High performance jet and turboprop manufacturer Epic Aircraft is finding that customers are reporting ground speeds in excess of 500 mph in the single-engine, turboprop-driven Epic LT.
It’s a speed only rarely achieved by the top fighters of World War II and matches the performance of many current civilian jets.
Those confirming their reaching of the blistering speed are awarded membership in the newly-founded Epic 500 Club, according to Epic CEO Rick Schrameck, himself a speed demon from ‘way back.
“It’s amazing to see these kinds of speeds from a single engine turboprop,” said Epic chief pilot Mike Hooper, “but those are the reports we’re getting over and over again.”
He pointed out that the phenomenon occurs mostly in winter, when there are apt to be fast tailwinds at altitude. Indeed, he was the first to report seeing his speed top the 500 mph benchmark. That was in December 2006, when his Epic LT turned in a solid 458 knots, or 527 mph. Since then there have been many others, he said.
At the end of November, a customer flying an Epic LT from Bend, Ore., to Omaha, Neb., recorded 462 knots, or 531 mph. The trip of more than 1,200 nautical miles took only 2 hours and 43 minutes of flight time, the company reported.
Schrameck stated that any pilot who can offer a photograph of the panel, showing the airplane to be in straight and level flight with a ground speed of more than 500 mph, will become an honorary member of the new Epic 500 Club.
“We’d be happy to have any other manufacturer’s VLJs or turboprops join the Epic 500 Club,” he chuckled, “but so far none of them have been able to do it.”
“We’re not going to discriminate between turbofans and turboprops,” he added. “Anyone who can break through the 500 mph mark can join the club.”
The Epic LT is a sleek, six-seat, pressurized single with a Pratt & Whitney turboprop up front. It premiered at Oshkosh in 2003 as an owner-built aircraft and currently is undergoing certification testing in Canada.
The certified version will become available as the Epic Dynasty.
Epic also manufactures the single-engine Victory turbofan, the twin-engine Elite jet, and a still faster – but smaller – version of the Epic LT named the Escape.
For more information: EpicAircraft.com