Embraer’s first U.S.-built Phenom 300 makes first flight

Embraer’s first U.S.-assembled Phenom 300 light business jet took its maiden flight this week.

The aircraft was assembled at Embraer’s Melbourne, Fla. plant and will be used by the Brazil-based company as a flight demonstrator.

Embraer officials hail the flight as a milestone for its 23-month-old U.S. production facility.

“The reduction in production time to half of what it took for the first Phenom 100 means the processes we put in place for production have now matured,” Phil Krull, managing director of the site, said in a statement.

The plant is on schedule to produce eight planes per month as it ramps up to full production in the coming months, Krull said.

Embraer opened the facility in February 2011. In December 2011, it opened a 58,000-square-foot customer center at the site.

Last month, it began construction on a $26 million, 67,000 square-foot engineering and technical center. Completion is expected in mid-2014.

The $50 million investment in the site, along with investments in manufacturing elsewhere, reflects Embraer’s commitment to business aviation, the company said.