The system is also compliant with required navigation performance (RNP) 0.3, which allows for approaches (including curved approaches) with vertical guidance. We flew the VOR DME approach to Runway 15 with the FMS commanding the descents and level-offs and flying the entry and missed approach segment as well. Additionally, the system is compliant with future navigation (FANS 1A) and allows for datalink communication with the controller via satellite. I sent a test message to a center controller and received a reply in return, complete with a pop-up message on the PFD and an audio alert that an ATC message had arrived. This is how many en route clearances will be handled in the future, with HF radio being relegated (thankfully) to backup duties. Primus Elite also brings with it WAAS and LPV approaches, which provide even lower minimums than RNP does.
If there’s anything negative to be said about Primus Elite, it’s that it makes use of the smaller display formats from the previous avionics suite. I don’t think that’s much of a downside, however. When it comes to display size, I’m not convinced bigger is always better. The question has to be: Are the displays large enough to give the pilots what they need to optimally operate the airplane? In the case of the Primus Elite, the answer is a resounding yes. The additional upside — reduced weight, better reliability, more operational flexibility, added safety utilities and more — make it a slam-dunk. Primus Elite is a winner.
The cabin of the Legacy 650, Embraer claims, is what sets the airplane clearly apart from its competitors, and its cabin is admittedly hard to ignore. With three seating sections, an extensive galley, one of the (if not the) nicest lavs in the segment and a pressurized, climate-controlled baggage area in which you could play a game of touch football, the Legacy makes great use of all that space.
With an interior that can comfortably seat 13 and a six-foot stand-up cabin, the digs are decadent even by bizjet standards. The interior is all new, and Embraer has improved the already good headroom along the sidewalls with new lower-profile valences. On the 650, the company made a commitment to sound reduction too, tracking down sources of noise and mitigating them wherever possible. Even in the cockpit this was true. A new line of vortex generators atop the fuselage just aft of the windscreen helps energize the airflow and cut noise.
The cabin is broken up into three groups of club seating sections, though it can be optionally modified with a combination of side-facing divans in the aft cabin that can fold out to create a large bed. Many of the seats are berthable as well. An airplane with eight hours of endurance is going to get lived in. The galley of the 650 is new and spectacular, featuring all of the space and appliances for serving multiple fine meals en route.
On an airplane of this caliber, you’d expect the connectivity to be great, and it is. Passengers can make use of the cabin network system, with optional high-speed data through SwiftBroadband, to browse the Internet, send e-mails and transfer files with the headquarters while in flight, allowing the 650 to be in essence a high-flying office that gives busy executives the option to keep abreast of business even when traversing oceans.