The launch of scheduled services by the Brazilian Embraer E190-E2 jet brings high hopes of efficiency gains for London’s most central airport. Andreas Spaeth reports from the first flight
The magic button on the front instrument console, located between the pilots in the cockpit of the Embraer E190-E2, doesn’t really stick out prominently. It is labelled ‘steep approach’ and it is an essential tool when landing the jet at one of the most challenging major airports in the world. “When I hit the button, it tells the fly-by-wire system that I want to do a steep approach – it wouldn’t be possible otherwise,” Captain Mathias Kohler told Airports of the World in Zurich recently.
He was sitting in the cockpit of HB-AZG (c/n 19020036) while preparing the world’s first revenue flight of an E190-E2 into London City Airport (LCY).
“To do the approach, I need full flaps and spoilers on the upper wing surface deployed at the same time, which the ‘steep approach’ mode enables. That enhances drag to keep the speed, as otherwise we would get too fast,” explained Kohler, who is a pilot and flight operations chief for Swiss carrier Helvetic Airways. The regional airline is currently the world’s largest operator of the Embraer E2, having now accepted delivery of all 12 examples ordered in 2018. Of the dozen, eight are flying under a long-term wet-lease contract for Swiss International Air Lines on routes where the E2 complements its mainline fleet.