Epic Aircraft is assembling the first production-conforming E1000 test aircraft, FT2, at its Bend, Oregon headquarters, and expects the high-speed single-engined turboprop to join its flight test campaign before the end of this year.
The first test aircraft, FT1, made its maiden sortie in late 2015 and has been used to evaluate the E1000’s handling qualities, systems and flight envelope.
FT1 is “in full flight-test mode”, says Epic’s director of sales, Mike Schrader. “We are opening up the flight envelope in terms of speed and altitude, already exceeding the aircraft's 34,000ft ceiling. Everything is going well,” he adds.
Structural testing on the E1000’s wing, horizontal stabiliser and control surfaces is complete, Schrader says, and fuselage testing should be wound up by early November.
When FT2 joins the campaign, it will be used to assess interior and cabin functionality, as well as the fuel, hydraulic, avionics, navigational and environmental systems, says Schrader.
Epic is hoping to secure certification for the six-seat E1000 in the first half of 2017. “We were shooting for end of 2016, but being realistic and allowing for unforeseen hurdles, we have extended it out,” Schrader says.
The E1000 is a certificated version of the LT kit plane, which Epic stopped taking orders for in 2013, after selling 54 units. Some LT customers have upgraded to the E1000, for which Epic has secured about 70 orders to date.
The Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67A-powered E1000 has a maximum range of 1,650nm (3,060km) and a maximum cruise speed of 325kt (600km/h). Equipped with a Garmin G1000 flight deck, the all-composite aircraft is priced at $2.95 million; about $1 million more than the LT.