Embraer E190E2 in-flight. Photo: Embraer

MIAMI — Embraer has begun the flight testing campaign of its E190-E2, the first of a new generation of regional family aircraft. The first flight of the aircaft took place today at 13:06 local time at the company’s production plant located in Sao Jose dos Campos in Brazil, and it flew for three hours and 20 minutes.

The airframer posted photos and videos of the test flight to social media with the caption “E190-E2 is now airborne #E2firstflight.”

“A first flight is always an emotional occasion, no matter how many you witness over the years. In this particular case, we are not only keeping our promises to the market, we are going beyond by being a few months ahead of schedule. I want to thank each and every Embraer employee who is participating in this project,” said Frederico Fleury Curado, Embraer President & CEO.

Embraer Captain Mozart Louzada commanded the aircraft along with First Officer Gerson de Oliveira Mendes, and Flight Test Engineers Alexandre Figueiredo and Carlos Silveira. Today’s flight evaluated aircraft handling and performance characteristics with the crew analyzing a significant number of flight parameters, including speed, altitude and landing gear retraction.

“There are always a lot of expectations with a first flight and todays’ was no exception. The flight was very smooth. We were able to significantly open the flight envelope by flying at mach 0.82, climbing to 41,000 feet and retracting the landing gear and flaps, and engaging the fly-by-wire in normal mode. All of these demonstrate that the E190-E2 project is very mature and robust, and exceed all performance targets,” said Captain Louzada.

The first flight takes place just three months after its rollout last February 25. The E190-E2 is the latest addition to competing new narrow-body aircraft: the Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX, Bombardier CSeries, Mitsubishi MRJ90 and COMAC C919 that have all been newsworthy over the last months.

The E2 family aircraft is a major upgrade to the original EJet series launched over a decade ago. The new family will comprise the E175-E2, the smallest member of the family, the E190-E2 and the stretched E195-E2.

This aircraft is the first of four prototypes that will be used in the E190-E2 certification campaign, and its entry into service is expected to take place in 2018. Two additional planes will be added for the E195-E2 campaign, which will enter into service in 2019, and three more will be used in the E175-E2 campaign, which is scheduled to begin services a year later.