After the Legacy and Phenom families broke into the market, Brazilian aviation manufacturer Embraer pushed further with the Praetor 500. This revision of the Legacy 450 midsize business jet quickly became the best-selling jet in its segment due to its blend of range, high speed, and sensible operating costs.
My first contact with the Praetor 500 was after a relative flew aboard one in Brazil during its early years. When we were catching up, he spent ages raving about the jet. It flew right, the interior was comfortable, the cockpit interface was to die for, and it looked incredible from the outside.
Until now, I had only gotten to tell friends about the ins and outs of the Praetor 500. I was ecstatic when the chance came to write a deep dive about this aircraft, and I hope you feel just as excited about it as I did when hearing that first-hand account.
The Embraer Praetor 500 reached certification in 2019, and the fleet had exceeded the 300-thousand-hour mark by the summer of 2022. Charter operators in the United States own around a quarter of the Praetor 500 fleet operational today. The ability to fly any continental American route without payload restrictions has made the jet the undisputed champion of the midsize segment in its generation.
Bottom Line Up Front
The Embraer Praetor 500 took over the midsize business jet market in 2019. It boasts a range of 3340 nautical miles with four passengers and costs $18.4 million. The Praetor 500 benefits from the famously reliable Embraer customer service and maintenance center network. With prices up to $10 million lower than its competitors and equal or better performance, it is hard to imagine the Praetor 500 losing its spot at the top. Learn everything about this aircraft in the next Embraer Praetor 500 guide.
Embraer Praetor 500 / Specs
The Big Picture
From the outside, the Embraer Praetor 500 looks like the Legacy 450. The jet is 64 ft 7 in long and sits 21 ft 1 in tall on the ground. The revised winglets give the Praetor 500 a slightly longer wingspan of 70 ft 6 in, longer than the Challenger 350 but not enough to cause problems at the hanger.
The Praetor 500 uses two Honeywell HTF7500E turbofan engines that produce 6540 lbf of thrust. Honeywell specifically developed this model to fit the needs of the Legacy 450 and 500 series, and the engine remained almost identical since its introduction.
The HTF7000 family of engines was an easy choice for Embraer. Other derivatives power popular midsize and super-midsize jets like the Gulfstream 280 and the Bombardier Challenger 350.
The Praetor 500 has a useful payload of 2921 lbs. Its maximum takeoff weight is 37567 lbs. Fuel capacity is 13050 lbs, with a single-point refueling port to make ground operations easier.
Despite having a better range and comparable payloads, the Praetor 500 is considerably lighter than most midsize jets except for the Cessna Citation Latitude.
The Flight Deck
Like most Embraer jet aircraft, the Praetor 500 uses fly-by-wire controls. The system used in this business jet is a distant evolution of the design first fielded in the binational AMX (A-1 in Brazil, A-11 in Italy) ground attack jet fielded in the 1980s.
The level of redundancy available in the Praetor 500 is awe-inspiring. The flight controls can draw power from the generator on each engine and the APU, two batteries plus two backup ones, and a deployable ram-air turbine. The stigma around fly-by-wire controls has gone down significantly over the decades, but it is still reassuring to have so many layers of safety in case of cascading failures.
There are three hydraulic systems capable of powering the flight controls. In nominal situations, the fly-by-wire system works with envelope protections. The Praetor 500 also has a direct mode where control deflections translate to proportional elevator, rudder, and aileron movement. This setting is only active if the number 1 and 2 hydraulic systems or three of the four data probes fail.
The Praetor 500 requires a crew of two to fly, despite its avionics suite also featuring in other Embraer business jets certified for single pilot operations. The aircraft shares a type rating with the Praetor 600, Legacy 450, and Legacy 500.
The cockpit of the Embraer Praetor 500 uses a version of the Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics suite. Each pilot has one large multifunctional display on their side, with a large one down the middle and another at the head of the central console.
