The Embraer E190-E2 has entered service. Mark Broadbent reports on the refreshed, reengined E-Jet
COMMERCIAL EMBRAER E2
The first customer Embraer E190-E2, LN-WEA (c/n 19020009), entered service on schedule with launch operator Widerøe at the end of April on the Norwegian regional airline’s Bergen to Tromsø route. The carrier accepted the aircraft at the manufacturer’s São José dos Campos facility near São Paulo at the start of the month.
Widerøe’s three E190-E2 firm orders and commitments for up to another 13 are a small proportion of more than 500 E-Jets E2s sold by Embraer so far. By the end of Q1 2018, the last date for which figures have been released, the company had sold 567 E2s. These aircraft are in addition to the 1,755 examples of its first-generation E-Jets (now referred to as E1s) sold up to that point by Embraer since it launched the family nearly 20 years ago.
There are three E-Jets E2 variants. The baseline E190-E2 is designed for 97 to 114 seats, the stretched E195-E2 for 120 to 146 and the smaller E175-E2 for 80 to 90. Embraer says the E190-E2 is designed to provide “comfort and sustainable profitability” to the core of the regional jet market, the E175-E2 to bring fuel efficiencies to the lower seating segment of the market and the E195-E2 “to maximise returns and efficiency on high-density routes”. The smallest first-generation E-Jet, the E170, is not part of the E2 programme.
Four E190-E2 flight test aircraft completed over 2,000 hours of testing. The first, PRZEY (c/n 19020001), flew on May 23, 2016, and tested aircraft handling, flight loads, aeroelasticity, external noise and crosswind. The second, PR-ZFU (c/n 19020002), undertook performance and systems tests.
Aircraft three, PR-ZFV (c/n 19020003), assessed handling qualities and hot and cold weather performance, and the fourth jet, PRZGQ (c/n 19020004), received a productionseries interior for cabin safety/evacuation and internal noise tests.
An additional 45,000 hours of ground tests of electrical, hydraulic and environmental systems, avionics and flight controls were carried out using static rigs.
The E195-E2 first flew on March 29, 2017. Two jets, PR-ZIJ (c/n 19020005) and PR-ZIQ (c/n 19020041), are flight-testing this variant, which is due to be certified and delivered to its launch operator, Brazilian carrier Azul, in the first half of 2019. Embraer plans to start test-flying the E175-E2 in 2019; its service entry is scheduled for 2021.
The E-Jets E2s are part of the wave of reengining that has swept the commercial aircraft industry this decade.
The aircraft are equipped with Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1700G and PW1900G geared turbofans. The E190-E2 and E195-E2 both have PW1900Gs, which feature a 73in (1.85m) fan diameter and a 12:1 bypass ratio and generate up to 23,000lb (102kN) thrust; the E175-E2 will have PW1700Gs which feature a 56in (1.42m) fan diameter and generate up to 15,000lb (67kN) thrust. The E2s sit around 20in (510mm) higher on the ramp than the E1s to provide sufficient ground clearance for the new engines, which are larger than the General Electric CF34s on the first-generation models.
According to Embraer, the E2s will burn 17.3% less fuel than the E1s, emit 50% fewer NOx emissions than International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) CAEP/6 regulations and comply with ICAO Chapter 4 noise regulations.
The PurePower engines provide a performance improvement from the CF34s, which contribute to improved maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) capabilities. The E190-E2’s MTOW is 56,400kg (124,341lb), up from the E190’s 51,800kg (114,199lb), the E195-E2 will have 61,500kg (135,584lb), an increase on the E195’s 52,290kg (115,280lb), and the E175-E2 will offer 44,800kg (98,767lb), up from the E175’s 40,370kg (89,000lb).
More than just new engines
New powerplants are not the only differences between the E1s and E2s. At 41.5m (136ft 2in) in length, the E195-E2 is also 2.9m (10.1ft) longer than the 38.6m (126ft 10in) E195-E2, which creates space for three more seat rows and increases capacity from 100 to 124 seats on the E1 to 124 to 146 seats.
The E2s have completely redesigned highaspect ratio wings with raked tips to improve aerodynamic flow, with each variant having its own optimised wing. The E190-E2’s wingspan is 33.7m (110ft 6in), the E195-E2’s 35.1m (115ft 2in) and the E175-E2’s 31m (101ft 7in). These are slightly wider spans than those on the E1s (28.72m/94ft 3in on the E190 and E195 and 26m/85ft 4in on the E175).
Embraer told AIR International a “multidisciplinary design optimisation process” evaluated more than 2,000 wing/pylon/wingtip combinations to find the most effcient.
A spokesperson said: “We took advantage of improved tools used in aerodynamic, aeroelastic and structural design to design a wing with larger span and simpler planar wingtips. We did not have any wingspan restriction, so the planar wingtip was presented as the most effcient solution. [The] wing plus wingtip result in an aspect ratio around 11.5, [the] highest among single-aisle aircraft’. Other structural differences are singleslotted flaps, which Embraer says are “lighter, simpler and more robust”. The horizontal stabiliser is about 10% smaller than on the E1.
There are now landing gear doors and newly designed gaps, steps and seals for the fuselage and the cabin windows are flusher to the fuselage. Antennas, ducts, air inlets and outlets were removed from the tail to reduce drag and the auxiliary power unit door is smaller.
The E2’s main landing gear has a new trailing arm architecture. Embraer said: “This design is less susceptible to shimming and brings some important maintenance advantages: shock absorber replacement is much faster and materials used in the structure less susceptible to corrosion’.
