With the of the E2 Jets family to Widerøe on 4 April 2018, had an opportunity to meet with a number of engineers at Embraer, take a technical walk through of the airplane, and obtain a technical update on this program, highlights of which we will follow.

The E2 jets, while a derivative of the EJet series, are quite a different aircraft, with about 75% of the components on the airplane being different than their predecessors.  This compares with about 5% on the A320neo, which is primarily a re-engining program.  The list of what’s different on the E2 is impressive, including avionics, new wings for each model, the fuselage, engines, landing gear, stabilizer, and multiple aircraft systems, all brought together with a fourth generation fly by wire system developed internally at Embraer.  Despite all of these changes, the aircraft emerged ahead of schedule, under budget, and with better than promised performance while retaining a common type rating and easy pilot transition.

The E190-E2 and were designed as mainline airplanes, with economic performance competitive with larger A320neo, CSeries, and 737MAX models.  Embraer took a relatively clean sheet design to its derivative aircraft. incorporating customer learning from the more than 1,400 EJets already in service.  From over 1,000 customer suggestions, 97% were acted upon, and 94% of those were incorporated into the final aircraft design.  This is “not your father’s Oldsmobile.”

E2 Enhancements over EJets

are a major upgrade in the E2, despite having a similar cockpit layout as the E1.  The E2 features four larger displays in portrait mode, versus 5 smaller displays for the E1.  In addition, the E2 becomes the first commercial aircraft to offer synthetic vision to aid the pilot in poor weather conditions.  Synthetic vision has been available in business jets since 2008, but not in commercial aircraft, and provides enhanced safety.

The wings for the E2 Jets have been optimized for each model, quite unusual for a family of narrow-body jets.  Typically, a jet family will be optimized around the mid-sized model, with the shrink model having too large a wing and the stretch model too small a wing.  With three different wings, Embraer has optimized these wings, with the highest aspect ratios in the industry, to each model.  The wings have been aerodynamically optimized, and do not require winglets to achieve their high performance, joining the 787 and A350 as new models with optimized non-winglet wings.

 

The fuselage for the E2 is different from the E1, and comes to Embraer in sections from its own factories and Spirit Aerosystems.  More importantly, the assembly process for the E2 is much more automated than the E1, enabling a more efficient assembly on a new hybrid production line 

that can accommodate E1 and E2 models.  The cross section remains the same, but the lengths and configurations are different, especially for the stretched E175-E2 and models.

New Stabilizer and Aerodynamics

The vertical stabilizer on the E2 is actually smaller than the E1, enabling weight savings and an improvement in fuel burn.  The 4th generation fly by wire system enables optimization of aerodynamics and control surfaces, including single slotted flaps that are simpler and lighter than those on the E1.  

New Engine

Of course, one of the major changes for the E2 family is the Pratt & Whitney geared turboprop engine.  With Embraer as the third application for this engine family, the E2 jets are benefitting from the well publicized fixes on the CSeries and A320neo programs, and both Embraer and PW expect a smooth EIS for these engines.  The GTF contributes industry leading fuel economy, and make the E2 jets the lowest noise and emissions of any commercial aircraft in service.

New Interior

The interior of the E2 has been updated, retaining is popular 2X2 configuration with no middle seats.  The overhead bins are now 3 inches wider, and can accommodate 1 standard IATA carry-on for each passenger wheels first. New slim line seats provide additional legroom, as well as lighter weight, with better comfort than the seats they replace.  Andreas Aks, Deputy COO of Widerøe is standing in the aisle, illustrating their cabin, which in one class has 114 seats at 29 inch pitch.

New Landing Gear

Embraer has an advantage in that it is vertically integrated in its landing gear business, ELEB, and manufactures its own gear.  For the E2, a trailing link main gear was selected to provide improved ground clearance for the larger and heavier GTF engines.

 

 

New Aircraft Systems

The E2 also incorporates a number of changes to aircraft systems, from hydraulics to a fourth generation fly-by-wire.  Embraer integrates the software for its fly-by-wire system in house, providing an advantage in developing and implementing the control laws and fully testing the fly-by-wire system.  Many of these changes resulted from listening to customer suggestions for improvements, ranging from functionality to maintainability of the systems.  With the E2 program development being ahead of schedule, Embraer choose to keep its original delivery schedule while testing systems to provide additional maturity at entry into service.

The Net Result

The combination of these improvements yield a 17.3% improvement in fuel burn for the E190-E2 over the existing E190 model.  The following table summarizes Embraer estimates of cash operating costs against competing aircraft:

Models Compared Trip Cost Seat Cost
E190 v. A320 -23% +18%
E190-E2 v. A320neo -30% +8%
v. A320neo -20% 0%
E190-E2 v. CS100 -7% +1%
v. CS100 +2% -10%
v. CS300 -10% -3%

The Bottom Line:

The E2 Jets from Embraer are more than a re-engining, with multiple changes to the aircraft, yet retaining cockpit commonality and a 2.5 day transition training for pilots with no simulator time required.  The smooth development of the program, which was early and under-budget, a rarity in the industry these days, resulted in the aircraft beating its initial performance targets, as shown below:

 

Performance  Target Actual
Fuel Burn Improvement 16% 17.3%
Noise 15 EPNdB 20 EPNdB
Intermediate Check 850 hours 1,000 hours
Base Check 8,500 hours 10,000 hours
Landing Gear Overhaul 20,000 hours 22,000 hours
High Hot Range – Denver 2,300nm 2,500nm
Short Field Range – LCY 1,650nm 1,750nm

The E2 will enter service with Widerøe on April 24th.

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