The Epic LT turboprop is a phenomenon.
Two years ago it was artwork on display stands. Fourteen months later it was an airplane, flying to the Oshkosh air show, where it was introduced. Last month, it was in the Homebuilt area at Sun ‘n Fun, fully fitted with a glass panel cockpit and luxurious interior.
Why the Homebuilt area? Epic’s Rick Schrameck explains that the airplane is being introduced as a kit, but is scheduled for certification around the middle of next year. Built on production tooling, all structural conforming and testing has been to FAA certification standards, he said. “By the time we apply for certification, we will have built enough to really know what we’re doing in the FAA’s eyes,” he adds.
These are not do-it-yourself kits. Like other sophisticated turboprops and jets that really fall into the business aircraft category, Epic LT buyers are expected to do their “homebuilding” alongside Epic factory teams. The first six are under construction already. A 100,000-square-foot hangar at Bend, Ore., will be completed by May 15, and a month later Schrameck says that 17 more Epics will be under construction there. After that, he expects to make four deliveries a month to fulfill orders which, he says, are “beyond our capabilities for the next two years.”
Epic also is working on a twin jet version, utilizing most of the same parts as the LT. Schrameck notes that tooling for the jet is complete and the first set of parts has been made for the prototype, which is “on schedule and on budget.” The jet, too, will be introduced as a kit. Schrameck anticipates first deliveries in November or December of this year.