The Embraer Legacy 450 is one of the best business jets on the market, it’s not the whole package, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find another aircraft that offers so much for such a low price. However, sales of the Legacy 450 never took off and during its five-year production run, it didn’t sell well.
As a pilot, it’s always sad to see a superior aircraft not live up to its potential. Not all is lost however since the Legacy 450 paved the way for the more successful Praetor 500 jet that is now a major contender in its market segment. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and learn all about the Legacy 450.
By 2007, Embraer was a major player in the business jet market and wanted to expand its line-up to increase its influence in the market. At the time, the company didn’t have any aircraft to fill the gap between the smaller Phenom 300 and the large Legacy 600.
The gap between the two aircraft was a massive $19 million, which meant that if customers were planning on upgrading or downgrading, they would have to look outside Embraer. It was also estimated that the mid-size market segment accounted for 22 percent of the market and Embraer wanted a piece of the pie.
Embraer introduced its plans to build two clean-sheet aircraft to compete in the sector at the National Business Aviation Association convention. The aircraft were named the mid-light jet (MLJ) and the midsize jet (MSJ) and the public was treated with renderings of the aircraft and a full-size cabin mock-up.
Designing aircraft from scratch isn’t cheap and Embraer knew this from the beginning and planned to invest more than $500 million in the program. It focused its efforts on the larger MSJ because the MLJ was meant to be a shortened and less capable version.
From the get-go, Embraer knew what it wanted in terms of performance from the MLJ. The aircraft was to carry a maximum of eight passengers and fly a maximum range of 2,200 nm (5,185.6 km) with a high-speed cruise of Mach 0.78 and a service ceiling of 45,000 ft (13,716 m).
To achieve these performance numbers, Embraer considered engine options from Pratt and Whitney, Rolls-Royce, and Honeywell. It eventually solidified a deal with Honeywell for its HTF7500E turbofan engines and GTCP 36-150 auxiliary power unit. The company said that the HTF7500E produced the best performance while being fuel efficient and keeping noise and emissions to a minimum.
To supplement its raw performance, Embraer chose Rockwell Collins to provide its ProLine Fusion avionics suite. The system has four 15-inch displays as well as heads-up displays to provide the pilots with unprecedented situational awareness. The system gives the aircraft the ability to fly CAT II approaches, reducing diversions caused by adverse weather.
To design the interior, Embraer turned to BMW Group Designworks USA. The pairing had already produced the acclaimed interiors of the Phenom 100 and 300, and Embraer hoped this would continue with the MSJ and MLJ. For passenger entertainment, Honeywell’s Ovation Select system was chosen.
In 2008, Embraer finally named the two aircraft. The mid-light jet would become the Legacy 450, while the midsize jet would evolve into the Legacy 500. The two aircraft shared a 95% commonality because the Legacy 450 is essentially a Legacy 500 with 4 ft (1.22 m) removed from the fuselage.
The Legacy 450 was controlled by the pilots using an Airbus-like sidestick connected to a Parker Hannifin closed-loop fly-by-wire system. The aircraft also has auto throttles that function from takeoff to landing reducing pilot workload and allowing approaches in adverse conditions.
Embraer has ensured that the Legacy 450 will be one of the safest aircraft in the air with multiple redundancies built into each of the critical systems. The aircraft sports three generators, one in each engine and the APU. If everything goes awry, Embraer has installed a ram air turbine to help power the aircraft’s most critical systems.
Like the three generators, the hydraulic system of the Legacy 450 also has three fail safes. Each engine has a hydraulic pump, and should both engines fail, a third electric-powered pump will keep things running.
The generators power two direct current NiCad batteries running at 24 volts, should these give out, two emergency lead-acid batteries power the fuel system and fly-by-wire system.
Treating the Traveler
Embraer has a reputation for making comfortable aircraft and the Legacy 450 is no different. The smart design choices in the cabin reflect the manufacturer’s pedigree with business jets. Even though it’s a mid-size jet, the cabin is spacious measuring 6ft (1.83 m) high and 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) wide.
The cabin is pressurized and has a maximum altitude of 6,000 ft (1,829 m) which is lower than what most other jets offer. Lower cabin altitudes reduce passenger fatigue and other altitude-related problems. Towards the aft of the cabin, there is a lavatory and internal storage which can be accessed in flight.
The Legacy 450 typically carries six passengers, however, nine passengers can be transported when the optional divan and belted potty seat are added. Embraer has opted to make the two middle seats fully berthable, allowing passengers to get in a quick nap during their flight. The remaining seats swivel and allow all the passengers to interact with each other if they need to. The first two seats are in a club configuration and share tray tables, while the last two have their own.