The Praetor 500 uses side stick controls instead of Embraer’s M-shaped yoke. Data input is done through a roller ball and keypad pair next to the throttle handles.
Collins knocked it out of the park with the user interface on the Pro Line Fusion. Many executive pilots previously complained about previous versions of the Pro Line being too loyal to the old airliner FMS style. The iteration on the Praetor 500 keeps some of that familiar feeling but with the ease of use that pilots expect today after years of being spoiled by Garmin.
The side sticks have no mechanical connection. Moving one will not result in a corresponding movement on the other side. If both pilots move their controls in opposite directions, the side sticks vibrate to warn the crew of a conflict.
Each stick has a red button used to take priority in controls, which doubles to disconnect the autopilot. The cockpit voice announcer calls “priority left/right” when the button is activated.
Embraer followed the dark cockpit philosophy when designing the Praetor 500 indicators. In short, this means lights and aural cues are only present in case of failure or another situation requiring the crew’s immediate attention. You can quickly tell when everything is running well through the lack of announcers, and this lowers your chances of missing something critical buried in a sea of lights.
I was shocked when I first heard the Embraer Praetor 500 does not have a stick shaker like the one in nearly all Learjet or Citation models, but this is by design.
Embraer chose to forego a stick shaker or pusher so that crews could enjoy the full performance envelope for cases as maximum angle climbs in emergencies. Deflecting the stick all the way aft leaves the jet at its maximum angle of attack but without risking a deep stall.
The passenger cabin of the Praetor 500 fits up to nine passengers, but most operators configure it with seven seats. The area is 6 ft tall, 24 ft long, and 7 ft wide, making it the widest in the midsize segment. The seats can recline into berths, a necessity with the impressive range of the Praetor 500.
Luggage storage is generous, at 150 cubic feet in total, including 40 cu ft in a closet within the passenger cabin. The aircraft has a lavatory in the aft section and a small galley behind the cockpit.
The in-flight entertainment system relies primarily on USB ports, allowing passengers to plug in their devices. The seats also have sliding remote controls to control the displays.
The Praetor benefitted greatly from the Viasat decision to remove speed caps on Ka-band connections. Embraer offers satellite internet service as a factory option. The installation is costly, but I highly recommend it.
The Praetor 500 can fly far, and being cut off from the world, even if for a few hours, often costs a lot more than the Viasat kit.
Embraer Praetor 500 / Prices
While the Praetor 500 beats its midsize competitors in range, the reason why it has dominated the market is in its asking price.
During its launch in 2018, Embraer set the base price of the Praetor 500 at $16995000. Due to the type’s popularity and improvements made during its service life, this figure has increased to $18.4 million.
While the price rise may seem steep, most owners have purchased the Praetor 500 for a figure closer to the current one due to customization options eventually incorporated into the base design.
Comparable Gulfstream, Bombardier, and Cessna options cost 6 to 11 million more than the Praetor 500 when new. The consensus among business jet operators is that the Praetor 500 is also considerably cheaper to maintain.
Embraer is selling a jet with better costs, availability, and performance, which is hard to refuse.
Embraer Praetor 500 / Performance and Handling
The main strength of the Praetor 500 next to its competitors lies in its range. Embraer achieved a midsize jet design that can comfortably make a 3340 nautical mile trip with four passengers and fuel for a 200 nmi divert.
The Challenger 350, despite being significantly more expensive, only reaches 3200 nautical miles under similar conditions. Embraer achieved this competitive advantage with the Praetor 500 without compromising speed, comfort, or the attractive price tag.
The maximum operating speed for the Praetor 500 is Mach 0.83, with a high-speed cruise of 466 KTAS. The jet takes just 17 minutes to reach 41000 ft in a direct profile, with a service ceiling of 45000 ft.
At its maximum takeoff weight, the Embraer Phenom 500 has a takeoff run of 4222 ft in standard conditions. With four passengers and fuel for 1000 nautical miles plus reserves, this number goes down to 2842 feet. Landing performance for such a mission is a mere 2086 ft, one of the shortest among midsize business jets.
