The Move To Quiet: Why The Embraer E2 Is Winning

The Embraer E2 is more than just a reiteration of the popular E-Jet. It’s a clean-sheet design that has taken every element of the original E-Jet and made it a whole lot better. As well as achieving 17.5% better fuel efficiency, the E2 has outclassed its competitors in another important field – whisper-quiet operation.

The E2 quietest single aisle plane
The Embraer E2 family is officially the world’s quietest single aisle jet. Photo: Embraer

The quietest single aisle aircraft in the world

The development of the Embraer E2 has come with some notable upgrades. The all-new wing, the bigger, more efficient engines, the lower fuel burn… all excellent developments. But Embraer has quietly achieved something even more special with this regional jet aircraft – it is now, officially, the quietest single aisle jet in the world.

Noise regulations, as certified by regulators such as EASA and the FAA, are released in Chapters. In the 1960s, Chapter 2 was in force, which was tightened up to Chapter 3 in the late 1970s and required a reduction of some 20 EPNdB (effective perceived noise in decibels). In 2008, Chapter 4 was brought in, which demanded noise levels to be lowered by 10 EPNdB over Chapter 3.

The E2 quietest single aisle plane
Photo: Embraer

The Embraer E2 was always compliant with Chapter 4 regulations. But, when Chapter 14, the current standard for new aircraft, was introduced, it required a further reduction of 7 EPNdB. In August and October 2020, the E2 was certified as compliant with the new Chapter 14 regulations by EASA and the FAA, respectively.

No changes were required to the E2 in order to achieve this compliance. So conscientious and detailed was the design of this aircraft, it met the standards for compliance right away. Certification was nothing more than a paper exercise, because the plane had been future-proofed from the outset.

The E2 quietest single aisle plane
Photo: Embraer

Embraer has always strived to future-proof its products. Indeed, when the original E-Jet was designed, its noise footprint went above and beyond the requirements of ‘Chapter 3’ standards which were in place at the time. The E-Jet, despite being certified during Chapter 3 times, has now been recertified as compliant under Chapter 4 requirements, with no physical changes necessary.

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Just how quiet is it?

In comparison to other narrowbodies on the market, the Embraer E2 successfully outclasses them all. Its close competitor, the Airbus A220-300, is 11% nosier when measured in EMPdB than the E195-E2.

Other examples see it competing well with other new technology aircraft, and remarkably outshining older planes. The E190-E2, for example, measures 28% lower noise perception than the A321neo, and a staggering 50% less noise than the original A321ceo.

The E2 quietest single aisle plane
Photo: Embraer

Noise pollution is one of the biggest causes of community complaints about aviation. As airports have grown and expanded, local residents have become more affected by noise. As such, organizations like ICAO make the limitation of aircraft noise a high priority.

The E2 quietest single aisle plane
Embraer has effectively future-proofed the E2 with its noise reduction capabilities. Photo: Embraer

The E2 is so quiet, passengers onboard Widerøe’s E190-E2 requested cabin crew keep their voices down, as their conversations could be heard throughout the cabin. Aviadev’s Jon Howell recorded a podcast onboard the E2 ‘Techlion’ while flying over Africa – something that would be a struggle on most narrowbody aircraft.

What’s so great about a quiet aircraft?

While there are clearly some advantages to both passengers onboard and people on the ground to having a quieter aircraft, what’s so good about it from an airline’s point of view? Well, there are some key benefits to be had, not least in terms of fuel efficiency.

Luís Carlos Affonso is in charge of Engineering and Technology Development for all Embraer Business Units as well as in charge of Corporate Strategy. Speaking exclusively to Simple Flying, he explained very clearly why operating a quiet plane is a good thing. He said,

“Noise is energy. If you’re making a noise, you’re wasting energy. A quiet plane is an efficient plane.”

It’s something that we all can understand, but perhaps never realized before. When Embraer was seeking to make the E2 quieter, much of the work it undertook also made the plane more fuel-efficient. For example, noise from the wheel well was eliminated by adding a bespoke cover. This improved the aerodynamics of the plane, and therefore helped it burn less fuel too.

The E2 quietest single aisle plane
The exposed wheels of the E-Jet were creating noise and inefficiency. Photo: Embraer
The E2 quietest single aisle plane
By covering them, Embraer successfully reduced noise, and made the plane burn less fuel too. Photo: Embraer

But it’s not only fuel burn that reduces the expense of operations. Airlines can actually end up paying less tax by flying a quieter aircraft into airports. As an example, at London Heathrow, the ‘noise charges’ levied by the airport reduced from £1,692 ($2,339) to £484 ($669) for the E2 when it moved from Chapter 4 to Chapter 14 certification. That’s a reduction of 72%.

The E2 quietest single aisle plane
Photo: Embraer

Quieter aircraft also give airlines more flexibility in terms of which airports they can fly into. City center airports are convenient for passengers, but often have very restrictive noise control to avoid disturbance to the local population. London City is a prime example of this, which brought in an Aircraft Noise Categorization Scheme (ANCS) in 2018 to limit the aircraft that fly there.

It goes without saying that the E2 (and the original E-Jet) remain compliant under London City’s ANCS. Anyone who has flown in or out of the airport will see the apron full of Embraers, with its low noise and steep approach certification assuring its place at the airport.

Embraer at LCY
London City Airport always has plenty of Embraers around. Photo: Getty Images

At the point of development, the E2 targeted a noise reduction of 14 – 15 EPNdB over the original E-Jet. It actually achieved a reduction of 19 – 20 EPNdB. This overachieving of standards is a mark of a great manufacturer, and reason for Embraer to be proud. The company remains positive that, as new regulations come in to control noise and pollution, the E2 will continue to be compliant for many years to come.