“When you get into the larger aircraft it becomes like a hotel, with dozens of staff supporting the plane based in a galley area down below. You have very comprehensive cooking facilities, and on larger aircraft we have looked at theatres, with spiral staircases and a Steinway grand piano. The limitations for what you can put inside a plane are pretty much the limits of physics, and even money cannot always overcome that. Even so, people are still always trying to push [the limits]. ”
Luis Carlos Affonso
Dreams do come true, and Luis Carlos Affonso is proof. An aeronautical engineer and private pilot, he took over in the spring of 2005 as executive vice president of the newly formed Embraer Executive Aviation division, a position he described as "just where I want to be."
He is the product of an engineering education, and after 22 years with Embraer, a life designing and building airplanes for the Brazilian manufacturer is as much a calling as it is a profession. When Embraer decided to launch a business aircraft manufacturing division, it was with the blessing of then-president and CEO Mauricio Botelho that the company selected Affonso to head the effort.
After two years under his leadership, the outlook for the company's business jet division is bright. The order book for the Legacy 600, Embraer's first executive jet, has passed 150; orders for the new Phenom 100 very light jet and Phenom 300 light jet total more than 500; and about 10 orders have been placed for the Lineage 1000, an executive/VIP version of Embraer's E190 airliner. At the National Business Aviation Association's convention in September, Affonso unveiled two more business jets currently under study. Both are clean-sheet projects, one of which was on display at the show in the form of a full-scale cabin mockup.