Epic forging ahead on FAA OK for Victory and Escape prototypes
Epic Aircraft plans to certify the Victory and Escape prototypes in the U.S., according to chairman and CEO Rick Schrameck. “We love Canada, but we’re Americans,” Schrameck said in regard to the certification.
The company is currently working to certify the six-passenger Dynasty in Canada but has not announced a certification date. Schrameck did say Epic has completed 300 hours of flight testing on the aircraft. “We’re going at it at our own pace,” he said, adding that the company “understands all the dynamics of the airplane” but needs to conduct stall testing.
The Victory and Escape certification will “probably jump ahead” of plans for the twin-engine Elite prototype, which is still a hostage in Georgia following the Russian invasion, Schrameck said. The airplane is one piece, and the company is planning to eventually airlift it out of Tbilisi Aircraft Manufacturing’s (TAM) facility in Georgia. The airplane has been imprisoned at the company’s hangar since Russia bombed the airport.
Schrameck said the problems in Georgia, the complexities of the airplane and a
setback in funding have all contributed to lost certification time for the Elite. To date the company has not received the $200 million promised by Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya at last year’s NBAA Convention. “We detrimentally relied on the investment, and it has not happened,” he said. “Vijay still has not made the investment he committed to.”
Schrameck added, however, that the company “is still here,” in spite of the lost financing and recent bankruptcies and financial turbulence among other VLJ manufacturers. “Epic still stands,” he said. “We’re here, and we’re profitable.” The company has a backlog of $100 million, he said.
In other news, Schrameck announced that Epic is moving forward with plans to divide the company into individual, wholly owned businesses. The experimental product group will consist of Epic Air and aircraft completions services (ACS), and the technology group will consist of aerostructure composites, design R&D and certifications. Schrameck said the company is separating so the FAA can “better define what we do.” He said dividing the business has so far proved to work “phenomenally well.”