Epic Aircraft is building the first production-conforming E1000 test aircraft, in preparation for the high-performance, single-engined turboprop’s first flight, in the third quarter.
The six-seat aircraft will join a first test aircraft, tail number N331FT, which made its maiden sortie at the end of 2015. “We have been working hard with FT1 to prove the aircraft’s handling qualities, systems and flight envelope,” says Mike Schraeder, director of sales for the Bend, Oregon-based airframer. “The aircraft is meeting all of its performance expectations,” he adds.
FT2 will assess interior and cabin functionality, as well as the fuel, hydraulic, avionics, navigational and environmental systems.
Certification of the E1000 is scheduled for the fourth quarter, with entry into service planned for early 2017. “We have over 60 orders so far, so we want to start deliveries as soon after US approval as we can,” says Schraeder.
The E1000 is a certificated version of the LT kit plane, which Epic stopped producing in 2014 after selling 54.
“Some of our E1000 customers are LT owners wanting to step up into a factory-built model,” says Schraeder. “Other buyers are owners of more expensive single-engined turboprops, such as the Pilatus PC-12NG, and operators of high-performance piston singles and twins, such as the Cirrus SR22 and Beechcraft Baron,” he adds.
The owner-flyer market makes up the bulk of the E1000 orderbook, but Schraeder says interest in the all-composite model is also being shown by corporate and air taxi operators, who he says are looking for a fast, efficient and low-cost platform. “We see a market for around 50 E1000s a year from across the operating spectrum,” he adds.
The Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67A-powered aircraft has a maximum range of 1,640nm (3,030km), and a maximum cruise speed of 325kt (600km/h).
Equipped with a Garmin G950 flight deck, the all-composite aircraft is priced at $2.95 million; about $1 million more than the LT.
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