Paving the Way
The Legacy 450 wasn’t as successful as Embraer had hoped, it only sold 57 units from 2014 to 2021. The main reason the Legacy 450 failed when its bigger brother, the Legacy 500, succeeded was because of the additional range, and load the latter was able to carry.
While the Legacy 450 was extremely attractive for the price, most customers chose to spend more money for more performance, and Embraer learned its lesson quickly. The Legacy 450 became the basis for the more successful Praetor 500, which fixes all of the latter’s shortcomings.
Embraer Legacy 450 Specifications
|Length||64 ft 7 in (19.69 m)|
|Tail Height||21 ft 1 in (6.43 m)|
|Fuselage Diameter||7 ft 6 in (2.28 m)|
|Wingspan||63 ft 2 in (19.25 m)|
|Wing Area||482.8 sq ft (44.85 sq m)|
|Wing Sweep Angle||27º|
|Height||6 ft (1.83 m)|
|Width||6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)|
|Internal Cargo Compartment||40 cu. ft (1.13 cu. m)|
|External Cargo Compartment||110 cu. ft (3.11 cu. m)|
|Maximum Ramp Weight||lbs (16,280 kg)|
|Maximum Take-Off Weight||35,759 lbs (16,220 kg)|
|Maximum Landing Weight||lbs (14,750 kg)|
|Basic Operating Weight||22,983 lbs (10,425 kg)|
|Maximum Zero Fuel Weight||(11,750 kg)|
|Maximum Payload||2,921 lbs (1,325 kg)|
|Maximum Fuel Capacity||10,393 lbs (4,962 kg)|
|Internal Cargo Maximum Weight||330 lbs (150 kg)|
|External Cargo Maximum Weight||88, lbs (400 kg)|
|Range||2,904 nm (5,378 km)|
|Maximum Cruise Speed||Mach 0.83|
|Long-Range Cruise Speed||Mach 0.77|
|Climb Duration to FL430||21 min (0.35 hrs)|
|Service Ceiling||45,000 ft (13,716 m)|
|Takeoff Field Length||3,907 ft (1,191 m)|
|Landing Field Length||2,090 ft (637 m)|
|Maximum Takeoff Thrust||6,637 lbf (29.53 kN)|
|Maximum Continous Thrust||6,376 lbf (28.36 kN)|
|Long-Range Fuel Burn Per Hour||213 US gal (806 l)|
|Fuel Economy||1.09 nm/gal (0.533 km/l)|
|Cabin Altitude||6,000 ft (1,829 m)|
|Wing Loading||74 lbs/sq ft (362 kg/ sq m)|
|Wake Turbulence Category||M|
|Flight Deck||Rockwell Collins ProLine Fusion|
|Cabin Management System||Honeywell Ovation Select|
|Auxiliary Power Unit||Honeywell GTCP 36-150|
|Fly By Wire System||Parker Hannifin|
Embraer Legacy 450 Performance and Handling
The Embraer Legacy 450 is one of the best handling jets in the midsize category, mainly because of its superb fly-by-wire system. The system operates in one of two modes: normal and direct. The former offers protections for the entire flight envelope thanks to the system’s computers adjusting all the control inputs from the pilot. The latter reduces the strength of the computers and makes the Legacy 450 behave like a conventional aircraft.
When taxiing the aircraft is steered exclusively with the rudder pedals, there is no tiller or help from the joystick. The nosewheel can move a total of 128 degrees, making getting out of tight spots a breeze. Too much steering angle can be disastrous if not handled carefully, but Embraer takes out the guesswork by reducing the steering angle the higher the ground speed.
The Legacy 450 can’t be mishandled. Pilots have tried but the system is better. In normal mode, the autothrottles and steering will take over if the aircraft is put in a compromising situation. Even in direct mode, there’s very little you can do to get in trouble. The Legacy 450’s fly-by-wire system will fly an approach from start to finish and will even auto-brake after landing.
At the time of release, the Legacy 450 and 500 were the only aircraft with a price tag of less than $50 million to feature fly-by-wire systems coupled with Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics. The fly-by-wire system for the Legacy 500 is what resulted in the aircraft being delayed, and the time Embraer took to polish the issues is apparent in its design. The system has no mechanical linkages to the primary flight controls and very little clutter.