The sidesticks are light and move smoothly, allowing for precise inputs across the board. The fly-by-wire removes the need for trimming in most flight regimes as it aims to stabilize the jet on its flight path.
One of the more fun bits about flying the Praetor 500 is the roll rate. The jet boasts incredible roll responsiveness, with the fly-by-wire ensuring the pilot never exceeds safe limits while throwing the aircraft around. If you bank beyond 33 degrees or exceed 30 degrees up or 15 down in pitch, the flight control system will return the jet to those limits once you let go of the stick.
Unlike many fast jets, the Praetor 500 flies comfortably in low-speed regimes. A typical approach gets you below 110 knots. The controls on the Praetor adjust seamlessly to changes in configuration, making the transition from cruise to landing smooth.
Embraer Praetor 500 / Maintenance Schedule
Maintenance protocols on the Praetor 500 are similar to that of the Legacy 450, Legacy 500, and Praetor 600. Embraer is keen on the high commonality between related aircraft families to help with parts availability throughout their service lives.
If to assume 300 flight hours a year, the Praetor 500 costs $585 in maintenance for each hour flown. This value is slightly higher than the older Legacy 450, which incurs around $482 in maintenance costs per flight hour.
Like all Legacy 500 derivatives, the Praetor 500 uses two Honeywell HTF7500E turbofan engines. The HTF7500E requires inspections every 1500, 2250, 4000, 7000, and 8000 hours. Embraer drew up an airframe maintenance schedule to match the engine one, with 500 to 1000 hours of leeway to help them align.
Embraer Praetor 500 / Modifications and Upgrades
Legacy 450 to Praetor 500 Conversion
The high commonality between the Legacy 450 and Praetor 500 airframes allowed Embraer Services & Support to launch a program to upgrade older aircraft to the Praetor 500 standard.
Much like the technological jump between a newly-built Legacy 450 and the Praetor 500, the conversion involves extensive work.
The most noticeable change in the flight deck is an update to the Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics package, together with placards current to Praetor 500 operations. The E2VS head-up display is also hard to miss. This HUD brings up synthetic vision at eye level, making operations in poor weather and lighting conditions much more pleasant.
The fuel system has new, repositioned level sensors, while the wings get reinforced ribs and the Praetor 500 winglets. The flight control system has slight modifications to improve fuel consumption.
Despite not adding significant weight, the conversion package extends the range from 2900 nmi to 3340 nmi by reducing fuel consumption.
Is the conversion worth it for Legacy 450 owners? If you plan to hold onto your Legacy for a long time or do a lot of long-range flying, I recommend it. The conversion is not cheap, but it will pay for itself in the long run.
If you are not married to your Legacy 450, fly little, or stick to shorter routes, I would hold off from it. The jump from the Legacy to Praetor standard is noticeable, but you are unlikely to get your money’s worth in these conditions.
Embraer delivered 16 Legacy-to-Praetor 500 conversions in the first year it was available. The facilities offering this upgrade are Embraer-owned service centers in Sorocaba (Brazil), Ft. Lauderdale (Florida, USA), and Le Bourget (France).
While the Legacy 450 can turn into the Praetor 500, a similar upgrade is impossible for Legacy 500 owners wanting a jump to Praetor 600 due to structural differences in the new super-midsize jet in the family.
Cabin Safety Upgrade
In June 2020, the Brazilian National Civilian Aviation Agency certified a cabin upgrade for the Embraer Praetor 500 and Praetor 600 business jets. FAA and EASA certifications followed quickly.
The core tickets in the upgrade are a new HEPA air filter with MicroShield360 and a new electric lavatory pocket door. The package makes the Praetor 500 and 600 compliant with Part 135 operational requirements and makes the cabin one of the best in the market for health safety.
