Michael Amalfitano, president and CEO of Embraer Executive Jets, opened the curtain on the Praetor 500 and Praetor 600, two newly anointed Brazilian aviation magistrates that are, once again, raising price versus performance expectations in their respective segments. Between them they offer no-excuses transcontinental and transatlantic range.

The $17 million Praetor 500, based on the $16 million Legacy 450, will be able to fly four passengers 3,250 nm, between any two corners in the continental U.S. against 95% probability winds. The $21 million Praetor 600, based on the $20 million Legacy 500, but carrying extra fuel in auxiliary belly tanks, will be able to fly 3,900 nm with eight passengers, virtually guaranteeing London-to-New-York range with probable winter winds.

“Today’s announcement has been built on almost 50 years of innovation, the DNA of Embraer,” Amalfitano says, describing the two aircraft as “disruptive” new designs that “challenge the status quo in the industry for midsize and super-midsize aircraft.” Embraer jets “by philosophy” are “different by design and disruptive by choice,” he says, noting that the Praetors have unmatched range, active turbulence reduction fly-by-wire (FBW) flight controls, “future state” avionics, optional best-in-class air-to-ground and Ka-band satcom connectivity and the lowest cabin altitude.

While the above price and performance numbers are based on Ipanema-svelte spec airplanes without popular options, their capabilities and cost-effectiveness when typically equipped with 800 lb. of equipment are still unmatched. Fully equipped, the $18 million Praetor 500 can fly four passengers 3,200 nm and eight pax 2,900 nm. The Praetor 600’s price bumps up to $22.5 million, and it can carry eight pax 3,750 nm, largely because Embraer engineers are endowing it with the highest operating weights of any super-midsize jet.

The six- to eight-seat Praetor 500 will have virtually the same range as the Bombardier Challenger 350. The Praetor 600 has almost as much range as the Legacy 650E, but it will cruise higher, faster and more fuel-efficiently.

Alvadi Serpa, Embraer Executive Jet’s product strategy manager; Fabricio Caldeira, Praetor program manager;, and Caldeira’s engineering team explained how the Praetors were created. Both aircraft use the same basic wing, an airfoil borrowed from the current-production Legacy 500, a model that will be discontinued in 2019. Caldeira is bolting on new and considerably larger blended winglets having generous transition radii between wingtip and winglets to improve range performance by 2 to 4%, depending on cruise speed. The larger winglets increase span by 4.1 ft. to 70.5 ft.

The wing has 950 lb. more fuel capacity than the one fitted to the Legacy 450, thereby boosting the Praetor 500’s range by 350 nm. Engine thrust remains unchanged at 6,548 lb. thrust for takeoff, so standard-day takeoff field length increases from 3,907 ft. to 4,263 ft. The Legacy 450 and 500 will remain in production for buyers not needing the additional range or $1 million uptick in price. Older 2,900-nm-range Legacy 450s may be upgraded to the Praetor 500 configuration for $500,000.

The Legacy 500, though, cannot be upgraded to a Praetor 600, because of numerous changes to the fuel system, FADECs and FBW boxes. The Praetor 600’s new 2,928-lb.-capacity auxiliary belly fuel tanks, for instance, are pressurized by engine bleed air to 7 to 10 psi, to transfer their contents to the main wing tanks. Caldeira says tank pressurization reduces the chance of internal fuel vapor combustion to less than 3%, thereby eliminating the need for a nitrogen inerting system. The aircraft is fitted with a new and slightly larger ventral fairing, including a prominent belly-bump skid to protect the tanks in the event of a gear-up landing. Total fuel capacity is boosted by 22%, to 15,986 lb. That’s sufficient to boost range by 800 to 900 mi.

Having operating weights only slightly higher than those of the Legacy 450, the Praetor 500’s Honeywell HTF7500E turbofans retain their highly derated 6,540-lb.-takeoff-thrust rating. The Praetor 600 features the same engines, but takeoff thrust, still rated up to 18C, is dialed up from 7,036 lb. to 7,528 lb.

Honeywell officials say the engines they build for Embraer internally are nearly identical to the higher-takeoff-thrust-rated versions used by Bombardier, Gulfstream and Textron, so maintenance intervals remain unchanged. MSP rates, though, are increased to $294 per engine per hour, similar to the fees Honeywell charges for the Bombardier Challenger 350, Gulfstream G280 and Cessna Citation Longitude.

