April 6, 2011
By Alton K. Marsh
Epic Aircraft located in Bend, Ore., passed an important test with the FAA in recent weeks when it proved that its single-engine kitbuilt turboprop meets the FAA requirement that the owner complete 51 percent of the aircraft.
The FAA awarded two type certificates for two aircraft, after finding that the owners completed more than 60 percent of the aircraft. The aircraft costs $1.9 million fully completed, with interior, avionics, engine, and paint. Six Epic turboprops remain in various states of construction in the factory. There are 32 of the aircraft now flying.
Four of the aircraft in the factory are for sale. The economic recession caused the former owners to withdraw from the purchase.
Although Epic was widely reported as a company that was sold to China, company official Daryl Ingalsbe said that is not correct. Under a complicated court agreement, the company was retained by Ingalsbe and co-owners, but they were required to sell computer-aided design (CAD) drawings and software to the Chinese for building Epic aircraft. The sale of that data, with those rights, amounted to $1 million. China aviation officials can market Epic in all countries except the United States, and its territories.
Ingalsbe said numerous changes were made to the airframe by the new owners, resulting in a 30-knot increase in true airspeed. He reports 320 KTAS for his aircraft when cruising at 28,000 feet. At that altitude, the pressurized aircraft cabin is at 6,500 feet. It burns 52 gallons per hour at 28,000 feet, and has a payload of 1,600 pounds when fully fueled.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
AOPA expressed concern in a meeting with town officials from East Hampton, New York, that restrictions proposed to curb airport noise “overwhelmingly” generated by transient commercial flights would unfairly burden traditional airport users.
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