The two Honeywell HTF7500E produce a maximum takeoff thrust of 6,637 lbf (29.53 kN), the number reduces to 6,376 lbf (28.36 kN) for maximum continuous thrust. Either way. Its enough power to propel the Legacy 450 from the ground to 45,000 ft in 21 min (0.35 hrs).
Embraer Legacy 450 Configuration Options
The seating of the Legacy 450 can be increased from the standard six seats to nine by adding an optional divan that seats two at the front of the cabin and a separate belted potty seat. The latter won’t be as comfortable, but it gets the job done. Customers can also choose to install a wet galley, but this occupies the same as the divan, so it’s one or the other.
The Honeywell’s Ovation Select cabin management system can be upgraded to provide high-definition video and surround-sound audio. For connectively, Rockwell Collins allows the customer to choose between Gogo, Iridium, or Inmarsat providers. The maximum data speed the system is capable of is 3.1 Mbps, with the connection being slightly slower when connected via WiFi.
Embraer Legacy 450 Price
The Embraer Legacy 450 isn’t the most capable aircraft among its competitors, the main limiting factor being the range of the aircraft at just 2,900 nm (5,371 km). But this can be easily overlooked when you look at the aircraft as a whole package.
The Legacy 450 is probably the most capable business jet for its price. In 2018, The starting price for a Legacy 450 was $17,000,000. Additional avionics add-ons and amenities can inflate the price even more.
Embraer Legacy 450 Resale Value
The Embraer sold very few Legacy 450s, 57 to be exact, so the secondhand market isn’t the best. But most customers don’t sell these aircraft mainly because Embraer offers a program that can convert the Legacy 450 to a Praetor 500.
This program allows customers to inject more life into the model, instead of selling and buying a new aircraft and potentially losing money in the progress. Additionally, it improves the secondhand value of the Legacy 450 because it can be converted.
Aircraft Cost Calculator states that the average price for a pre-owned Embraer Legacy 450 is $15,323,750.
Embraer Legacy 450 Orders and Deliveries
Embraer produced 57 Legacy 450s before production was discontinued. The table below shows how many units were delivered per year.
Embraer Legacy 450 Maintenance Schedule
The Legacy 450’s two Honeywell HTF7500E engines are part of a select few that don’t have a scheduled Hot Section Inspection (HSI) or overhaul time. Instead, these engines stay on the wings of the aircraft and are inspected according to a schedule set by Honeywell.
The engine is pulled off the aircraft to be maintained only if a fault is noted during inspection, an issue arises during normal operation, or a part has reached the end of its lifetime. To reduce the downtime of the aircraft, Embraer has adjusted the aircraft’s maintenance schedule to work with the engine schedule so that maintenance and inspections can be done on both simultaneously.
Airframe and Engine Inspection Schedule:
- 750 Hours: If the aircraft complies with the service bulletin SB AS907-72-9084 (which occurs at 250 hours), this inspection can be skipped.
- 1,500 Hours: The engine oil has to be changed.
- 2,250 Hours: Start fuel nozzles are replaced. This time can be used to complete service bulletin SB AS907-72-9001 Rev 2, as the areas needed are easily accessible during this inspection.
- 4,000/4,500 Hours: If the engine isn’t in compliance with SB AS907-72-9001 Rev 2, then this inspection needs to occur. The SB AS907-72-9045 and SB AS907-72-9080 bulletins have to be complied with at this time. If the engine complies with the SB AS907-72-9001 Rev 2 bulletin, then the 4,000-hour inspection can be delayed by 500 hours.
- 7,000 Hours: The Hydro Mechanical Unit (HMU) needs to be pulled off the aircraft, torn down, cleaned, and reinstalled. The operator has a 750-hour grace period to complete this maintenance item.
- 8,000/9,000 Hours: The Compressor Section Borescope has to be completed at this time if the aircraft isn’t in compliance with the SB AS907-72-9001 Rev 2, SB AS907-72-9045 and SB AS907-72-9080. If it complies, this can be extended to 9,000 hours.
Embraer has stated that the Legacy 450 has a useful lifetime of 27,500 hours which Embraer claims will last more than 12 years.
Embraer Legacy 450 Operation Costs
These are costs that have to be paid annually and are independent of the number of hours flown.
Most business jets are bought by charter companies using loans. The interest rate of these loans varies depending on the borrower, but usually, a 50 percent downpayment is necessary, and the remaining 50 percent is borrowed.
The price of a used Legacy 450 is quoted at $15,323,750. If a loan is taken for 50 percent of the amount for the industry average of 10 years at an interest of 20 percent, then the lease cost per year for the aircraft will equal $919,425 a year or $76,618.75 a month.
