Embraer’s E195-E2 has commenced its flight test program with a successful maiden flight at the company’s Sao Jose dos Campos facility.
The largest variant of the E2 family of regional jets, powered by two Pratt & Whitney PurePower geared turbofan engines, took off at 1122 local time on March 29 and flew for two hours, Embraer said in a statement.
The flight tested the aircraft’s performance, flight quality, systems behaviour such as autopilot, fly-by-wire in direct mode and the landing gear retraction.
Pilots Márcio Brizola Jordão and José Willi Pirk were at the controls, accompanied by flight engineers Celso Braga de Mendonça and Mario Ito.
Embraer rolled out the first E195-E2 in early March. It originally planned for the first flight to take place in the second half of calendar 2017, meaning it has come months ahead of schedule.
The company plans to have two aircraft for the E195-E2 certification program. While the aircraft that flew on Wednesday would focus on aerodynamic and performance tests, the second airframe that was expected to make its first flight before the end of calendar 2017 will be used for validation of maintenance tasks and of the interior.
Entry-into-service was planned for the first half of 2019 with launch customer Azul Brazilian Airlines.
The E195-E2 is one of three models in the E2 family of jets and can seat between 120 and 146 passengers, depending on configuration. The E190-E2 was currently in flight testing, with four aircraft in the certification program.
The E2 improves on the current generation E-jets with new aerodynamically advanced, high-aspect ratio, distinctively shaped wings, improved systems and avionics, including fourth generation full fly-by-wire flight controls.
This was expected to result in double-digit reductions in fuel and maintenance costs compared with the current E-jet family. From an environmental perspective, the new aircraft also produced less emissions and less noise. The aircraft will also have a new interior with larger overhead bins and a new first class concept, among other interior improvements.
The other two E2 models were the E175-E2, which seats 80-90 passengers, and the E195-E2 (97-114 seats).
The E190-E2 was due to receive certification in the first half of calendar 2018, with European regional carrier Widerøe the launch customer.
The company said the E2 family of aircraft had logged 275 firm orders – of which 90 were for the E195-E2 – and 450 options, purchase rights and letters of intent since the program was launched in June 2013.
E-jets are flown by about 70 customers in 50 countries, including Airnorth, Cobham, Jetgo and Virgin Australia (which is withdrawing its E190 fleet) in this part of the world.
Embraer posted a short video of the first flight on its YouTube channel: