Carenado Embraer 'Phenom 100' Review
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Embraer 'Phenom 100'
For FSX / Prepar3D Published by Carenado
Reviewed by Andrew Godden
November 2014

Introduction

The very light jet (VLJ) category in aviation has had a relatively slow start due to external pressures on the industry. Nonetheless, since the mid 2000s, the available model range and firm orders placed with manufacturers have increased steadily. The Embraer EMB-500 'Phenom 100' is Embraer's offering in the VLJ market niche.

Renowned for producing general aviation aircraft models for Microsoft Flight Simulator, Carenado recently expanded their model range into larger aircraft categories with the Beechcraft B1900D. The Embraer 'Phenom 100' is the latest offering from Carenado which expands their offering further into the VLJ category. Aesthetically, the 'Phenom 100' is a beautiful aircraft, and this is an aircraft which is deserving of a closer look.

History

The Embraer 'Phenom 100' has a capacity for four passengers in its normal configuration, but can carry up to six passengers with a single crew and with an optional side facing seat and belted toilet. The aircraft is fitted with two rear-mounted turbofan engines which have dual full authority digital engine control (FADEC).

Embraer launched the EMB-500 VLJ, later assigned the marketing name of the 'Phenom 100', in May 2005. After its first flight on 26 July 2007, the first production delivery was made to a customer in December 2008, just under 18 months later. Now with over 300 aircraft produced, the 'Phenom 100' continues to be a solid performer for Embraer.

Availability and Installation

The Carenado Embraer 'Phenom 100' is currently available direct from Carenado and Carenado resellers as a 'download only' product (some resellers also offer a master back-up CD / DVD service for a minor additional cost). It is priced at US$39.95, or the equivalent on currency cross rates. The download file size is 258MB and it requires 670MB of HDD space for installation. An ‘activation key' is issued on purchase and is used during installation and the installation process is intuitive and seamless.

Model Features

The model features listed by Carenado for the Embraer 'Phenom 100' are typical of models in the Carenado range and include:
        ● HD quality textures (2048 x 2048);
        ● Carenado G1000 'Prodigy' glass cockpit system, with input keyboard;
        ● weather radar embedded in the G1000;
        ● original Phenom EADI;
        ● original Phenom systems and status screens;
        ● customizable panel for controlling aircraft windows transparency, instrument reflections, and static elements;
        ● real weight and balance, and realistic behaviour; and
        ● full FSX and P3D v2.0 compatibility.

Visual Appearance

General. The Embraer 'Phenom 100' oozes luxury and refinement. Compact and sleek, it is a personal corporate VLJ which makes a statement about the class of its owner and Carenado have captured this and the appealing design and sleekness of the 'Phenom 100' beautifully.

Exterior. The Embraer 'Phenom 100' is reflective of the Embraer range and displays the characteristic design of Embraer aircraft. Carenado's modelling of the 'Phenom 100' is excellent. With very accurate modelling, a very high level of detail, and sharp, crisp lines, the modelling of the 'Phenom 100' displays the classic Carenado touch they have become renowned for. The surface textures, reflections, and shadings give the aircraft a crisp and realistic appearance, providing for a very natural appearance, with the nose cowl of the engine nacelles being particularly magnificent. The absence of any dirt, grease, or oil stains, reflect the limousine like quality of this aircraft. A comparative review of photographs of real world aircraft to Carenado's rendition reveal the exterior shape and dimensions to be extremely accurate and a true representation of the real world aircraft.


Sleek


Compact


The Pointy End


Landing Gear

Interior. The first views of the interior nearly take your breath away - this is Carenado through and through. If the exterior oozes refinement, the interior is simply dripping with it. The cockpit has a highly functional layout and follows the somewhat standard layout for Embraer aircraft. Centred around the Garmin G1000 based 'Prodigy' glass cockpit avionics suite, this is an 'office' you can enjoy sitting in for those long corporate flights. Even for its compact size, the rear cabin is appointed like chambers at the Temple end of Fleet Street, adorned with plush leather seats and highly polished wood grain panelling. The qualities of the textures are such that you can nearly reach out and feel the quality of the leather on the seats and see your reflection in the panelling. Again, a comparative review of photographs of real world aircraft to Carenado's rendition reveal the interior shape and dimensions to be extremely accurate and a true representation of the real world aircraft. Any noted differences were minor are considered to be related to real world production variations or a degree of artistic licence on the part of the developer.


