You probably know Embraer by its line of smaller so-called “regional” jets that typically fly short distances and feed into major airline hubs. These are the popular E175s and E195s that have displaced the cramped CRJs in the regional jet space.
But did you know Embraer is also in the business of building private or “business” jets for companies or high net worth individuals?
In October, the Brazilian aerospace company jetted its executives into Mineta San Jose Airport to show off its new private jet, the Legacy 500, which seats 8-12 passengers, and costs around $20 million. It’s considered a “midsize” private jet, falling between the popular 4-seat Phenom (which it also makes) and the better known larger models like Gulfstreams and Learjets. (Scroll down for slide show)
Built in Melbourne, Florida, the Legacy 500 is considered a “stand up” jet, which means it has a flat floor and passengers can stand up in the aisle- I could do that when onboard, but at 6 feet, my hair grazed the ceiling. The jet’s flight range is about 3,000 miles, which means it can make nonstop cross-country and Hawaii trips, but can’t cross oceans.
In addition to showing the Legacy 500 off to Silicon Valley tech companies (or their billionaire owners or investors) Embraer invited a few media types down for a look and a quick spin out over the Pacific Ocean at sunset.
Come along with me and take a peek at how the other half of business travelers live!
At SJC, business and private jets are handled on the west side of the runways. In this case, Embraer used Atlantic Aviation.
Once we boarded and doors closed, we taxied for about two minutes and took off into the sunset over the Pacific Ocean. The G-force of the plane taking off felt exhilarating- and so quiet. Flying on this smooth and quiet jet felt “like buttah!” I could so easily get used to this!
As we made our way back to SJC, I took a walk up to the cockpit for a chat with pilots– who clearly love flying this plane. On the Embraer, like the Airbus, there is no “yoke” or steering wheel. Pilots use small sticks– almost like video games– to guide the plane when autopilot is off.
Have you ever been lucky enough to fly on a private or business jet? What do you think about the Embraer planes you’ve flown on? Please leave your comments below.