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Maintenance

E1 + E2 = Mx²

Embraer is already looking at maintenance policies and procedures for its new E-Jet E2 family while continuing to look after existing types. Ian Harbison reports
 

While other airframe manufacturers bemoan development delays, Embraer is continuing its tradition of pushing the boundaries when it comes to a new aircraft. Back in 1995, it secretly flew its ERJ 145 prototype for the first time before the rollout. A low level flying display immediately after the presentation amazed the spectators at the company’s facility in São José dos Campos.

 

In May this year, the company triumphed again with the first flight of the new 106-seat E190-E2 just three months after the rollout and ahead of a planned 2H16 event. The flight lasted three hours and 20 minutes and evaluated aircraft handling and performance characteristics with the crew analysing a significant number of flight parameters, including speed, altitude and landing gear retraction. This included flying at M0.82, climbing to 41,000ft, retracting the landing gear and flaps, and engaging the fly-by-wire system in normal mode. The aircraft will be dedicated to tests on systems, loads, aero-elasticity, external noise and crosswind handling.

 

The success continued, so much so that after 46 hours and 24 minutes of testing in just over six weeks, the aircraft arrived at the Farnborough International Airshow after a 12 hour and 40 minute ferry flight. This involved a refuelling stop at Recife in north-east Brazil, followed by a South Atlantic crossing to Sal in Cabo Verde and on to Europe.

 

Almost simultaneously, on 8 July, the second prototype joined the programme with a maiden flight of two hours and 55 minutes. This is designated for systems testing and general aircraft performance. The third test aircraft, which will focus on flying qualities and icing conditions, joined the programme on 27 August.

 

The fourth and final E190-E2 protoype will be fitted with a full production specification cabin interior and will be used to measure comfort and internal noise levels and specific tests such as emergency evacuation. This should fly in early 2017.

 

Entry into service is scheduled during the first half of 2018 and the company seems confident that this target will be met, attributing the rapid progress so far to the extensive use of digital modelling simulations and ground and static tests that employed rigs and an iron bird.

 

Much of this is also being applied to the other two models in the E2 family, which will see two development aircraft for the larger 132-seat E195-E2, due to enter service in 2019, and three for the smallest variant, the 88-seat E175-E2, which will follow a year later. 

 

There has been one major change to the design. Originally, a common wing was to be used across all three models. Now, the wingspan has been optimised for each version: E175-E2 (31.4m), E190-E2 (33.7m) and E195-E2 (35.1m).

 

There are also differences between engines. Although all use the Pratt & Whitney PurePower geared turbofan, the E175-E2 has the PW1700G with up to 17,000lb of thrust while the E190-E2 and E195-E2 use the more powerful PW1900G with up to 23,000lb of thrust. The engines have fan diameters of 56in and 73in respectively.

 

Maintenance

Johann Bordais, Vice President Services and Support, says Embraer has drawn on company-wide experience in developing maintenance plans for the E2, including the commercial, business jet and military divisions, particularly the KC-390 tactical transport that is in the development phase as well. 

Of course, the heart of the new proposals comes from field experience and the 12 million flight hours accumulated by the current E-Jet fleet. This has enabled Embraer to offer an initial check interval at 850 flight hours and the first C check at 8,500 flight hours.

 

It is 650 and 6,500 hours for the E1, which was increased from 600 and 6,000 hours through the Maintenance Plan Evolution Programme. This involved analysis with the airworthiness authorities of 1.5 million task reports from across the fleet and these have been read across to the E2 in some common areas. >>


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