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2007 / Embraer Phenom 100 / Model Guide and Specs
The Phenom 100 was Embraer’s first foray into the very light jet market. After finding considerable success in the regional airliner market thanks to the EMB-110 and EMB-120 turboprops plus the ERJ and the E-Jet jetliners, Embraer’s single business jet offering until 2007 had been the Legacy 600, a luxurious large cabin jet that had been built on the basis of the ERJ-135 airliner.
While their previous designs were undebatable hits in their niches, the Legacy was too large and expensive to compete in the light jet market. The decision to make a new clean-sheet design was taken.
Announced in May 2005, the Phenom 100 was met with great excitement from prospective owners, pilots, and other industry members alike. Since deliveries began in 2007, over 380 units have reached operators, building a reputation for reliability, simple logistics, and ease of operation.
2007 / Embraer / Phenom 100 Specs
Early in the design phase, Embraer identified the Cessna Mustang as the Phenom 100’s chief competitor, and as such matching or exceeding its performance became the baseline. The aircraft comfortably reaches these design goals while offering passengers a larger and more comfortable cabin and comforts like a flushing toilet.
In its original configuration, built in partnership with the design arm of auto giants BWM, the Phenom 100 carries one pilot plus five passengers. Cabin redesigns introduced in 2013 have allowed this number to grow up to seven, thanks to optional seating arrangements.
Embraer designs since the turn of the century, the Phenom 100 placed great emphasis on blending ergonomics and aesthetics in both the cockpit and passenger cabin. One of the project’s more ambitious goals was to make it flyable with a single pilot without compromising flight safety or cockpit management.
The cockpit arrangement, dubbed “Prodigy” by the company, is based on the ubiquitous Garmin G1000. It includes a triple-screen setup plus a keypad for data entry, arranged in a visually and physically uncluttered manner that showcases the commitment to reducing pilot workload while looking good at it.
Two factors were decisive in the G1000’s selection: the suite’s popularity makes securing parts and experienced service for it to breeze, but also means the adaptation period for pilots transitioning into the Phenom 100 is cut short significantly.
To help with maintenance and in-flight diagnostics, Embraer was not shy about electronics on the aircraft. The Phenom 100 is decked out with sensors and processors in all areas of interest, feeding data to a central diagnostics computer which can run built-in tests (BITs) and accuse problems before they reach a critical point.
This has led to earning the moniker of “Computer With Wings” among some in the industry, and deservedly so.
The aircraft is powered by two rear-mounted Pratt & Whitney Canada PW617-F turbofan engines with a full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system, with a take-off thrust rating of 1695 lbf. For safety in case of an engine failure, the PW617-F has an automatic performance reserve (APR) mode, which pushes thrust output to 1777 lbf to ensure safe single-engine performance.
In the PW617-FE fitted to later models, the engines were given a ten-minute maximum power rating of 1820 lbf, accessible at all times.
Phenom 100 / Model Prices
At the time of its introduction, the new Phenom 100 was priced at $3.6 million. Its commercial success and upgrades to engines and avionics have risen to $4.25 million in 2021 for the Phenom 100EV.
Phenom 100 / Performance and Handling
The Phenom has a maximum cruise speed of 390 knots (increased to 400 knots on late models) and a range of 1178 nm for four passengers and a 100 nm alternate reserve, with a 41000 ft ceiling. Its top speed is Mach 0.7.
In standard atmosphere conditions and loaded to its maximum take-off weight of 10582 lbs, the Phenom 100 requires 3200ft of runway to take-off, while at standard landing weight, it requires 2430ft. Fuel consumption for a sortie at MTOW is 77 gallons per hour during cruise and 109 gal/h during take-off and climb.
Pilots report that it can cruise at 360 knots at its service ceiling, but between FL300 and FL350, it can comfortably hit 390 knots. The aircraft handles turbulence and ice without issues, and some boast it is impossible to get a bad landing in it due to its smooth low-speed handling.
Phenom 100 / Model Maintenance Schedule
The Phenom 100 was designed for low-intervention MSG-3 maintenance and has an economic life of 35000 hours. Embraer’s business jet customer service is famous for being second to none.