The interior upgrade is available as a retrofit for aircraft built before that but has become the standard fit on all new units.
Embraer Praetor 500 / Where to Find Replacement Parts
The Praetor 500 enjoys high parts commonality with the Praetor 600, Legacy 450, and Legacy 500. The shared parts translate to a much stronger joint supply chain than jets with bespoke components.
One of the reasons why the Praetor 500 and other Embraer business jets are so popular is the availability of customer support and service. The Brazilian company owns six service centers in Brazil, France, Portugal, and the United States and works with 67 authorized ones as of 2023.
Operators in Asia and Oceania have no owned service centers to turn to, but I hope Embraer will address this gap, given how quickly these markets are growing.
Embraer Praetor 500 / Common Problems
As the joke goes, the Praetor 500 is “suffering from success.” One of the main complaints by current and prospective operators is the long waitlist, stretching up to two years between order and delivery.
To help skirt around the large production queues, Embraer has launched a conversion package to turn the Legacy 450 into a Praetor 500. The upgrade has steered many clients needing a long-range midsize business jet towards keeping their Legacy 450 fleet and bringing it up to standard instead of waiting for new Praetor 500 deliveries.
I go into more detail about the works and who would benefit most from it in the “Modifications and Upgrades” section above.
Embraer Praetor 500 / Insurance Options
The executive aviation portal GuardianJet quotes the liability coverage for a Praetor 500 at $35000, while LibertyJet estimates $29641 per year in hull insurance. These numbers assume a reasonably experienced crew with a demonstrable history of flying business jets (typically 1000 hours or above) and at least 50 hours of Praetor 500 time.
Embraer Praetor 500 / Resale Value
The Embraer Praetor 500 has held its value remarkably well since its launch in 2018. The average price for a second-hand jet as of 2023 is the same as the original list price for a new aircraft.
The low depreciation is a trend that most Embraer business jets follow. A low-hour Legacy 500 sells for as much as $20 million, which is higher than the original cost of a new aircraft during its production run. Competing models sell for considerably less in the used market despite costing more when new.
The relative lack of depreciation has made the Praetor 500 a popular investment and has translated into low availability in the used market.
Demand reached a point where at least one Praetor 500 was reserved in the second-hand market to sell at a profit before the original buyer even received the aircraft from Embraer!
Embraer Praetor 500 / Owner Reviews
Like most Embraer business jets, the Praetor 500 is a hit with customers. Not many aircraft offer stellar performance at relatively low costs and without maintenance hurdles. I love the commitment to optimizing every part of the flight for pilots and passengers.
Look at the refueling process as an example. The Praetor 500 uses a single-point refueling system, which is the industry standard for modern jets. After plugging in the hose, the pilot has to turn on the batteries, dial in the fuel quantity desired, and wait while the tanks fill up.
Embraer engineers felt the average midsize business jet checklist was too cumbersome and delivered safe and streamlined procedures with the Praetor series. I have heard pilots brag about the aircraft taking a mere ten minutes from the beginning of the pre-flight to taxiing without having to rush.
The choice to use sidesticks instead of yokes made the cockpit noticeably roomier, which crews appreciate given the long distances a Praetor 500 covers in most flights.
The keypad is arranged alphabetically instead of the more ubiquitous QWERTY layout. Some pilots argue the alphabetical order is better for typing with one hand, while others miss the familiarity of QWERTY.
The HUD is also the cause of some debate, with one camp enjoying its small footprint in the cockpit while the other does not like how narrow it is, compared to most competitors.
I have to agree with the latter. Given the industry standards, the HUD on the Praetor is closer to that found on a fighter than a business jet. Most pilots get used to it, but this could be something worth addressing in future revisions of the aircraft.
Embraer Praetor 500 / Similar Aircraft
Like the Legacy 450, the Embraer Praetor 500 attacks the midsize jet segment, leaving the super-midsize for the Praetor 600 variant.
