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  • Legacy 500 was first mid-size biz jet with flat-floor cabin & fly-by-wire controls.
  • Legacy 500 has 3,125 NM range, flight ceiling of 45,000 feet, and reaches Mach 0.83.
  • Embraer consolidated biz jet offerings in 2020, continuing production of Praetor 500 and Praetor 600.

Embraer developed the Legacy 450 and Legacy 500 business jets to fit into the mid-size and super mid-size business jet market. The Legacy 500 was one of the first aircraft in the mid-size business jet category to feature a flat-floor cabin that allowed many of its passengers to stand up. It also featured fly-by-wire flight controls, making it the first mid-size business jet to offer this feature.

Design and development of the Legacy 500

Originally, Embraer decided to break into the mid-size market and super mid-size market in 2007. It wanted two aircraft to be positioned between the Phenom 300 and the Legacy 600. The larger of the two would eventually become the Legacy 500.

The Legacy 500 flew for the first time on November 27, 2012. The program initially had a slight delay due to the software development of the fly-by-wire flight control system. The aircraft eventually required over 1,800 hours of flight tests and over 20,000 hours of laboratory tests. It was certified just under two years later, in August 2014. It was officially introduced in October 2014.

Embraer Legacy 500 (M-ORIS) landing on September 7, 2019 at Faro Airport, Faro, Portugal

Photo: IanC66 | Shutterstock

The Legacy 500 utilized Honeywell HTF7500E turbofan engines and Parker Hannifin fly-by-wire fly controls. It was designed with a glass cockpit utilizing four multi-function displays with the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics suite. Embraer also offers an enhanced flight vision system (EVS) with the Rockwell Collins heads-up display.

Overall, the Legacy 500 has a cabin length of nearly 27 feet and a cabin height of six feet. The aircraft has a range of 3,125 nautical miles (3,596 miles) and a flight ceiling of 45,000 feet. Its two Honeywell turbofan engines produce over 7,000 pounds of thrust each. This heavy thrust allows the aircraft to reach a maximum speed of Mach 0.83 (637 miles per hour) and a typical cruise speed of 466 knots (536 miles per hour). The Legacy 500 can also take off on runways that are just over 4,000 feet and require a landing distance of 2,122 feet.

9H-XFX Embraer Legacy 500 aircraft is landing on runway 14

Photo: Robert Buchel | Shutterstock

The Legacy 500 is five feet longer and can accommodate several more passengers than the smaller Legacy 450. Both of the aircraft introduced the flat-floor cabin to the mid-size market. However, the two aircraft share 95% of its systems.

Consolidated business jet portfolio

The Legacy 500 was produced from 2014 to 2020 when the last aircraft was delivered. The majority of these operators are private firms or individual operators. IN 2020, Embraer decided to consolidate its business jet offerings and only continue building the Phenom 100, Phenom 300, Praetor 500, and Praetor 600.

Embraer Praetor 500 jet with registration N447FX shown on final approach into LAX, Los Angeles International Airport

Photo: Angel DiBilio | Shutterstock

In 2019, Embraer began offering the Praetor 500 and Praetor 600. These aircraft were derivatives of the Legacy 450 and Legacy 500 and fit into comparable categories of the business jet industry. Therefore, the Legacy 500 specifically competed with the newer Praetor model.

The Praetor class of aircraft had a longer range and other major upgrades to the Legacy aircraft. Per Air Data News, this ultimately led to Embraer deciding to continue production of the upgraded and much newer aircraft. Additionally, existing Legacy 450 aircraft can still be converted to Praetor 500s due to the similarities of the aircraft.

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