FAA Certifies New Embraer Jet Construction
By Ed Pierce // June 23, 2012
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – A sea of smiling faces greeted political and economic dignitaries to the Embraer Air production hangar in Melbourne on Monday morning.
They had good reason to be happy, as Embraer celebrated earning FAA certification for its line of new aircraft being constructed at the facility.
What it means is that for the first time, Embraer technicians have passed rigorous FAA inspections and all safety testing for its new aircraft and will now be able to increase the number of airplanes being built here.
“We’re very proud of this accomplishment, said Phil Krull, Embraer managing director. “This is a major milestone for our company.”
With an economic impact of more than $80 million and the addition of 230 jobs to Brevard County, Krull said Embraer is pleased to have finally cleared the hurdle of receiving FAA certification.
“We started out a year ago and today are delivering our fifth aircraft,” Krull said. “This is a really huge moment for us.”
On hand for the certification ceremony were Melbourne’s mayor Harry Goode and city manager Jack Schluckebier; State Sen. Thad Altman; President and CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast Lynda Weatherman; Embraer Aircraft Holding president Gary Spulak; FAA manager Mack Riley; Ernie Edwards president of Embraer Executive Jets; and representatives of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Rep. Bill Posey.
“Can you believe there’s something like this in Melbourne?” Goode said. “We wish you well and good luck for the future.”
Other community leaders agreed with Goode.
“It’s a beautiful thing seeing these aircraft move down the assembly line,” Altman said. “It’s logical that this is here seeing as we are one 0f the top 10 innovative communities in America.”
“This is a significant milestone for Embraer and is the culmination of a series of achievements in the last year,” said Ernie Edwards, President, Embraer Executive Jets. “We opened this facility just over a year ago, delivered the first U.S.-produced Phenom 100 in December and the first U.S.-produced aircraft to go to an international customer in March.”
The presentation caps four years of work by a dedicated team of professionals at Embraer and the FAA at both its FAA Manufacturing Inspection District Office office in Orlando and its Small Aircraft Directorate in Kansas City that inspects and certifies aircraft companies to manufacture products under an FAA-approved type design.
Altman praised Embraer for recognizing the abundance of talent on the Space Coast and for locating a production facility here.
“The Space Coast will exceed your expectations,” Altman said.
Weatherman said Monday’s certification is significant not only because it benefits the overall economy, but for an even greater reason.
“This designation speaks volumes about the quality and dedication of the workforce in our community,” she said.
Krull said right now Embraer is producing two aircraft a month in Melbourne and earning FAA certification means it can step up the pace.
“We want to eventually produce four aircraft a month here and the FAA certification will mean we can eventually reach that goal,” he said. The production certificate is a testament to the hard work of a team of Embraer employees,” Krull said. “We are justly proud of this facility in which we combined highly educated, high-tech people with advanced production techniques that are on the leading edge of modern aircraft production.
“Melbourne is Embraer’s first ‘paper-less’ line, a leaner, cleaner and faster process. Our employees here are proving these concepts and are leading the way,” Krull said. This FAA certification is recognition of that.”
The Production Certificate is an approval under 14 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) Part 21 and managed by the Small Aircraft Directorate. The Embraer and FAA teams worked on quality manuals, procedures and product audits, as well as, internal and external supplier visits to ensure all facets of production met the highest quality and safety standards.
Embraer is assembling Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 business jets at its 67,000-square-foot hanger and paint shop near the Melbourne Airport.
When it opened last fall, the Melbourne site became Embraer’s first production factory in America and only the second Embraer facility outside of company headquarters in São José dos Campos, Brazil.
All construction of Embaer’s Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 executive jets will be done at the Melbourne assembly location, which cost $50 million to build.
Other major components — engines and avionics – are supplied directly to Embraer by manufacturers and shipped here.
Krull said the operation is now working seven days a week in Melbourne constructing and assembling the Phenom.
The Phenom 100 can seat up to eight and has a range of 1,178 nautical miles, while the Phenom 300 can reach a speed of 521 mph and fly at an altitude of 45,000 miles with a range of 1,971 nautical miles.