Finance I flew on a $20 million Embraer Legacy 500 private jet and understand why Jackie Chan bought one

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The $20 million Embraer Legacy 500 can make non-stop flights from New York to LA.

Me and the Embraer Legacy 500. play

Me and the Embraer Legacy 500.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)
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  • The Embraer Legacy 500 is a midsize private jet introduced in 2014
  • It costs $20 million and can fly non-stop between New York and LA.
  • The Legacy 500 seats between eight and 12 passengers.

Every product needs a good pitchman. For the Embraer Legacy 500, that person is movie legend, Jackie Chan. The kung fu star and Academy Award winner is a former Embraer brand ambassador and owns a small fleet of the company's private jets, including the first Legacy 500 in delivered to China.

According to Embraer, Chan uses the $20 million Embraer 500 for shorter trips within China while a larger airliner-based Legacy 650 is used for trans-oceanic flights.

As a lifelong fan of Jackie Chan, I was curious to see what drew the actor to the Legacy 500. Recently, Business Insider got the chance to take a test flight on board one of the Embraer's demonstrator at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey.

The afternoon flight took us north over the upstate New York and New England before return to New Jersey.

Here's a closer look at our flight on the Embraer Legacy 500.

We arrived at Teterboro Airport on a sunny July afternoon. Waiting for us on the airport's busy tarmac was a silver and blue Legacy 500.

We arrived at Teterboro Airport on a sunny July afternoon. Waiting for us on the airport's busy tarmac was a silver and blue Legacy 500. play

We arrived at Teterboro Airport on a sunny July afternoon. Waiting for us on the airport's busy tarmac was a silver and blue Legacy 500.

(Hollis Johnson)


Overall, the Legacy 500 is 68 feet long and 21 feet tall with a 66 and a half-foot wingspan.

Overall, the Legacy 500 is 68 feet long and 21 feet tall with a 66 and a half-foot wingspan. play

Overall, the Legacy 500 is 68 feet long and 21 feet tall with a 66 and a half-foot wingspan.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


Introduced in 2014, it is the Brazilian airplane maker's latest midsize private jet.

Introduced in 2014, it is the Brazilian airplane maker's latest midsize private jet. play

Introduced in 2014, it is the Brazilian airplane maker's latest midsize private jet.

(Hollis Johnson)


While our demonstrator was built in Brazil, production of the Legacy 500 has shifted to Embraer's factory in Melbourne, Florida.

While our demonstrator was built in Brazil, production of the Legacy 500 has shifted to Embraer's factory in Melbourne, Florida. play

While our demonstrator was built in Brazil, production of the Legacy 500 has shifted to Embraer's factory in Melbourne, Florida.

(Hollis Johnson)


Aesthetically, the Legacy 500 is eye-catching but does so without the imposing physique of a big Gulfstream G650 or the quirky design of little HondaJet. In other words, it exudes a certain understated elegance.

Aesthetically, the Legacy 500 is eye-catching but does so without the imposing physique of a big Gulfstream G650 or the quirky design of little HondaJet. In other words, it exudes a certain understated elegance. play

Aesthetically, the Legacy 500 is eye-catching but does so without the imposing physique of a big Gulfstream G650 or the quirky design of little HondaJet. In other words, it exudes a certain understated elegance.

(Hollis Johnson)


The Legacy 500 is powered by two Honeywell HTF 7500E turbofan engines, each production more than 7,000 pounds of thrust.

The Legacy 500 is powered by two Honeywell HTF 7500E turbofan engines, each production more than 7,000 pounds of thrust. play

The Legacy 500 is powered by two Honeywell HTF 7500E turbofan engines, each production more than 7,000 pounds of thrust.

(Hollis Johnson)


In addition, the plane is equipped with a Honeywell auxiliary power unit in the tail of the plane that can generate electricity and be used to start its engines.