The company grants customers with a five-year warranty on the aircraft, only anything that fails ahead of time is replaced on the house, including brakes, tires, and any other unscheduled maintenance item. Most operators have opted for Pratt & Whitney’s Eagle Service Plan engine warranty scheme, which offers similar coverage to the powerplant.
When combined, these two guarantee owners with a smooth ownership experience without hidden costs. On top of the warranty, Embraer has taken a policy of covering any additional maintenance caused by design issues or growing pains, like the software updates deployed to the brake and flap control systems.
To streamline maintenance, Embraer has taken a different approach to it than its competitors at Cessna or Learjet. Instead of delegating different service centers for each group of components, the Brazilian company has established a structure with a single contact point between the customer and the company.
The abundance of instrumentation in the aircraft makes diagnostics a lot simpler than in many competitors, which allows users to download a full report from the central maintenance computer (CMC) and send it to Embraer, who then arrange all the maintenance on the customer’s behalf.
Phenom 100 / Modifications and Upgrades
There are three major Phenom 100 variants in the market. The Phenom 100 without suffix refers to the basic model, equipped with Garmin G1000 avionics plus PW-617-F or PW-617-FE turbofans depending on the aircraft’s production year.
Based on operator feedback due to its landing performance, Embraer introduced the Phenom 100E, which used the newer PW-617-FE engines and introduced multifunctional spoilers.
The future of the Phenom 100 is the Phenom 100EV Evolution, bringing the range of performance and quality of life upgrades. The avionics were upgraded to the standard Garmin G3000 touchscreen, and newer PW-617-F1E engines were fitted.
The cabin arrangement was redesigned to seat up to seven passengers. The Phenom also went on a weight reduction program, which combined with the thrust increased to 1730 lbf in standard conditions shortened the time to climb from 33 minutes to 25. Hot-and-high take-off runs were significantly reduced, from 6609 ft to 5663 ft.
Phenom 100 / Where to Find Replacement Parts
As a commitment to its reputation for excellent customer service, the company has three owned service centers in North America, one in Europe, and one in Brazil. In addition to their own facilities, the company has over 60 authorized shops worldwide with parts in stock and technicians qualified to maintain the Phenom 100 at any given time.
Phenom 100 / Model Common Problems
Built from the ground up as a fully digital jet, the Phenom 100 reaps both the benefits and problems of this approach. The majority of issues reported with the aircraft have been software-related, but on the upside, these have meant the fixes are also software-based and cheap to deploy compared to physical fixes.
The main complaint pilots have about early Phenom 100 models related to the braking system. The aircraft packed a rather comfy combination of powerful brakes for maximum application and an anti-skid system that could not stop them from grabbing as well as pilots would like.
Most Phenom 100 pilots were introduced to this issue while taxiing, where the strong brakes made it very hard to finely control taxi speeds, meaning the aircraft would stammer its way about.
If the manifestation of the loading issue while taxiing was uncomfortable for crew and passengers alike, its effects on the landing run were more worrisome. With few means to finely control braking, after touchdown, pilots were faced with either stepping on it, triggering maximum braking and leading to lock-ups and swerving, or pumping the brakes as normally done.
The latter led inexperienced pilots to feel like the brakes were inoperative, which caused considerable panic as the Phenom 100 has in the thrust reversers. In the heat of the moment, many treated the situation as an emergency, applied the parking brake, and stopped at the expense of blown tires and damaged gear legs.
The cause for this issue laid on the aircraft’s digital brake control unit (BCU). Every time the brakes were fully released when pumping them, the system would reset itself. This created a short gap where there was indeed no braking available.
For a pilot stepping on it and getting no response with no thrust reversals to stop them, this felt worrisome signals. The problem was gradually fixed through no less than four software updates. Owners who do find themselves with a Phenom 100 that has not received the fix can have it applied free of charge by Embraer.
Another problem fixed with the latest BCU is the false brake fail alarm. As part of the “computer on wings” philosophy, Embraer designed the diagnostics system to monitor voltage and pressure spikes in the brakes, and it did just that – up to 60 times a second.
The frequency of readouts and precision of the sensors led any transient drop or spike to be enough to trigger a “BRAKE FAIL” announcement to the pilots. The new BCU has eliminated this problem, but pilots flying with the older versions can solve it by pulling the flaps circuit breaker, waiting for the message to clear, then pushing it back in.