The main competitors in the midsize segment are the Cessna Citation Latitude and the Bombardier Challenger 350.
Dassault and Gulfstream offer remarkable aircraft, but they are too expensive and large to compete with the Praetor 500. There is competition from beyond the grave in the shape of older Citations and Learjet models. Rising operating costs and the inevitable effects of time make them unable to offer a challenge for much longer.
Bombardier Challenger 350
Bombardier unveiled the Challenger 300 in 1999, and the jet took over the venerable Learjet family as the flagship business aviation offering from the Canadian manufacturer. The Challenger 350 is an upgrade to the 300 variant that entered operation in 2014.
The Challenger 350 blurs the lines between the midsize and super-midsize segments, with provisions for nine passengers and a crew of two. While its performance is on par with the Praetor 500 in most aspects, the Canadian offer has two main drawbacks.
Its range is lacking for a jet vying for the super-midsize segment. Improvements from the Challenger 300 still leave the Challenger 350 just short of the Praetor 500 and well behind the Praetor 600.
The Challenger 350 is also considerably more expensive than the Praetor 500, at around $26 million for a new jet. However, the Canadian aircraft depreciates much faster than the Brazilian one. Used Challengers sell from 14 to 19 million dollars and are not as popular in the second-hand market.
If you can choose, the Praetor 500 is a better jet in your hands and will also give you more returns should you part ways with it.
Cessna Citation Latitude
The Citation Latitude is an evolution of the Citation Sovereign+ and is also a competitor to the Legacy 450 and 500. Cessna has moved the line further into the super-midsize Citation Longitude, introduced in 2019. The new model has met modest sales compared to its predecessor.
Many owners find the passenger cabin of the Latitude to be more comfortable than the Praetor 500, but this is a hot topic with no clear answer. The cockpit uses a Garmin G5000 avionics suite, which I find marginally more intuitive than the Collins Pro Line on the Embraer jet.
The Citation Latitude is marginally slower than the Praetor 500, with a maximum speed of Mach 0.80. It has similar woes to the Challenger 350 when competing with the Brazilian offer, with the modest range not justifying its asking price of $29.96 million in 2022.
Embraer Praetor 500 / Clubs You Can Join
There are few clubs for business aviation pilots and owners, but Praetor 500 owners get to enjoy the company of the Embraer Jet Operators Association. This club is a descendant of the Phenom Jet Association and entered the scene in 2016.
Despite its Phenom origins, the EJOA also covers the Praetor and Legacy families, making it the broadest group aimed at Embraer business jet owners and operators. Executive director Mark Stear has helped create a community where people involved with Embraer executive aviation products can collaborate.
To join the Embraer Jet Operators Association, you must either:
- own 25% of an Embraer jethave a type rating on an Embraer business jet
- work with an Embraer business jet
- work at Embraer Executive Jets
Membership costs start at $250 yearly, and the association holds a yearly meeting in the United States.
Question: How much does an Embraer Praetor 500 cost?
Answer: According to data from the Aircraft Cost Calculator, the average price of a second-hand Embraer Prateor 500 is $16995000. The list price for a new aircraft in 2023 was $18400000. Like most Embraer business jets, the Praetor 500 enjoys comparatively little depreciation.
Question: What is the range of the Embraer Praetor 500?
Answer: With four passengers plus a crew of two, the Embraer Praetor 500 can fly out to 3340 nautical miles. This figure also accounts for NBAA IFR reserves with provisions for a 200 nmi alternate field.
Question: What are the differences between the Embraer Praetor 500 and Praetor 600?
Answer: The Praetor 500 and 600 are evolutions of the Legacy 450 and 500. Much like their predecessors, the Praetor 500 is shorter than the Praetor 600. This difference translates to a lower passenger capacity of up to nine passengers instead of twelve and a shorter range, at 3340 nmi compared to 4018 nmi for the Praetor 600. The Praetor 500 costs around $4 million less than its larger sibling.
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