Embraer Legacy 650
The modern cornerstone of the Embraer business jet lineup, the large Legacy 650, is based on the bestselling Legacy 600, which in turn became a very successful conversion of a regional jet. Its reliability, attractive pricing, and lots of cabin volume for the money made the aircraft a popular one around the world. Embraer has already shipped over 100 of these machines since it started deliveries in 2010.
Apart from new aircraft, there are many preowned large-cabin business jets for sale. To be successful, a new model really has to push its way through to the top. The Legacy 650 seems to have what it takes: a ferry range of 3880 nm (7186 km) is almost equal to that of its longest-range competitors, the Falcon 2000LXS (4148 nm) and Challenger 650 (4019 nm). When fully loaded, the difference becomes negligible to the benefit of the Brazilian plane.
By cabin volume, the Legacy 650 belongs in a higher class, while its cavernous baggage compartment of 286 cu ft is matched and bettered only by its own larger sibling – the Lineage 1000. Not even the Gulfstream G650 comes close.
22 windows make the interior light and add a bit more space, though it has to be said that the Legacy is quite a narrow plane that offers more length but not width than the competition. Still, many feel that a full-size three-zone cabin and a virtually unlimited trunk is worth the sacrifice of a few inches in width. Only the Challenger 850 can offer a cabin that is substantially wider while being of a similar length, however, its flight range is a whole 800 nm less, which makes it much less flexible.
Walking the Cabin
The Legacy 650 interior is traditionally divided into three cabin zones, which can be configured slightly differently according to customer needs. 6–7 berths can be arranged by moving the chairs and folding out the divan, while the total number of seats goes up to 13.
The forward galley is well-equipped to store, cook, and serve meals of any complexity. The master lavatory is located at the back, also granting access to the baggage compartment. An additional lavatory is available in the front, while the aft state room can be shut off from the rest of the cabin to ensure privacy. The Honeywell Ovation Select cabin management system is up-to-date and performs as one would expect on a modern business jet: the owner can sync his mobile device and use it to control lighting, window blinds, music and video, Airshow settings, etc. The same can also be done using individual touch panels built into the side ledge. Screens of various sizes are available both for separate chairs and for the bulkheads. The drastically improved soundproofing deserves a special mention, as the Legacy 650 has become a much more comfortable aircraft in this respect than its predecessor.
The Honeywell Primus Elite avionics suite has all that it takes to fly safely, although it has to be said that even the Embraer lineup already features the much more advanced Legacy 450/500 models with fly-by-wire and a brand new glass cockpit. Nevertheless, the Legacy 650 cockpit with its LCD monitors and a number of advanced navigation and flight awareness features helps reduce pilot workload and ensure a safe flight. Since 2012 the plane comes with the SmartRunway and SmartLanding systems that help crews on final approach and landing even in poor visibility.
In a comfortable configuration, a new Embraer Legacy 650 comes a couple of million cheaper than it competition, while a 5-year aircraft can be bought on the preowned market at half the price, and the prices are continuing their gradual decline in favour of the buyer. It’s hard to find a better plane in terms of cabin volume for the dollar, and although the Brazilian plane has slightly higher operating costs than the Falcon 2000LXS and Challenger 650, for many its benefits are sufficient to overlook this fact.