Embraer's Praetor Jet Feels Like a Giant Sports Car With Wings
Frequent travelers have almost certainly found themselves on an Embraer aircraft — the backbone of many regional airlines in the US and abroad. Smaller models, like the ERJ-145, are dreaded by taller travelers, like TPG, but several of the manufacturer's more recent planes, including the ERJ-175 and the new E2 series, offer a far more comfortable ride.
The company's latest private jets, meanwhile, are downright luxurious, offering a smaller, cheaper alternative to a brand-new Gulfstream — if you don't need the $45-million G500's 19-passenger capacity or 6,000-mile range, Embraer's brand-new Praetor 600 will carry up to 12 passengers some 4,500 miles for a mere $21 million.
I had a chance to check out the Praetor 600 and its smaller sibling, the Praetor 500 at the National Business Aviation Association's expo in Orlando this week.
Both aircraft are striking, and if you're in the market for a slightly more affordable corporate jet, the 9-passenger, 3,740-mile-range Praetor 500 (pictured below) can be yours for $4 million less, with a list price of $17 million.
Both aircraft feature 6-foot-tall cabins, with flat floors, plus two efficient Honeywell HTF7500E engines. I was especially impressed with the larger demo 600, though — these finishes, part of the Bossa Nova package, are unlike anything I've seen on a corporate jet.
There are your standard amenities, like fold-out tables, but with more sophisticated finishes, like the piano black paneling below.
The seats also rotate to face the center of the cabin, if you prefer, or you can adjust them backward to form a full-length lie-flat bed.
Since two seats are required for each traveler, you'll have less room for passengers on lie-flat flights.
Many private jets I've seen have fancy electric blinds, which look pretty slick, but they're a bit of a pain to use — I actually prefer the manual version on the Praetor, adjusted with the slider below.
There's slick LED lighting as well — you can't pick your own colors, unfortunately, but various accent lights still help set the mood.
Passengers can adjust some settings, like the reading lamp, directly on the flight status panel above each seat.
A flip-up panel reveals more controls, meanwhile, plus a cordless phone that lets occupants take calls during a flight via the plane's speedy Ka-band satellite internet connection.
There's another flip-up panel worth noting, too, at the far back of the cabin.
The lavatory is well-appointed, and it's more spacious than what you'll find on some far larger passenger planes.
While they're updated from nose to tail, the Praetor 500 and 600 are based on Embraer’s Legacy 450 and 500, respectively, with more than 100 aircraft flying today, so they're proven corporate workhorses for sure.
Both aircraft are undergoing testing right now, with deliveries expected in the second half of 2019.
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