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E-asy does it

Embraer’s E2 programme officially turned from concept into a physical presence in February this year. As the first E190-E2 rolled out in Sao Jose dos Campos, Ian Putzger looks at what the new aircraft has to offer

Embraer launched the E2 programme at the Paris Air Show in 2013, after an initial decision to upgrade its E series was announced near the end of 2011.


The aircraft that made its first appearance on February 26 is the first of four E190-E2 prototypes that will undergo the upcoming tests and certification efforts, with market entry scheduled for the first half of 2018. They will be joined by two of the larger E195-E2s, which are scheduled to start deliveries in 2019. The third and smallest variant of the programme, the E175-E2, is due to enter the market in 2020, with three prototypes planned for the certification programme.


Luis Carlos Affonso, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Embraer Commercial Aviation, says that progress has gone well since the roll-out. “We are absolutely on schedule. There are no major issues so far,” he states.


“We will do the first flight in a complete configuration, including all the functionalities,” he adds.


The three new types share the same fuselage cross section with their predecessors but are equipped with new engines and wings, reducing fuel burn and increasing range. The E190-E2 is unchanged in size from the original E190, accommodating up to 114 seats. For the 175 type, Embraer is adding one seat row to take it up to 90 passengers, while the E195-E2 will have three additional seat rows for a maximum passenger load of 144.


As in the current E series, seating is in a two-plus-two configuration. While the fuselage cross section has remained unchanged, the manufacturer has revamped the cabin interior with baggage bins that are 40% larger.


Last year the E2 cabin interior won the Crystal Cabin Award at the annual Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany. The cabin concept, which was developed in partnership with UK design firm Priestmangoode, promotes increased personal space for passengers and their carry-on luggage, and is based on a modularity concept designed to bring greater flexibility for airlines to reconfigure the cabin.


Besides new engines and wings, the new series has a new avionics system and some of the technology has been changed to improve reliability, Affonso notes. For additional protection against corrosion, titanium parts are added in the floor beams.


The upgrade comes relatively early into the E series programme; the first E170s were delivered in 2004. “The current E Series is still a very successful programme,” notes Phil Seymour, President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Bureau of Aviation. Faced with the development of Bombardier’s CSeries and Mitsubishi’s MRJ, both equipped with new Geared Turbo Fan (GTF) engines, Embraer felt compelled to go for an upgrade incorporating GTF power plants too, he says.


Given the price of kerosene at the time of the launch of the programme, the move marked a great value proposition, though this looks less compelling now. The Pratt & Whitney GTF engines give the new aircraft an 11% reduction in fuel burn.


Additional fuel savings of 3.5% come from the new wings that Embraer is fitting to the E2s. Originally, the company had planned to introduce two new wing designs with a new aerofoil, for the E175 and E190/195 variants respectively, but in February, just days before the roll-out of the first E190-E2, management announced a design revamp that would bring in a new wing for the E195-E2. The new wing, 1.4m longer, will give the aircraft an extension in range and increase take-off weight by two tonnes. According to Embraer, this translates to a range of 2,450nm from a take-off at sea level, with up to an additional 250nm range when flying from high-altitude airports.  >>

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