A private jet requires more attention than a normal aircraft, especially if it’s being used for charter operations. Even if the aircraft is being used for personal purposes having a jet management company takes a lot of the guesswork out of owning the aircraft.
Management companies keep the aircraft airworthy and compliant with maintenance regulations, advisory circulars, and service bulletins. Oftentimes, management companies pair up with trusted maintenance facilities or do the maintenance in-house with certified personnel which allows customers to save money.
Finding a good crew is of utmost importance, and it’s tough to be able to do so as a lone operator. A management service can source, vet, and train a crew to fly the aircraft, additionally, it’ll keep the crew compliant by scheduling medicals, and maintaining any required ratings.
These services also work with insurance companies to get the aircraft the most comprehensive insurance policies at the lowest rates and even find hangars to store the aircraft in. It’s an all-in-one solution.
For a mid-size aircraft like the Legacy 450, a jet management service can cost around $45,000 per annum.
The flight crew is often the deciding factor on whether the passengers make it to their destination in one piece. Hiring an experienced flight crew is important because they can handle situations better than crews that are low on time. The experience of the flight crew will also be a major factor in how much the operator pays for the insurance premium, as crews with more time are viewed as less risky.
The flight crew for an aircraft like the Legacy 450 can cost more than $300,000 a year, which makes it the single largest fixed cost.
Crew Training Costs
Flight crews require training every few months to maintain their ratings and stay IFR-current. These checks are performed either annually or bi-annually, depending on the type. Operators often prefer to have these tests and training done at an authorized simulator, but when access is limited, it has to be in the aircraft, which is more expensive.
The average training cost for the Legacy 450 is around $37,085.
Insurance costs for a private jet depend on if the aircraft is being used for charter flights or personal use. Using the aircraft for charters increases the level of risk and exposure, which could result in lawsuits in the event of an accident or mishap.
Various types of coverage can be included in an insurance policy, but the most important ones are liability coverage and hull coverage. The former is mandatory by law and is the minimum level of insurance any aircraft has to have. Operators can choose to add on medical coverage, trip-interruption coverage, coverage for temporary replacement parts, etc.
Liability insurance covers liability for damage caused by the operation of the aircraft to third-party persons or property. For private jets of this caliber, the standard liability coverage ranges from $1 million to $500 million per occasion, with limits imposed on how much can be paid to each passenger or person in the claim. Liability insurance will also take care of any legal fees the operator incurs.
Hull liability coverage covers damage to the aircraft for repairs or in cases of substantial damage, a cheque for the value of the aircraft which is determined by the insurance company.
The cost of the insurance policy depends on the coverage amount, the routes the aircraft flies, and the experience of the crew. The less risk the operation has, the cheaper the premium, especially if the crew is highly skilled.
Insurance costs per annum for only liability insurance tend to be around $35,000 for relatively low-risk charter operators. Hull insurance is dependent on the value of the aircraft.
Storing an aircraft in a hangar is the best way to maintain its value and prevent unnecessary damage. Hangars aren’t cheap and are charged depending on either the aircraft’s gross weight or the amount of space the aircraft occupies, sometimes both.
The higher the congestion at an amount, the more expensive hangar space will be. A hangar in Bismarck, ND is going to cost significantly less than one in Boston, MA. That being said, the national average cost for a hangar for an aircraft the size and weight of a Legacy 450 are around $54,815 per annum.
Miscellaneous Fixed Costs
These are costs that cannot be categorized or are unexpected.
These are costs that are dependent on the hours flown and are therefore called hourly costs. To estimate a yearly variable cost, we will assume this aircraft flies 400 hours a year.
Fuel is the largest variable cost for any aircraft. The two Honeywell HTF7500E engines burn an estimated total of 213 US gal (806 l) per hour, which allows the Legacy 450 to get an economy of 1.09 nm/gal (0.533 km/l).
If the aircraft flies a total of 400 hours a year, it will burn a total of 85,200 US Gal (322,400 l). The national average cost for a gallon of fuel at the time of writing is $7.23, which brings the yearly fuel cost to $615,996 or an hourly cost of $1,540.
The second highest variable cost for an aircraft is maintenance costs, this is usually split into two parts, airframe maintenance, and engine maintenance. But Embraer has paired airframe and engine maintenance so both inspections occur simultaneously, which saves the operator’s maintenance costs.
