It has been a while since Epic Aircraft has been mentioned in the news. Founded in 2004, the company gained fame selling its Epic LT high-performance turboprop kit planes to private pilots. From there, the pilots would construct the plane with guidance from the company’s specialist at their facility located in Bend, Oregon. At the time, the LT, also sufficient for a private pilot, was not certified for production by the FAA. Not receiving certification by the FAA proved to only be the company’s first step back.
During their early years, the company’s CEO and Founder, Rick Schrameck, took a controversial approach to the accounting for Epic Aircraft. During this time, he used customer deposits for his own personal uses, in some cases, and funded his excessive, luxurious lifestyle. Criminal charges were filed against Schrameck and eventually, he pled guilty to fraud earlier this year. Due to his actions and other shortcomings, the company ended up declaring bankruptcy. Yet, the company and LT came back and is now stronger than ever, due in large part to its 2012 purchase by Russian firm, Engineering.
The company is now on track to have their newest turboprop, the E1000, completed by the end of the year. The E1000 is a small, six-seat plane. Among its many spectacular capabilities, the E1000 features a maximum climb rate of 3,000 feet per minute, a ceiling height of 34,000 feet, and a range of just under 2,000 miles. In addition, it tops out at 374 miles per hour, meaning if it passes certification, it will be the fastest single-engine turboprop available.
In large part, this forecasted success and movement into production for the E1000 is due to CEO Doug King, who was actually a former Epic LT customer. With the help of King, Epic and the E1000 team were able to pass one of the biggest and most difficult tests: the structural certification. In the past, and in the recently completed tests, Epic struggled to meet the requirements due to its carbon-fiber body. By nature, carbon-fiber-bodied aircrafts must comply with tougher requirements by the FAA. With the structural certification under its belt, the Epic E1000 team is now focused on passing the production certification in order to get deliveries of their turboprop out in early 2019.
In a recently released spring newsletter, Epic shared that initially the turboprops will be produced at a very limited quantity. They forecasted a total of 12 planes will be produced in the first year, and from there they will gradually ramp up production to the end goal of 50 planes per year. While 50 does not seem like a large quantity, the planes come at a significant price. The current price for this absolute thrill machine is set at $3.25 million. Act fast if you’re wanting to buy one yourself, as more than 80 people are already on the waiting list.