The flaps system had a false “FLAP FAIL” warning triggered during start-up because of an asymmetry-prevention measure in the software. The standard procedure in the Phenom 100 is to retract the flaps during shutdown.
If for some reason, the handle is moved to the down position while the aircraft is powered off, the “FLAP FAIL” message is triggered as soon as the battery is online again. This was rectified with a software upgrade first deployed in 2011.
Other minor complaints include the noise in the aft end of the cabin from the cooling fans and occasional false readouts about bleed air valves being closed when they were open. The fans had their speed halved to solve the issue, though this fix is not mandatory and thus not as common in the fleet, while the valves had a software fix deployed to most aircraft.
Testament to Embraer’s expertise in aircraft design, the Phenom has only been involved in three non-fatal accidents, all of them brake-related runway overruns, corrected with the BCU updates.
Phenom 100 / Insurance Options
As far as business jets go, Phenom 100 insurance prices are modest. Among the six carriers offering coverage for the type in the United States, prices for liability and hull coverage go from $18000 to $22700 for an experienced pilot with a commercial rating and at least 3000 hours, while a greener pilot will see these ranges between $38000 and $46,500.
Phenom 100/ Model Resale Value
Thanks to its popularity and ease of operation, the Phenom 100 does not sit long in the market, and most are still serving happily in the hands of their original owners. Early build aircraft in the market go from $1.9 to $3 million depending on the aircraft’s condition and avionics fit.
Phenom 100 / Owner Reviews
The Phenom 100 family has been a big hit among owners and pilots alike. Those with experience in the executive aviation industry have found Embraer’s customer service a breath of fresh air compared with competitors, drastically reducing both financial and stress costs.
Due to its single-pilot type certificate, many owners enjoy flying their own Phenom, but those who outsource this work enjoy the lower costs from having half the crew of many competitors. Pilots enjoy the Prodigy G1000-based cockpit for its workload reduction.
The large displays with moving maps automatically generated flight director cues based on the flight plan, and the FADEC-equipped engines significantly ease the pilot’s job. To illustrate its simplicity, the Phenom 100’s full normal operating checklist fits a two-sided laminated card that fits in a shirt pocket.
Embraer boasts that the aircraft has 70% fewer actions required from the pilot than other jets, allowing the crew to focus on aviating, navigating, and communicating instead.
There are two main complaints about the aircraft. One is its long landing run in contaminated conditions as the Phenom 100 has no speed brakes, spoilers, or thrust reversers to compensate for that, which dramatically extends the time to stop.
The second is endemic to most very light jets: with a full load of fuel, the useful load drops to 600 lbs. If to take a full cabin including additional seats, the fuel allowance drops to a single hour of flight plus 100 nm reserve.
Phenom 100 / Similar Aircraft
The Phenom 100 attacks two different market niches at once. The first is the modern, very light jet segment, where its stiffest competition comes from the Cessna Citation M2 and Mustang, the Cirrus Vision, and the HondaJet.
The flip side of the coin is the aging business jet fleet pending replacement, made up largely of Learjet 35 and Citation I and II models. Phenom’s price tag is slightly steeper than most of its competitors. However, this difference pays itself over the years in both lower maintenance costs and higher availability rates.
Phenom 100 / Clubs You can Join
As is the case with most jets in executive, there is no abundance of aviation type clubs as enjoyed by general owners. On the flip side, many of the servicing and advisory roles fulfilled by clubs with other types are performed by Embraer for Phenom 100 owners.
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Does a Phenom 100 Require a Type Rating?
Answer: Yes. Training programs for prospective Phenom 100 pilots usually require at least a Private Pilot License and an instrument rating.
Question: Does the Embraer Phenom 100 have a Bathroom?
Answer: Yes. The aircraft is fitted with a flushable toilet and sink.
Question: How much does an Embraer Phenom 100 Cost?
Answer: A new Phenom 100EV is sold by Embraer for $4.25 million in 2021. A used Phenom 100 usually goes from $1.8 million to $3 million.
Question: Is the Phenom 100 Single Pilot?
Answer: Yes, the Phenom 100 can be flown by a single pilot by design.
Question: What Range does the Phenom 100 have?
Answer: The Phenom has a maximum cruise speed of 390 knots (increased to 400 knots on late models) and a range of 1178 nmi for four passengers and a 100 nmi alternate reserve.