet is its range – 3,125 nautical miles, or 5,788 km, with four passengers. That means it can fly non-stop from JHB to Delhi (DEL), Perth (PER) or Tokyo (HND).
Endau Analytics was invited to review the jet this past week.
We took off late morning from JHB in clear, sunny conditions, with two pilots and five passengers. Destination: Penang.
The Legacy 500 can take off in just over 4,000 feet and with the runway at JHB at over 12,000 feet, it was a cinch for the plane to make a quick, swift getaway. Its maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) is 37,919 pounds.
Interestingly the Legacy 500 can land in around half that distance (4,000 feet), meaning this plane is perfect for many small airports in ASEAN.
Once in the air, the first impression is the stillness (very quiet) and the spaciousness (floor-to-ceiling is 6 feet) as well as its simple yet elegant bespoke interior.
We were kindly requested not to show the cabin interior by its owner, a low profile, unassuming businessman.
The Legacy 500 has a fabulous cockpit. It sports Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics, with four 15-inch displays, with options like paperless operations capability, auto brakes and the Embraer Enhanced Vision System, which includes a Head Up Display (HUD).
Our commander during the flight was Embraer trainer pilot Captain Luiz Salgado, who took us cruising at 32,000 feet at around Mach 0.8.
In about an hour we landed at Penang’s Bayan Lepas International Airport. The landing was smooth and quick, assisted by the jet’s carbon brakes and brake by wire.
Conclusion: the Legacy 500 is a private jet that punches above its class. At its list price, the jet is certainly value for money, with comfort level, safety and performance matching many aircraft priced higher.
By the way, here in Asia, the number 6 has a different connotation. Our Chinese friends are quick to remind skeptics that “666” or “liuliuliu” in Chinese means smooth or skilled.