The Office


Luxury


Just Sit Back & Relax

Flight Instruments and Systems. For some, and particularly those not familiar with a full glass cockpit, they can be complex and daunting. However, there is a benign simplicity to them as well, with all the relevant flight, engine, navigation, and other data presented on two large LCD screens. Once you are familiar with the basic operation of the 'Prodigy' suite, flying the 'Phenom 100' is a breeze, and further mastery of the suite can follow relatively quickly. The 'Prodigy' and other elements of the cockpit are highly accurate and very detailed, and clear and easy to read. Naturally, at lower zoom ranges, some of the clarity is lost on the LCD screens and panel labelling and can be difficult to read, however, various alternative cockpit camera views are available to provide more detailed views. Whilst the Garmin G1000 'Prodigy' can first appear to be a daunting avionics suite to master, the manual covers its in quite some detail and is a MUST READ at some stage.


Pilot Position


Copilot Position


Prodigy Avionics Suite


Throttle Quadrant

Liveries. There are six individual liveries (a selection only shown below) provided with the Carenado Embraer 'Phenom 100', each having a unique aircraft registration number, as well as a blank texture for aircraft painting enthusiasts. The liveries display the usual Carenado high quality. Surface textures, reflections, and shadings give the aircraft a crisp and realistic appearance, with additional dirt, oil, and grease stains providing a very natural appearance.


N358JS


N1537S


N1367R


N9085C

Animations, Lighting and Sounds

The animations of the primary and secondary control surfaces and other moving elements on Carenado's Embraer 'Phenom 100' are all modelled faithfully and include:
        ● primary control surfaces – ailerons, elevator and rudder;
        ● secondary control surfaces – flaps;
        ● others – retractable gear, trim tabs, rolling wheels, cabin door open / close, baggage access doors open / close, cockpit window visors, and
            cabin window shades; and
        ● various static ground elements.


Parked Up


Shades Down

The lighting and lighting effects on the 'Phenom 100' are a good, realistic representation of the real world aircraft. In particular, the interior custom lighting control, which provides detailed night light effects for the instrument panel and the cockpit, are very good and replicate the night lighting seen in photographs of real world aircraft.


Late Night in the Office


Cabin Mood Lighting


Blinded by the Light

As best as could be assessed, the sounds on the Carenado 'Phenom 100' are also reasonably realistic of the real world aircraft, if not somewhat generic in nature.

General Characteristics and Performance Specifications

The general characteristics and performance specifications for the Embraer 'Phenom 100' are provided in the table. This is based on data from the official Embraer 'Phenom 100' Pilot Operating Handbooks, data provided by Carenado, and general research sources. Some of this data varies between sources and also may be an approximation due to variances in data and the specific aircraft modelled by Carenado.


Flight Performance

A specific Test Flight was conducted from Hobart (YMHB) to Bundaberg (YBUD) to test the flight performance of Carenado's Embraer 'Phenom 100'. The flight was conducted in clear weather with a full fuel load and the aircraft at maximum take-off weight (MTOW). A cruise altitude of FL280 was adopted and the route distance was approximately 1,100 nm. The route was particularly chosen to provide a basis upon which to test the range characteristics of the 'Phenom 100'. Like most aircraft of this type, adjustments must be made to fuel / pax loading to remain within the MTOW limitations.


In Flight


Sheer Pleasure

With the 'Phenom 100' at MTOW, the take-off roll is long, nearly arduous, but once established on the climb to cruise, the nimbleness of this aircraft becomes apparent. Established at the specified rate of climb, the 'Phenom 100' climbs effortlessly, but as altitude increases, it requires the natural adjustments to the rate of climb to maintain an optimum climb speed until the aircraft was established at the cruise altitude and a cruise speed of Mach 0.50. It was noted that a marginally higher than stated N1% was required to achieve the specified cruise speed, however this is not considered significant.

The cruise setting produced endurance reasonably consistent with the range characteristics of the aircraft, albeit fuel starvation occurred whilst taxiing to the ramp. The Test Flight confirms the modelling of the 'Phenom 100' for cruise speed and range performance to be reasonably accurate.


