Epic Aircraft reports it has been approved for Type Inspection Authorization (TIA) by the FAA for its E1000, a crucial precursor to type certification.
TIA allows FAA pilots to conduct the final phases of conformity inspections and flight testing. It also confirms that the aircraft design, structural, and flight test results demonstrate compliance with FAA regulations, according to company officials.
Just days before the opening of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019, Epic completed the last of more than 4,000 flight tests, concluding another key certification milestone, officials add.
According to Doug King, Epic Aircraft CEO, the company is on track for receiving the E1000’s Type Certificate later this year.
Epic launched FT1, its first flight test article, in December 2015. FT2, the second and final flight test article, joined the program in January 2018. Both aircraft have flown more than 1,000 combined flight hours, completing all critical FAA test flight maneuvers and confirming handling quality
“In addition to complying with FAA-required protocols, flight testing allows us to assess, monitor and improve certain operational features and functions,” King said. “Last year, we saw an opportunity to boost engine performance by further optimizing the airflow induction system. As a result, we are now seeing industry leading cruise and climb rates throughout the FL340 service ceiling.”
“We also enhanced pilot safety and ease of use with improved lighting, rigging, flight controls positions, and a stick/shaker pusher stall protection system,” added King. “While these enhancements caused some delays, we believe the performance and safety benefits justified the schedule tradeoffs.”
The company completed structural testing last summer, one of the more demanding phases of its TC program, as FAA-mandated structural strength requirements for carbon fiber designs are higher than those imposed on metal aircraft, he said.
Epic manufacturing has doubled its composite fabrication capacity and refined workflows to accelerate E1000 production, company officials report. The company is running two production shifts, with plans to expand operations later this fall.
The first three E1000 customer aircraft are in various stages of fabrication, bonding and assembly, slated for delivery immediately following TC. Epic has nearly 90 confirmed E1000 reservations from around the US, as well as Canada, Mexico, Central/South America, Europe, Russia, South Africa and Australia, company officials said.
Priced at $3.25 million fully-equipped, the E1000 is powered by the 1200-
horsepower Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67A engine, cruises at speeds over 330 KTAS, with a range of 1,650 nautical miles, and a full-fuel payload of 1,100 pounds.