Embraer Phenom 300E
Embraer Phenom 300E

Embraer Phenom 300E

A bestselling business jet gets another laudable upgrade.

A new version of Embraer’s Phenom 300E, which received FAA certification in late March, offers a faster top speed than its predecessor as well as upgraded avionics and an improved cabin. These enhancements are especially noteworthy since the Phenom 300 has been a bestselling light jet for the past seven years, with more than 540 entering service since the first delivery in 2009. Its competitors are Cessna’s Citation CJ3+ and CJ4, the Learjet 75, and Pilatus’s PC-24.

In 2018, Embraer upgraded the Phenom 300 with the E package, adding features to the Lufthansa Technik nice-HD cabin management system and other comfort elements. What’s new in the cabin of the $9.65 million latest version of the 300E—which has also been certified by aviation authorities in Brazil and Europe—is the availability of the Bossa Nova interior. That interior takes attributes from the Praetor 600, such as Ipanema stitching and details, carbon-fiber accents, piano-black veneer, accent leather, and gold plating. The interior is also much quieter than that on the previous 300E, thanks to engineering changes to mechanical components.

Embraer Phenom 300E Interior
Embraer Phenom 300E Interior

Sound-suppression improvements include new thermal-acoustic insulation, which lowers the high-pitch tone of the engines during climb by minimizing the blade-passing frequency perceived in the cabin, according to Embraer. Engineers also redesigned three check valves to eliminate metallic flapper noise during descent and final approach. A new muffler in the vapor-cycle air-conditioning system eliminates noise from the condenser fan, which previously could be heard during approach; it also reduces noise from the system when it’s running on the ground.

The 300E is available with three interior layouts. The maximum number of occupants in one available layout is 11 (one pilot, 10 passengers), and this includes a belted lavatory seat and a two-place divan opposite the main entry door. If that divan is replaced with a single seat, the total drops to 10. For nine occupants, the seat opposite the entry door is replaced with storage/galley features.

Another improvement for pilots and passengers is upgrading the airborne connectivity to Gogo’s Avance L5 air-to-ground system, which offers much faster service in the U.S. and many areas in Canada, allowing streaming of movies, emails with attachments, and Gogo’s Text & Talk service. Avance L5 does require two rather large antennas mounted on the bottom of the fuselage, but the faster service makes these worthwhile.

The most significant change in the new Phenom 300E is its more powerful Pratt & Whitney PW535E1 engines with 3,478 pounds of thrust, up by 118 pounds per engine. The increased power means faster ascents and a new top speed of Mach .80 or 464 knots true airspeed, up from Mach .78 and 446 knots. The power increase was done via a software change to the engines’ full authority digital electronic engine controls, thanks to some extra power margin built into the engines.

Embraer engineers were able to carve out extra fuel volume, and the 300E carries another 50 pounds, boosting range to more than 2,100 nautical miles at long-range cruise speed. Maximum payload remains the same at 2,436 pounds, but payload with maximum fuel is up 26 pounds to 1,387 pounds.

You can choose to go faster in the new 300E or slow down and go farther. For example, with six occupants, range at long-range cruise speed is 2,010 nautical miles. At maximum cruise speed, that drops to 1,865 nautical miles. Those numbers are for the baseline airplane; most buyers will opt for typically equipped configurations, which means that you could still fly the 1,865 nautical miles at high speed but with five occupants, not six.

Taller pilots will love the new space on the flight deck. By moving the bulkheads behind the pilot seats farther aft and redesigning the location of some items that live in the bulkhead area, Embraer was able to add 40 percent to the length of the pilot seat tracks. This might not seem like much, but the flight deck can now comfortably accommodate pilots up to six feet four inches, solving an issue with the Phenom 300.

Embraer Phenom 300E Cockpit
Embraer Phenom 300E Cockpit

Pilots will also enjoy the new avionics capabilities in the Garmin G3000–based Prodigy Touch flight deck. This includes new avionics display hardware with much faster processors, higher resolution, and improved map-panning features. In addition, Embraer has added emergency descent mode as a standard feature; it autonomously flies the airplane to a lower altitude in case of decompression at high altitudes.

The new displays and software load enable the addition of graphical weight and balance, takeoff and landing data, and performance calculations and autopilot-coupled go-arounds, all also standard features, as is ADS-B Out/In.

To help pilots avoid landing problems, Embraer added the standard Stabilized Approach System and the optional Runway Overrun and Awareness Alerting System or ROAAS. Designed to reduce the risk of a runway overrun on landing, ROAAS addresses one of the top issues in business aviation safety. Overruns are the third-­biggest cause of incidents and accidents in business aviation, and traditional mitigation efforts such as training aren’t helping reduce the accidents.

Embraer Phenom 300E
Embraer Phenom 300E

ROAAS calculates runway distance in real-time while the Phenom is approaching and landing; accounts for deviations that may lead to an overrun; and advises the pilot to perform a go-around or to use maximum braking action once on the runway.

ROAAS bases its warnings, which are both aural and visual on the flight display, on the actual weight of the airplane by recalculating in real-time the aircraft’s energy state. This is a unique system and the first-ever application certified for business aviation, although similar technology has been implemented by Airbus for its commercial airplanes and is planned for the Gulfstream G700.

The upgrades—some of which will be available for retrofit on existing Phenom 300s—all make a lot of sense. They improve upon an already excellent aircraft, making the cabin and flight deck more comfortable while adding important safety features.     

2020 Embraer Phenom 300E at a Glance

Price*: $9.65 million

Passengers: 8–10 (plus 1 crew)

Range**: 2,010 nm

Long-range cruise: 385 ktas

Maximum takeoff weigh: 18,551 lb


Volume: 325 cu ft

Width: 5.1 ft

Height: 4.9 ft

Length: 17 ft 2 in

Baggage capacity: 84 cu ft

Source: Embraer   

*typically completed and equipped ** w/NBAA reserves, 100-nm alternate