I went on board the Embraer Phenom 300E and saw why this private jet is the most flown aircraft in the US

    An Embraer Phenom 300E on display at EBACE.

    Pete Syme/Business Insider

    The Embraer Phenom 300E is the most flown aircraft in the US.Plus, it’s the best-selling light jet of the past 12 years.See inside the compact aircraft that has a best-in-class speed of Mach 0.80.

    The most flown aircraft in the US is not only a private jet, but a light jet just 51 feet long.

    I went inside an Embraer Phenom 300E at the European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition in Geneva in May, and had a look around.

    It was a tight squeeze since the cabin is less than five feet tall, but this makes sense when you know the jet is designed for shorter journeys.

    The $10 million plane leads the light-jet sector — being the best seller for the past 12 years. That’s largely because it’s the fastest and has the furthest range at around 2,300 miles.

    Plus, it only requires one pilot to fly, reducing operational costs for customers.

    At the end of May, I visited Geneva to attend EBACE — Europe’s largest business aviation conference.

    Pete Syme/Business Insider

    The aircraft on display varied hugely, from four-seat turboprops to a fully customized Boeing 737 Max worth over $100 million.

    Pete Syme/Business Insider

    One of the more understated planes on display was the Embraer Phenom 300E, the newest version of the most flown aircraft in the US.An Embraer Phenom 300E on display at EBACE.

    Pete Syme/Business Insider

    Last August, the planemaker announced that the Phenom 300 logged over two million flight hours, overtaking the similarly-sized Cessna Citation Excel.

    A light jet powered by Pratt & Whitney PW500 engines, it has a range of around 2,300 miles.

    Pete Syme/Business Insider

    That’s just far enough to cross the US coast-to-coast.

    The Phenom 300 has also been the best-selling light jet for the last 12 years.

    I had to duck my head to fit inside the cabin, which is 4 feet and 11 inches tall, since it’s designed for shorter trips.

    Pete Syme/Business Insider

    The inside was indeed snug, but there was still space for a two-person divan in the galley …

    Pete Syme/Business Insider

    … As well as a small area for refreshments.

    Pete Syme/Business Insider

    The cockpit has two seats, but the 300E requires only one pilot. In fact, it’s the fastest and longest-range single-pilot jet on the market.

    Pete Syme/Business Insider

    Its top speed is Mach 0.80 — equivalent to 534 mph at 35,000 feet. By comparison, an Airbus A320neo usually cruises at Mach 0.78, or 520 mph.

    The 8 best ‘personal’ private jets that only require one pilot to fly

    It also uses fly-by-wire technology, which Embraer initially developed for its military aircraft.

    Pete Syme/Business Insider

    Instead of mechanical flight controls, fly-by-wire uses computer-controlled systems to process the pilots’ input. That also means better fuel efficiency as there are fewer parts and lighter wires.

    Concorde was the first commercial jet to use fly-by-wire until the Airbus A320, which proved to be a pivotal chapter in the competition between Airbus and Boeing.

    The cabin is configured with six seats.

    Pete Syme/Business Insider

    If you look closely you can see me in the mirror, hunched over quite uncomfortably. But again, since it’s a light jet, there isn’t usually much need to walk around the cabin.

    The four seats in the front have tables that pop out from the side, next to the vase of flowers.

    Pete Syme/Business Insider

    While the rear seats don’t have a table, there’s at least a drink holder and good legroom.

    Pete Syme/Business Insider

    In the aft, there’s a compact bathroom, where the toilet can also be used as a seat.

    Pete Syme/Business Insider

    Some of the larger jets I’ve seen, like the Gulfstream G700, don’t have a window in the bathroom, so that’s a nice luxury perk.

    Pete Syme/Business Insider

    Qatar Airways has received the world’s first $81 million Gulfstream G700 private jet as it caters to elite customers — take a look inside

    The Phenom 300E might be a smaller jet, but for many customers that’s all it needs to be. It’s easy to see why it’s proved popular thanks to its technical specs.

    Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

    In some ways, that also sums up Embraer’s commercial airliners. It’s the third main player behind Boeing and Airbus, but doesn’t compete directly since its narrowbody jets are smaller.An Embraer E195 at the 2019 Paris Air Show.

    ERIC PIERMONT/AFP via Getty Images

    The E175 and E195 are four-abreast regional jets, versus the six-abreast of a Boeing 737 or Airbus A320.

    Last month, Embraer denied a report from The Wall Street Journal that it was planning to build a new narrowbody jet to compete directly with the two, amid Boeing’s ongoing crisis.

    “Embraer certainly has the capability to develop a new narrowbody aircraft. However, we have a young and very successful portfolio of products developed in recent years, and we are really focused on selling those products and making Embraer bigger and stronger,” a spokesperson said.

    Read the original article on Business Insider


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