[Avionics Today 07-20-2016] Embraer's second generation E2 family of regional jets will usher in a new era for the Brazilian manufacturer. However, a major focus for Embraer as it prepares to launch its fourth E2 flight test aircraft later this year, especially with the cockpit avionics package, is to keep some commonality and familiarity with its first generation E1 jet family.
Embraer E-2 cockpit avionics. Photo: Embraer.
"The goal here is for the aircraft to be much more economical. [The E2] has new engines, new wings, new systems, and the one thing that is extremely important to us is to have commonality of operations with the E1. So, regardless what we’re doing, we’re keeping the same human-machine interface and behavior of the airplane to have as common an operation as possible," Alexandre de Figueiredo, vice president of flight operation, ground and flight testing for Embraer told Avionics Magazine.
The main avionics supplier for the E2 family cockpit is Honeywell Aerospace, the same supplier for the E1 family. Among the new cockpit avionics navigation-focused features on the E2, Embraer will include Honeywell's SmartView Synthetic Vision System (SVS), IntuVue 3D weather radar system, as well as improved situational awareness through Cockpit Display of Traffic Information (CDTI).
But de Figuerido said despite some of the new cockpit features, the operation of the aircraft will still feel the same, especially to pilots currently flying Embraer's first generation E1 regional jets.
"The display screen is a little larger, we have added an option for a Heads-up Display (HUD), and synthetic vision is standard as well, but it's very important to keep some commonality with the E1. We have a fleet of 1,400 airplanes flying and we want those already flying the E1 to be able to introduce the new airplane with as little time as possible for training. The E1 and E2 have a common type rating, and pilots can complete training in as little as three days, without the need for a lot of time in a full-flight simulator," said de Figueirido.
Embraer has also taken steps to provide improved aircraft maintenance and diagnostics for operators. The new central maintenance computer featured on the E2 will be capable of providing operators with diagnostics in near real time. The cockpit also features a data loader with SD card and USB ports.
Honeywell's next generation Flight Management System (FMS) is another new feature in the E2 cockpit that can assist pilots with selecting the most optimized cruise altitudes and power settings based on their flight plan.
The manufacturer has also ensured that the new E2 jets will be compliant with all of the existing and future airspace mandates coming into place in the United States and Europe.
"This aircraft does have Required Navigation Performance (RNP) 0.3 APCH, [Wide Area Augmentation System] WAAS and [Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance] LPV, and we're also testing the [Future Air Navigation System] FANS 1/A [Controller Pilot Data Link Communications] CPDLC and [Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast] ADS-B avionics as well to ensure those capabilities are there for [Entry into Service] EIS. We know ADS-B and CPDLC are must-haves. We didn't want customers to buy this and then have to retrofit those in," said Figuerido.
One feature that Embraer is leaving completely up to customers though, is the option for cabin-based Wi-Fi. The E2 family will not feature any forms of line-fit connectivity.
"Internet Protocol is normally something that is a selection for the customer. We do have high-speed Internet installed on the test aircraft that we flew to Farnborough, but it’s optional for customers. Whether they want live TV or something like that, we're leaving that up to the customer," said Figuerido.
Moving forward in the E2 flight test campaign, Embraer expects to start flying its fourth flight test aircraft by early next year. The third flight test aircraft, which was on display at Farnborough, is focused on testing the aircraft avionics, systems, hydraulics and flight controls. The fourth aircraft will feature a full cabin interior.
"We’re measuring about 17,000 parameters about the third airplane, this includes temperature pressures, flight controls, avionics and all of the aircraft systems throughout the airplane. The fourth airplane will be feature a full interior and very small instrumentation, mainly a production airplane to do the interior tests," said Figuerido.
The E2 is scheduled for entry into service in 2018 with launch customer SkyWest.