Flying Made Easy


Excellent Detail

The aircraft was easy to taxi. With flaps setting of 'Flaps 1', aircraft rotation occurred at approximately 105 knots indicated air speed (KIAS) and the aircraft easily maintained a normal climb speed at the specified rate of climb of 1,300 ft/min. The climb to cruise altitude was also within the specified procedure parameters. Configured for landing, the aircraft’s approach speed was approximately 105 KIAS and it touched down at approximately 95 KIAS.

In testing the accuracy of the instruments, based on the measured Test Flight, the speed indications on the airspeed indicator, were consistent with the averages measured. Additionally, when establishing a set rate of climb on the vertical speed indicator, the respective gain in altitude on the altimeter was achieved within the measured minute, and a standard rate turn was achieved within the measured two minute period using the turn coordinator.


Turning for Finals


Final Approach

In all, the performance of Carenado’s Embraer 'Phenom 100' was excellent in flight, displaying the expected flight characteristics of this aircraft. The aircraft is nimble, handles beautifully, and is a delight to fly. Overall, the aircraft model displays a very accurate rendition of the flight characteristics and a reasonably accurate rendition of performance of the real world aircraft.

Documentation

There are five manuals / documents provided in Adobe Acrobat format (.pdf) for the Embraer 'Phenom 100':
    Carenado 'Prodigy' G1000 - this 33 page manual details the operating of the G1000 'Prodigy' avionics suite;
    Normal Procedures - this 27 page manual details the procedures for the normal operation of the aircraft;
    Performance Tables – this 12 page manual details the performance tables and specifications for the aircraft;
    Emergency Procedures – this six page manual details the emergency procedures for the aircraft; and
    Recommended Settings – this two page document detailed recommended FSX settings for display and realism.

Value for Money

On a value for money assessment, the Carenado Embraer 'Phenom 100' is considered excellent.

Simulator Performance

The aircraft model performed excellently within the existing settings I have in FSX. I have most of my settings set very high and there was no need to make any adjustments. FSX continued to perform smoothly and as it would with any default aircraft.

Technical Requirements

This version of the Carenado Embraer 'Phenom 100' is for FSX / P3D only. Other specified technical requirements are as follows:
* Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8 (32 or 64bit);
* Microsoft Flight Simulator FSX with SP1 and SP2 (or Acceleration Pack) or Lockheed Martin Prepar3d Flight Simulator v1.4 or v2.0 installed; and
* Pentium V, 3GHz or similar, 2GB RAM, 512MB graphics card, and 670MB available HDD space.

Review Computer Specifications

The specifications of the computer on which the review was conducted are as follows:
* Intel i7 990X Extreme 3.46GHz;
* NVidia GTX580, 1536MB graphics;
* 12GB Kingston DDR3 2000MHz;
* Windows 7, (64bit);
* Microsoft Flight Simulator FSX Acceleration; and
* additional major add-ons include: Active Sky Next, REX Essential Plus Overdrive; Ultimate Traffic 2; Orbx FTX Global BASE; Orbx FTX Global VECTOR; Orbx FTX Global openLC EU; Orbx FTX region series; and Orbx FTX airport series.

Conclusion

The Embraer 'Phenom 100' is another fantastic aircraft from Carenado and, yet again, Carenado have delivered an aircraft which is rich in detail and accuracy. The 'Phenom 100' displays an excellent balance of quality and detail at an excellent price. If you are a fan of corporate aircraft, VLJs, and / or Embraer aircraft in particular, you will enjoy the Carenado Embraer 'Phenom 100'.


Exquisite Elegance

Verdict

Another excellent product from Carenado, the Embraer 'Phenom 100' displays a high quality and attention to detail and represents excellent overall value for money.

Pros:
Quality and attention to detail.
Realistic modelling and performance.
Comprehensive documentation.
Excellent value for money.

Cons:
Minor issues only, as noted.

Scores:
   ● External Model: 10/10
   ● Internal Model: 9.5/10
   ● Sounds: 9.5/10
   ● Flight Characteristics (does it fly by the numbers): 10/10
   ● Flight Dynamics (does it feel like what it looks like): 9.5/10
   ● Documentation: 10/10
   ● Value for Money: 9.5/10

The Carenado Embraer 'Phenom 100' is awarded an overall Mutley’s Hangar score of 9.7/10,
with an "Outstanding" and a Mutley's Hangar Gold Award.


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