The E2s have a closed-loop fly-by-wire flight control system (FCS), in contrast to the open-loop system on the E1s (the ailerons are not part of the E1’s FCS), which provides full feedback from aircraft sensors to flight controls. The revised FCS, according to Embraer, “allowed engineers to optimise the aircraft, reducing weight and consequently reducing fuel burn and improving payload”.
For example, it allowed for reduced loads in the wing root, which enabled almost 200kg (441lb) to be taken out of the airframe. The flight deck features four 13 x 10in (330 x 225mm) full-colour LCD display screens, 45% larger than in the five screens in the E1s, and Honeywell Primus Epic 2 integrated avionics that have more advanced 3D graphics and provide more intuitive planning, navigation and systems management for crews.
The Primus Epic 2 suite also has the SmartView synthetic vision system, SmartRunway and SmartLanding (providing greater situational awareness to pilots during take-off , final approach, landing and taxiing) and the IntuView weather radar, which presents a 3D visualisation of weather around the aircraft and on the route ahead.
Embraer says these features and other cockpit innovations, such as wireless connectivity to allow integration with electronic flight bags, will make the E2 easier and safer to fly.
The new aircraft have longer maintenance intervals. Embraer claims the E190-E2 has “the longest maintenance intervals in the single aisle market with 10,000 flight hours for basic checks and no calendar limit” assuming typical utilisation rates. The company said this will translate to an additional 15 days of aircraft utilisation over a ten-year period.
Despite all these systems changes, Embraer emphasises the E2s maintain commonality with the E1s. Although new in design, the wings are still made from aluminium. The Primus Epic 2 avionics are an evolution of the Primus Epic used in the first-generation aircraft, meaning type-rated E1 pilots will only need 2.5 days to transition on to an E2, with no full flight simulator or flying time required.
“We took advantage of improved tools used in aerodynamic, aeroelastic and structural design to design a wing with larger span and simpler planar wingtips’.
Embraer is running a hybrid production line turning out both E1s and E2s. Components for E2s are produced by an extensive global supplier network. Wing skins and panels, large wing components, composite parts and some larger structural assemblies, such as the horizontal stabiliser, are produced by Embraer’s factory at Evora in Portugal.
Complex machined sheet metal components, composites and subassemblies are produced in Brazil by Embraer. Its Botucatu factory supplies the forward fuselage and centre fuselage panels and subassemblies, and the Faria Lima facility the wing boxes, wing stub and centre fuselage stages.
Assembly starts in a hangar called F107 with the junction of fuselage sections, before the fuselage is joined to the wing box. The fuselage and wing box are then painted before the aircraft moves to F60 hangar, where the fuselage and wing are equipped, landing gears fitted, electrical and hydraulic systems installed and the aircraft powered on. Aircraft then go to F220 hangar, where the engines are hung, the interior is installed and integration tests carried out. A move to F51 hangar, from where ground and flight tests are performed, precedes preparations for delivery in F300 hangar.
On the market
The E-Jets E2s are of course not the only regional jets available. Bombardier still produces the CRJ and, as AIR International reported in the April 2018 issue, the Canadian company is continuing to invest in that family. There are also new market entrants in the form of the Sukhoi SSJ-100 Superjet and the Mitsubishi Regional Jet.
Embraer believes the E2s have an edge on their competitors, because of the maturity provided by the large in-service E1 fleet (more than 1,400 aircraft), which has accumulated over 22 million flying hours since entering service in the mid-2000s.
Embraer told AIR International the E2s would provide, “best-in-class operational performance due to all the lessons learned from our current-generation E-Jets experience and customer support organisation. The customer will get all the benefits of a clean-sheet design, but with the reliability of a mature platform’.
Embraer is, however, looking beyond the regional jet segment. As John Slattery, Embraer’s Chief Executive off cer for Commercial Aviation, wrote in a recent blog post: “Nearly half of the 1,350 new city pairs added in 2017 were served by aircraft with fewer than 150 seats. Those new routes alone accounted for 25 million passengers’.
Embraer believes the E190-E2 and E195-E2 have a future in this sub-150 seats category by off ering right-sized capacity for a space in the market, above the smaller regional jets but below the smallest Airbus and Boeing single-aisles, the A319ceo/ A319neo and 737-700/737 MAX 7, and Bombardier’s C Series variants, the 110- 130-seat CS100 and the 130-160-seat. CS300.
The company told AIR International: “The E2 will be capable of achieving a similar cost-per-seat as larger re-engined narrowbody aircraft, but with up to 20% lower costs per trip. When compared to the C Series, the E195-E2 has 10% more seats than the CS100, and yet matches the aircraft in terms of trip cost.
“Also, the 146-seat E195-E2 is 10% better than the CS100 in terms of cost per seat and 10% better than the CS300 in terms of cost per trip. These figures are proof the E2 family includes the most effcient aircraft with up to 150 seats’.
Richard Aboulafia, Vice-President Analysis at the Teal Group consultancy, believes this strategy of focusing on the sub-150 seats segment is “a smart move”. He told AIR International: “The regional market is quite flat and if 100-seat point-to-point route demand is removed, core regional demand has been shrinking for some time.
“While the low end of the mainline market isn’t growing, it might benefit from right-sizing and route fragmentation, if relative production costs can be brought in line with larger jets.
It won’t have the numbers associated with mainline jetliners, but the E190/E195 will continue to be the closest thing the world has seen to a profitable 100-seat jetliner. This will continue to be a successful programme” .