In addition, the plane is equipped with a Honeywell auxiliary power unit in the tail of the plane that can generate electricity and be used to start its engines. play

In addition, the plane is equipped with a Honeywell auxiliary power unit in the tail of the plane that can generate electricity and be used to start its engines.

(Hollis Johnson)


Step inside and the Legacy 500 really starts to impress.

Step inside and the Legacy 500 really starts to impress. play

Step inside and the Legacy 500 really starts to impress.

(Hollis Johnson)


According to Embraer, the Legacy 500 has the roomiest cabin in its class and the only one that allows passengers to stand up without the need of a footwell running along the middle of the plane.

According to Embraer, the Legacy 500 has the roomiest cabin in its class and the only one that allows passengers to stand up without the need of a footwell running along the middle of the plane. play

According to Embraer, the Legacy 500 has the roomiest cabin in its class and the only one that allows passengers to stand up without the need of a footwell running along the middle of the plane.

(Hollis Johnson)


In total, the Legacy 500 can seat 8 to 12 passengers depending on how the customer configures the aircraft.

In total, the Legacy 500 can seat 8 to 12 passengers depending on how the customer configures the aircraft. play

In total, the Legacy 500 can seat 8 to 12 passengers depending on how the customer configures the aircraft.

(Hollis Johnson)


The Legacy's cabin is pretty adaptable. It can be optioned with individual lounge seats or...

The Legacy's cabin is pretty adaptable. It can be optioned with individual lounge seats or... play

The Legacy's cabin is pretty adaptable. It can be optioned with individual lounge seats or...

(Hollis Johnson)


...With an optional divan.

...With an optional divan. play

...With an optional divan.

(Hollis Johnson)


All of the seats can be converted into beds for sleeping passengers.

All of the seats can be converted into beds for sleeping passengers. play

All of the seats can be converted into beds for sleeping passengers.

(Hollis Johnson)


In the back of the Legacy 500, you'll find a bathroom complete with...

In the back of the Legacy 500, you'll find a bathroom complete with... play

In the back of the Legacy 500, you'll find a bathroom complete with...

(Hollis Johnson)


... A toilet.

... A toilet. play

... A toilet.

(Hollis Johnson)


Normally, the toilet is hidden under a cushioned seat.

Normally, the toilet is hidden under a cushioned seat. play

Normally, the toilet is hidden under a cushioned seat.

(Hollis Johnson)


In between the passenger cabin and the cockpit is the plane's galley complete with...

In between the passenger cabin and the cockpit is the plane's galley complete with... play

In between the passenger cabin and the cockpit is the plane's galley complete with...

(Hollis Johnson)


... Stone flooring.

... Stone flooring. play

... Stone flooring.

(Hollis Johnson)


As we prepared for takeoff,...

As we prepared for takeoff,... play

As we prepared for takeoff,...

(Hollis Johnson)


... I take my seat at the front of the cabin. It's one of the few instances where you get to experience intense acceleration while facing backward.

... I take my seat at the front of the cabin. It's one of the few instances where you get to experience intense acceleration while facing backward. play

... I take my seat at the front of the cabin. It's one of the few instances where you get to experience intense acceleration while facing backward.

(Hollis Johnson)


As well launch down Teterboro's runway, the Honeywell turbofan engines roars to life. Although the cabin remains fairly quiet. The thrust from the engine is forceful, but not jarring.

As well launch down Teterboro's runway, the Honeywell turbofan engines roars to life. Although the cabin remains fairly quiet. The thrust from the engine is forceful, but not jarring. play

As well launch down Teterboro's runway, the Honeywell turbofan engines roars to life. Although the cabin remains fairly quiet. The thrust from the engine is forceful, but not jarring.

(Hollis Johnson)


Since I was facing backward, the thrust pushed me firmly against my seatbelt rather than into my seat.

Since I was facing backward, the thrust pushed me firmly against my seatbelt rather than into my seat. play

Since I was facing backward, the thrust pushed me firmly against my seatbelt rather than into my seat.

