Epic Aircraft expects to begin customer deliveries of its $3.25 million E1000 turboprop single by year-end, CEO Doug King said during at program update on Monday at EAA Airventure. The FAA is scheduled to start certification flight testing of the aircraft at the end of August, a process that he said could take up to 30 days, followed by 150 hours of function-and-reliability testing.
“We have only a couple of months left to go,” King added, noting that the first of 87 customer aircraft on order is already on the assembly line at the company’s 300,000-sq-ft factory in Bend, Oregon, where 265 are currently employed. He said the company expects to receive FAA production certification “right after” receiving the type certificate for the aircraft. Initial production will be one aircraft per month, with the goal to eventually accelerate to one aircraft per week.
According to King, the company has worked over the past year to optimize engine airflow to create better cruise and high/hot performance and that the E1000 now has a top speed of 333 knots, an increase of eight knots. He said a few items had held up the flight-test program in recent months, including FAA scrutiny of the cockpit night lighting and the stall/stick shaker.
Meanwhile, he said the April crash of an Epic LT kitplane in Germany was likely the result of a stall/spin on final approach. The crash killed the wife of company owner Vladislav Filev, a Russian national. King said the crash “put a real focus on safety for us.” King added that Filev owns Epic through an entity based in Cyprus and that Epic is shielded from any potential U.S.-Russian trade tensions.