Epic Aircraft is planning to fly its E1000 single-engined turboprop in the third quarter and launch a major sales and marketing push for the aircraft at October’s National Business Aviation Association Convention in Orlando.
“So far, we have been promoting the aircraft at traditional US general aviation shows such as [EAA AirVenture] Oshkosh to attract owner flyers. However, we want to expand our customer base to include corporate owners and charter operators, for example, so NBAA is the ideal platform for this,” says Epic’s director of sales, Mike Schrader.
The $2.75 million E1000 is a certificated, factory-built version of the $1.95 million Epic LT kit plane, the last of which are now being assembled at Epic’s Bend, Oregon facility and will be handed over before the end of year.
“We have delivered over 46 LTs so far and have another eight left to build,” Schrader adds.
Epic made the decision last year to stop building the LT kits and to focus on the certificated version.
Schrader admits this niche sector is not only very competitive but is dominated by a handful of established brands, including the Pilatus PC-12NG, Daher Socata TBM 900, Cessna Caravan and Piper Meridian. “These are all great products,” says Schrader, “but there is a gap in the market for a high-speed, low-cost aircraft like the E1000.”
The growing orderbook for the Garmin G950-equipped aircraft proves his point. “We have sold more than 30 E1000s to date and our Russian distributor, Engineering LLC, has an order for 25 aircraft,” says Schrader. “Based on the response so far, we expect to secure a significant share of the single-engined turboprop market.”
Epic is now building the conforming parts for the first of two flying prototypes and the static article is undergoing structural testing at the airframer’s Bend facility.
The Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-67A-powered E1000 has a projected maximum cruise speed of 325kt (600km/h), a range of 1,600nm (2,970km) and a ceiling of 34,000ft. Certification and service entry are scheduled for the third quarter of 2015.
“We plan to build up to 10 aircraft next year and between 35 and 50 in 2016,” says Schrader.