MEMBER ALERT: AOPA will be closing at 1:45 p.m. Eastern on Dec. 6 and will reopen at 8:30 a.m. Eastern on Dec. 9.
October 6, 2008
By Dave Hirschman
Epic Aircraft is profitable despite the lackluster economy and high-profile failures among other start-up very light jet manufacturers, said Rick Schrameck, chairman and chief executive of the Bend, Ore., company.
Schrameck said Epic has formed several new divisions that focus on delivering experimental aircraft, certified aircraft, and composite design and prototype construction for other manufacturers. A privately owned parent company, Aircraft Investor Resources, oversees the separate divisions.
“We’re still here—and we’re profitable,” Schrameck said during a press conference at the National Business Aviation Association convention on Oct. 5.
Last year Epic announced that Vijay Mallya, an India-born billionaire, planned to invest $200 million in the company and form an alliance with Airbus Industrie. But Schrameck said those plans “have not come to fruition.”
“We detrimentally relied on Vijay to make his investment,” Scrameck said, “and he hasn’t done that yet.”
Airbus owner EADS has sent representatives on multiple trips to Epic’s facilities, and Schrameck said European officials have been favorably impressed with the Oregon company that specializes in designing and building composite aircraft. Epic also is exploring potential partnerships with investors in Asia and the Middle East.
Separately, an Epic demonstrator aircraft remains stuck in Georgia. The plane was on a sales mission there when Russia invaded and bombed the airfield where the Epic was kept. The plane itself is undamaged but will have to be moved by helicopter to a civilian airbase before it can fly out of the country.
“Our plane is still hostage,” Schrameck said. “It’s protected and safe. But the airfield was bombed, and removing the airplane became pretty much impossible.”
Epic plans to continue selling kits for its single-engine, turboprop design and certifying its twin-engine “Elite” jet in Canada. The company will likely decide in the next few weeks whether to seek FAA certification of its single-engine, turboprop “Escape” and single-engine “Victory” jet. The company would pursue Part 23, Category Two, certification.
“We’re very pleased with the way things are going in Canada,” Schrameck said. “But we’re an American company, and we’ll decide very soon whether to try for FAA certification.”
Advocacy and Legislation,
Aircraft Power and Fuel,
A House bill that would force FAA to go through the rulemaking process before imposing new policies for sleep disorders has passed a key committee.
The House has passed a bill requiring the TSA to consult stakeholders, including general aviation representatives, before making major changes to security policy.
Senators are demanding a written response from the Department of Homeland Security about unwarranted stops of general aviation aircraft by DHS and Customs and Border Protection.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.