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Embraer begins building first part for Legacy 500 jet

Brazil-based Embraer has begun producing the first part for its Legacy 500 midsize business jet, an important program milestone, the company said. The part will be part of the forward fuselage for a prototype aircraft.

The plane is on schedule for flight testing to begin in the second half of 2011, the company said.

The prototype will also be used in its Legacy 450 midlight jet program. The main structure of the planes will be built from aluminum alloy, but a substantial amount of their content will be made of composite materials.

In the production process, there will be a “considerable increase” in the use of robots, the company said. And for the first time in a production aircraft, the company will use friction stir welding.

Embraer, based in Sao Jose dos Campos, announced the programs in September 2007 at the National Business Aviation Association annual convention in Atlanta.