Affordable Luxury Of Flight

Whatever luxurious a limousine salon may be, its dimensions don’t allow to stand at a full height. To take another seat you would have to bend down. It would seem uncomfortable, but it never comes to a head to call luxury cars uncomfortable. Interior dimensions look natural, and the limitations are not so obvious.
It applies to the small class aircraft as well. Sometimes, these aircraft are not taken as very roomy or even cramped. But they cope successfully with the regional flights and can offer a decent ratio of comfort, price and functionality.

With Low Start

Phenom 300 is the latest development of the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer, Embraer. In this model all the wishes of the future owners and operators are taken into account, and some of the most advanced achievements of the industry are embodied, such as well-thought out aerodynamics, advanced avionics, and reliable efficient engines.

Though the dimensions of the passenger compartment are rather modest (width — 1,55 m height — 1,50 m), six or seven seats, kitchen counter, bar and toilet could be accommodated on board. Tourists, who are watching carefully the folds on the flaps of their jackets, may refer to the lack of wardrobe. But it can be organised, though, sacrificing the sink. Such compromises are inevitable, but do not forget: this aircraft costs three to four times cheaper than any business jet of maxi-class.

“Three hundredth” is capable of landing at insignificant air harbors with very short runways. It possesses a low fuel consumption and does not require frequent operational checks, and therefore quite cheap to operate. But the most important benefit is that Phenom 300 is certified for a minimum flight crew of one pilot. That is why it is so popular among the owners, who prefer to pilot their aircraft on their own. Moreover, the business jet came to the court of air taxi services and also airlines operating in the segment of fractional ownership. Not without reason in the middle of October, NetJets has announced the purchase of 50 Phenom 300 and the option for another 75 machines. In the post-crisis conditions such billion-dollar contract is destined to become a deal of the year.

Since commissioning in late December 2009 Embraer has supplied 25 aircraft to American, Middle Eastern and Brazilian customers. However, “The three hundredth” has successfully surmounted the Atlantic — he joined the fleets of four European companies. In the vastness of the former Soviet bloc, these machines have not shown themselves yet. However, according to the Director of Sales of Embraer company in Russia, CIS and Baltics, Nicholas Goloviznina, “an interest in the Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 has been developed by operators in Russia and CIS countries ”.

Ukranian airlines show a great interest to the Light machines. “In Ukraine purchase, maintenance, parking are cheaper. Also there is no need to ferry planes to Europe constantly, it can be operated under its own flag, — says Goloviznin.- There are clients that fall into the category of affluent individuals who purchase business jets, but not for $ 50 million. In Russia we have quite a number of these people, but for some reason they prefer a business charter to purchasing aircraft. ”

In Style Of Auto

Of course, the Ukraine locates a bit closer to Europe, but from Moscow “three hundredth” will easily reach Dublin or Toulouse, Cairo or Kuwait, Tomsk or Norilsk. Four-hour flight will not be difficult to sustain even without leaving a comfortable chair, and the distance between the seat backs will allow to relax and stretch out your legs freely. But why you should rise to feet? All is at hand: sliding polished table, individual lighting, control elements “smart room”, and a variety of multimedia connections.

There is no denying that the salon of ’three hundredth" has a subtle, albeit a bit cold style. Feeling is as though you are in the cab of an expensive SUV. This is not surprising: the design of the passenger compartment was developed by the artists of Designworks USA, a member of the BMW Group. All works of the group are distinguished by strictness of the lines, elegance of details and incomparable functionality. Of course, when decorating the “Phenom” flight of fancy is rather strictly limited by dimensions. But if a purchaser wants more, variations are permissible. So, as a floor covering a carpet, laminate or wood can be considered. It’s possible to choose veneer for kitchen and toilet partition. Play with a texture and colors of leather or fabric coverings. Offered palette of colors and textures is huge, but the buyers are more attracted by classical models, they prefer beige interior and dark wood. In Europe, a little more practical coloration is in demand: shades of gray of side panels and light-coloured seats.

The standard version has only six seats in the cabin. If the kitchen is reduced, there will be a room for the seventh seat or, instead of it, a small sofa for two along the board.

Familiar Electronics

The aircraft is equipped with modern electronics Prodigy Flight Deck 300, made on the basis of the complex of avionics Garmin G1000. Large displays, flight control system with a graphical representation of flight and weather information, two-channel three-axis autopilot, system of troubleshooting of engines and failure warning — as a rule, these are the attributes of machines and the cost of higher dimension, but the basic version of the Phenom 300 is equipped with these devices.

The vital flight information is perfectly structured and displayed on the one display. So that the pilot does not need to switch attention between separated indicators, looking for the necessary details. The management of electronics functions is carried out by keyboard.

“Garmin G1000 is a well-established system, which was firstly used on piston „Cessna“. It is mounted in great numbers on the „caravans“ and „Mustangs„. A lot of pilots are trained on this logic,“ says Nikolay Goloviznin. Often you hear the joke that it is much easier to move from the piston „Cessna“ or „Mustang“ on the Phenom 300 than on reactive Citation Jet. „The Prodigy 300 remained the same ideology, a few new features are added,“ — Nicholas continues.

Comparing The Choice

Hawker 400XP Learjet 40XR Cessna Citation CJ4
Hawker 400XP Learjet 40XR Citation CJ4"

Each new machine of Brazilian aircraft manufacturers becomes a serious competitor to its classmates. So Phenom 300 has broken the power balance on the market of small machines, where the favorites are Hawker 400XP, Learjet 40XR, Cessna and Citation CJ4. The compared aircraft offer similar transverse dimensions of the passenger compartment. Ceilings of CJ4 and Hawker 400XP are by 5 cm lower than that of Phenom 300 and Learjet 40XR, which seems as a great difference as a height is about one and a half meters. As a rule, small-class aircraft cabin space is formed by a groove, drawn in the middle of the cabin. Both the Phenom 300 and a Citation CJ4 have such hollows in the floor. In contrast, a „four hundredth“ and Learjet 40XR have a flat floor. So, no chance to stumble. However, at floor level the „Fortieth“ cabin is somewhat narrower than that of Hawker 400XP.

In case of small machines, where every inch counts, additional 5-7 cm in width, as in „Finoma“ and „Learjet“, look like an important advantage. As long as the cabin length is concerned Phenom 300, Citation CJ4 and Learjet 40XR are virtually identical, but the passenger compartment of Hawker 400XP is for about half a meter shorter.

Whereas cabins have rather similar dimensions, manufacturers declare quite a significant variation in capacity. However, seven to eight seats is enough for a comfortable accommodation of passengers in the salon. Ten people in the „three-hundredth“ is an extreme variant: six of them are on seats, two — on a sofa, one is on the chair of the second pilot and the last one is... on top of the toilet.

Internal luggage compartments of all considered aircraft are quite small. In CJ4 and Phenom 300 in a locker under the sink a pair of portfolios can be placed, and on a nearby shelf — towels and toiletries. The „four hundredth“ has a striking difference, it can boast a real closet, where not only jackets fit, but the coats as well. But on the other hand, engineers of Cessna Aircraft and Embraer have provided roomy exterior racks, which are by one-third more volumetric than that of Hawker 400XP and Learjet 40XR. It makes possible to take even a few pairs of alpine skis, such a space will be envied by other middle class planes. But do not forget that external luggage racks are not airtight. You sould not leave perfumes, beverages (especially wine), laptops and other electronics there. They are not designed to carry musical instruments and pets.

RABBIT magazine
The article is published abridged. The full version you can find in Top Flight N9 (21), 2010

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