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Six Epics circle EarthSix Epics circle Earth

Expedition aims for EAA AirVenture

Six single-engine turboprops carrying between them 26 Epic Aircraft owners, pilots, photographers, and a few friends, are on a voyage around the world to promote the kitbuilt speedster that is nearing entry to the certified market.
Icy fjords created a dramatic view as the flights departed Greenland bound for Reykjavik, Iceland. Photo by Jean-Marie Urlacher, courtesy of Epic Aircraft.

The company, based in Bend, Oregon, and led by CEO Doug King, is working toward certification of the six-seat, composite E1000, a factory version of the Epic LT kit, a speedster that was nearly lost to bankruptcy in 2009. Fresh investment in 2012 fueled development of a factory version of the 325-knot single-engine turboprop that is able to climb 4,000 feet per minute and cover 1,650 nautical miles carrying full fuel along with another 1,100 pounds of passengers and gear. The company has been steadily reporting progress in recent years, hiring dozens of new workers in 2014 and launching the first factory prototype for certification testing in December.

The “Epic Odyssey World Tour” launched July 6 from Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and plans to return during EAA AirVenture (the company has scheduled a July 26 media event at the show). Participants will have completed by then a voyage across nine countries, with stops in 20 cities in 21 days. Pratt & Whitney Canada, which manufactures the PT6A-67A turbine powerplant for each $2.95 million factory-built E1000 aircraft (the kit price is $1 million lower), is also among the sponsors of the world tour, along with Garmin, Globalstar, GoPro, Hartzell, Jeppesen, and Spidertracks, maker of the satellite tracking and communications system being used by five of the six aircraft making the trip. Those tracks, along with photos and other details, are front-and-center on the aircraft maker’s website for anyone inclined to follow the group’s progress.

“This is an incredible opportunity for Epic owners to enhance their skills and expand their horizons, while experiencing some truly remarkable places,” King said in a July 14 press release updating the group’s progress. "Now that we are in the process of certifying the E1000 version, what better way to demonstrate our exceptional speed, range, payload, and versatility than to fly a fleet of Epics around the world?”

Photo by Jean-Marie Urlacher, courtesy of Epic Aircraft.According to a company spokeswoman, Epic contacted a group of owners several months ago to see who’s up for a trip around the world. The itinerary was set after coordinating schedules. King, in the press release, suggested it was not a hard sell.

“Our aircraft tends to attract customers who are seeking more, not settling for the ordinary, who possess a keen sense of adventure and an appreciation for the role technology plays in achieving superior performance,” King said.

The six Epic turboprops are expected to cover 15,000 nautical miles in 50 flight hours. The company is also updating its Facebook page as the journey progresses, and they seem to be finding time for good meals and sightseeing along the way, notwithstanding the demands of flying to a new city nearly every day.

The Epic voyagers toast their arrival in Italy. Photo by Jean-Marie Urlacher, courtesy of Epic Aircraft.
Jim Moore

Jim Moore

Editor-Web Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot, as well as a certificated remote pilot, who enjoys competition aerobatics and flying drones.
Topics: Turboprop, International Travel, EAA AirVenture

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