(Hollis Johnson)


After the plane reached its cruising altitude, we had a light dinner and...

After the plane reached its cruising altitude, we had a light dinner and... play

After the plane reached its cruising altitude, we had a light dinner and...

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


... A glass of Champagne. The Legacy 500's maximum operating altitude is 45,000 feet.

... A glass of Champagne. The Legacy 500's maximum operating altitude is 45,000 feet. play

... A glass of Champagne. The Legacy 500's maximum operating altitude is 45,000 feet.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


During the flight, I was able to chat with Embraer's vice president of interior design, Jay Beever.

During the flight, I was able to chat with Embraer's vice president of interior design, Jay Beever. play

During the flight, I was able to chat with Embraer's vice president of interior design, Jay Beever.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)

Jay is famous for his stunning concept interiors that evokes everything from a Texas ranch to a Japanese zen garden. From the glamour of Hollywood to the elegance of a classic luxury yacht.



According to Jay, when it comes to private jet interiors, the devil is in the details. For instance, a few minor tweaks are the difference between whether a simple cup holder is elegant or plain.

According to Jay, when it comes to private jet interiors, the devil is in the details. For instance, a few minor tweaks are the difference between whether a simple cup holder is elegant or plain. play

According to Jay, when it comes to private jet interiors, the devil is in the details. For instance, a few minor tweaks are the difference between whether a simple cup holder is elegant or plain.

(Hollis Johnson)

In the Legacy 500, the cupholders have a metal ring separating the plastic and the fine wood veneer. It creates the illusion that the plane makers had to drill through a layer of wood and a layer of metal just to install the cup holder.



Since private jets are meant to have a service life that spans multiple decades, Jay has hidden of the plane's tech to give the interior a more timeless look.

Since private jets are meant to have a service life that spans multiple decades, Jay has hidden of the plane's tech to give the interior a more timeless look. play

Since private jets are meant to have a service life that spans multiple decades, Jay has hidden of the plane's tech to give the interior a more timeless look.

(Hollis Johnson)


Speaking of technology, the Legacy 500 is equipped with wifi connectivity, a full in-flight entertainment system, and a touchscreen cabin control system.

Speaking of technology, the Legacy 500 is equipped with wifi connectivity, a full in-flight entertainment system, and a touchscreen cabin control system. play

Speaking of technology, the Legacy 500 is equipped with wifi connectivity, a full in-flight entertainment system, and a touchscreen cabin control system.

(Hollis Johnson)


The Legacy 500's cockpit features a fully integrated Rockwell Collins Pro Line avionics suite with four 15.1 inch high-definition displays.

The Legacy 500's cockpit features a fully integrated Rockwell Collins Pro Line avionics suite with four 15.1 inch high-definition displays. play

The Legacy 500's cockpit features a fully integrated Rockwell Collins Pro Line avionics suite with four 15.1 inch high-definition displays.

(Hollis Johnson)


In addition, the Legacy 500 features fly-by-wire control flight technology with side-stick controls. Pilots also have access to a full head-up display.

In addition, the Legacy 500 features fly-by-wire control flight technology with side-stick controls. Pilots also have access to a full head-up display. play

In addition, the Legacy 500 features fly-by-wire control flight technology with side-stick controls. Pilots also have access to a full head-up display.

(Hollis Johnson)


According to Embraer, the Legacy 500 has a range of nearly 3,600 miles and can make non-stop flight between the east and west coast of the US. The Embraer also has a maximum cruising speed of 536 mph.

According to Embraer, the Legacy 500 has a range of nearly 3,600 miles and can make non-stop flight between the east and west coast of the US. The Embraer also has a maximum cruising speed of 536 mph. play

According to Embraer, the Legacy 500 has a range of nearly 3,600 miles and can make non-stop flight between the east and west coast of the US. The Embraer also has a maximum cruising speed of 536 mph.

(Hollis Johnson)