The Praetor 600’s weights are boosted by up to 12% compared to those of the Legacy 500. The new winglets, plus belly fuel, substantially increase potential wing-bending moment. Not wanting to add weight to the wing structure, Caldeira’s team developed active load alleviation software for the digital flight control system that deflects upward both the ailerons at 2.0 Gs to prevent overstressing the wing. The load alleviation function shifts more of wing lift to the inboard section of the airfoil as load increases between 2.0 and 2.5 Gs, the aircraft’s rated limit.

With the Praetor 600 retaining essentially the same wing area as the Legacy 500, its higher operating weights translate into a wing loading as high as 88.7 lb. per sq. ft. That’s a relatively high wing loading for a super-midsize airplane. Coupled with FBW active load alleviation, it yields a better ride in turbulence than aircraft with conventional flight controls can offer. FBW makes the aircraft ride as though it has cushy digital shock absorbers in all three axes.

The downside of higher wing loading is longer takeoff field lengths. Assuming standard day conditions, the Praetor 500 needs 4,263 ft. of pavement, compared to 3,907 ft. for the Legacy 450. The Praetor 600’s TOFL is 4,800 ft. versus 4,084 ft. for the Legacy 500. Caldeira is installing higher-capacity carbon brakes on the aircraft to increase stopping power of the heavier aircraft.

The Legacy 450 and both Praetor models are getting cockpit upgrades. New options include vertical scan radar with predictive wind-shear warning, ADS-B In cockpit display of traffic, a synthetic vision guidance system that will allow precision approaches to be flown down to 150 ft. height above touchdown and Honeywell Laseref VI IRS. Paperless chart certification is also an option. Carried over from the Legacy 500 are standard autothrottles, plus optional HGS-3500 with EVS-3000 enhanced vision, optional lightning detection system and optional four-position auto-brakes.

FBW software also has been upgraded to improve dispatch reliability. The original load was hypersensitive to hiccups in signals from sensors, triggering AOG warnings that could only be reset on the ground by mechanics. Daniel Ferreira, Embraer’s FBW software guru, gave the system a digital quaalude that calms down the impulses and prevents unnecessary AOG events. Mods include higher G limits for hard landings, fatter triggers for broader flap asymmetry angles and wider flap overspeed tolerances. The changes will eliminate many FBW AOGs that were sore points with early Legacy 450/500 operators.

Ferreira’s team also reduced the FBW’s nose-down pitch command on landing touchdown to increase weight on wheels for better braking performance. The system also has enhanced P-Beta yaw/roll compensation to boost OEI second-segment climb performance and a new horizontal stab mis-trim compensation function that makes aircraft pitch response more consistent at takeoff rotation.

Standard avionics now include a takeoff and landing speeds and distances calculator embedded in the FMS, freeing pilots from routine dependency on Embraer’s onerous OPERA performance planning software.

Both aircraft are getting full interior makeovers. Jay Beever, Embraer Executive Jets’ vice president of interior design, is creating new cabin layouts for the Praetors that emphasize the company’s Brazilian roots. The demonstrator aircraft’s “Bossa Nova” interior motif, loosely translated from Portuguese as “New Wave,” has high-tech carbon-fiber coverings over worktables and monuments in place of traditional high-gloss wood veneers, leather chair inserts with the Ipanema boardwalk tile pattern and a predominance of navy-blue hues with subtle sandy-brown accents. Chair bolsters are beefier, affording passengers more comfortable seating and sleeping.

The Bossa Nova package comes with new overhead valence panels with halo lights, touchscreen controls and 3.5-in. map displays. All passenger seat positions have USB power outlets to keep PDAs charged while they’re being used with Honeywell’s Ovation Select cabin management and IFE system. Also included are forward and aft 19-in. bulkhead-mounted LCD IFE monitors.

Options include Gogo Biz Avance 5, Viasat Ka-band satcom, a belted potty seat, left and/or right aft section three-place divans, a fold-down cabin crewmember’s seat across from the wet galley, perforated leather inserts for passenger chairs, granite veneer galley countertop and floor coverings, and several galley upgrades, including microwave and convection ovens.

All Praetor cabin configurations will have emergency exits above the lavatory toilets, instead of having to position the emergency exit in the main cabin to comply with air charter operator rules for takeoff and landing.

New production aircraft are being fitted with guarded switches in the cockpit that will enable the pilots to open and stow the lavatory privacy door for takeoff and landing. The change enabled Embraer to earn a waiver of the requirement for cabin emergency exit.

The Praetor 600 is slated for certification in first-half 2019. The Praetor 500 will follow with planned certification in third-quarter 2019.