Executive Jet Maker Launches Smart Plane, Plans For Silicon Valley Market

(KPIX 5) — It’s the fastest, most tech-savvy private jet in its class.

The Legacy 500 is made by Brazilian aerospace conglomerate Embraer, the 3rd largest commercial and executive aircraft maker in the world, after Boeing and Airbus.

“It’s the tech plane for the tech valley,” said Jay Beever, VP of Interior Design of Embraer Executive Jets.

Think of the 12-passenger plane as a smart jet – an extension of the smart phone and smart home.

“It really functions off of relevant technology, consumer electronics capabilities of today, but as well with the wireless capability, the HDMI connections, being able to watch and use your Apple TV while you’re on the plane like you might at home,” said Beever.

Everything in the cabin, including the lighting, temperature and the entertainment system, can be controlled by wireless technology, and accessed through an iPad.

Passengers can also access the same controls in hidden panels.

Embraer Executive Jets – the company division based in Florida – is banking on Silicon Valley business. It recently opened its first Bay Area innovation office to partner with startups and develop new technologies.

“This is a hub for the world of what the future will be so there’s absolute relevance for us to be here,” Beever said.

Price tag of the Legacy 500 – $20 million. And 50 have sold in the world so far. But it’s not just for the ultra-high net worth flyer. With the rise in jet-sharing startups, including JetSmarter and JetLux which buy planes from Embraer, more people can experience the high life at a fraction of that cost.

Embraer says it’s the only company taking custom design to a whole new level.  For example, buyers can create a Japanese-inspired living space. They can also channel the 1920s and 30s in New York City with art deco-style cabin design, complete with retractable bar stools.

Out-of-the-box designs like floor-to-ceiling windows can also be made to order thanks to 3D printing.

“The technology that we like to talk about, the luxury of the future, are larger windows and those structures being reinforced perhaps with 3D printed titanium that otherwise wouldn’t have been able to be made,” he said.

Customers can also choose green materials for the interior including chrome-free leather for the seats.

The fully digital flight controls also make the Legacy 500 more fuel efficient.

Whatever design, Embraer says it wants fliers to hardly notice the technology at work. “So when the technology isn’t the center piece, but again the humble servant behind the scenes,” said Beever.

More from Betty Yu
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