As a bonus, the engine doesn’t have to be pulled off the aircraft when an inspection is performed, rather the engine stays on the aircraft until a part needs to be replaced or a fault is detected. Liberty Jet estimates that airframe maintenance costs $482 per hour and engine maintenance costs $620 per hour.
Other Operating Costs
Other costs handling, airport landing fees and navigation fees, as well as crew stipends for food and stay for overnights all need to be taken into account and can accumulate to a significant amount over the year.
Variable costs that don’t fit into other categories or are unforeseen.
Embraer Legacy 450 Common Problems
The Embraer Legacy 450 has not had many problems since it was launched because the issues were ironed out during the testing phase. It has become one of the few business jets to receive a 99 percent dispatch rating.
Embraer Legacy 450 Variants
There are no variants of the Legacy 450, but the aircraft was unofficially upgraded when the wings were changed slightly to allow an increase in fuel. The change increased the range from 2,800 nm (5,185 km) to the current 2,904 nm (5,378 km). Embraer offered this upgrade to customers of the original version at no additional cost.
Embraer Legacy 450 Competitors
The awkward position of the Legacy 450 is that most of its competition competes with the larger Legacy 500.
Embraer Legacy 500
The Legacy 450 is the slightly smaller, less capable, and cheaper version of the Legacy 500. This means that most customers pass over the smaller aircraft and spend a bit more to purchase a Legacy 500, and the sales numbers show it.
If the Legacy 500 didn’t exist, customers would easily gravitate towards the Legacy 450 because the next option is significantly more expensive, and the performance for the price is superb.
Cessna Citation Latitude
Released at roughly the same time, the Cessna Citation Latitude is powered by two Pratt and Whitney Canada PW360D turbofans which put out 5,907 lbf (26.28 kN) of thrust each, less than the Legacy 450.
This aircraft is the only true direct competitor to the Legacy 450 and is slightly slower, smaller, and overall less capable in terms of performance, but it costs the same. The avionics suite isn’t as impressive, and it lacks a complete fly-by-wire system. The features that make the Legacy 450 so desirable are nowhere to be found, which is why it is outclassed.
However, the Citation Latitude has sold nearly four times as many units in comparison. Why? Because Cessna discounts the price for customers, sometimes up to 20 percent, making the aircraft cheaper than the Legacy 450, which has a fixed price.
The discount of $3.5 million makes quite the difference and dwarfs any performance differences.
Embraer Legacy 450 Incidents and Accidents
There have been only two accidents involving the Legacy 450.
- January 19th, 2020; Air Sprint Inc. Flight ASP816
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Cause: System Error
Phase: En Route
Fatalities vs. Occupants: 0/4
- 75 minutes before arriving at the destination airport, the aircraft experienced an avionics systems malfunction on the left side which resulted in the loss of the navigation, FMS #1, auto-throttles, and control of the pressurization system. The aircraft landed with no issue, and maintenance rebooted the avionics system which operated normally.
- October 3rd, 2022; Partee Aviation LLC
Location: Houston, Texas, USA
Cause: Human Error
Phase: En Route
Fatalities vs. Occupants: 0/4
- The crew had not closed the cabin door properly and upon reaching 7,000 ft the crew received a cabin door warning message. The PIC saw that the door handle wasn’t properly put away. The PIC attempted to put the handle back, but there was too much pressure. He returned to his seat after which the cabin door opened and damaged the fuselage substantially. The plane landed without any issues.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Question: What is the difference between the Praetor 500 and the Legacy 450?
Answer: The differences between the newer Praetor 500 and its predecessor are mostly performance based. The Praetor has new wings with blended wingtips and bigger fuel tanks that increase gross weight, range, and overall performance.
Other smaller performance and quality of life changes have been made. But the aircraft are so similar that a Legacy 450 can be converted into a Praetor 500 through Embraer’s conversion program.
Question: What are the benefits of having a lower cabin altitude?
Answer: When the cabin altitude is lower, your lungs have to do less work to absorb the same amount of oxygen when compared to higher altitudes. Therefore, passengers are less tired and lethargic during and after a flight.
Question: Is the Embraer Legacy 450 a failure?
Answer: Economically, the Embraer Legacy 450 is a failure as it only sold 57 units. However, since it is a shrunk version of the Legacy 500, the development costs were minimal. However, the Legacy 450 is directly responsible for the introduction of the Praetor 500, which is much more successful, so the aircraft did prove its worth in the end.
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- Tugayeva, J. (2022, September 10). Embraer Legacy 500 guide and specs – Aviator insider. Natalia Bickell. https://aviatorinsider.com/airplane-brands/embraer-legacy-500/
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