Epic Aircraft completes its circumnavigation of the globe
By Epic Aircraft
On opening day of EAA AirVenture, Epic Aircraft, manufacturer of high performance, all carbon fibre, single-engine turboprop aircraft, completed its inaugural Odyssey World Tour. The 21-day, 21-city journey concluded with the six participating aircraft flying inline formation to the show to celebrate their successful circumnavigation of the globe. Thus concludes a journey of adventure, experience, endurance, and achievement.
By Epic Aircraft
Epic coordinated the tour on behalf of a group of its customers. “We wanted to offer our owners a unique challenge that would expand their skills, enhance their international experience, and take full advantage of the considerable capabilities of this aircraft,” said Doug King, Epic CEO. “I think we all feel a great sense of accomplishment.”
The 26-person Odyssey team was comprised of Epic owners and guests, Epic staff, professional pilots, and a documentary film crew. Departing from Oshkosh, Wisc. on July 7, the World Tour included nine countries, covering 16,405 nautical miles in 51.5 flight hours, achieving an average ground speed of 318.5 knots. Although prepared with spare parts, tools, and equipment, the fleet experienced no maintenance issues.
In addition to King and his wife, Victoria, other participating Epic Aircraft owners and pilots included: Willis (Billy) Ball, III from Jacksonville, Fla.; Alan and Wendy Barron from Ft. Worth, Tex.; Greg and Stacy Duffy from San Francisco, Calif.; Rolf & Barb Berg from Menomonee Falls, Wisc.; Daryl Ingalsbe from Spruce Creek, Fla.; Curtis Jordan from Princeton, N.J.; Guff Muench from Vancouver, B.C; Ryan Shields from Ventura, Calif.; Richard and Eriko Tarantino from Naples, Fla.; and Tom and Helen Ziegler from Sun Valley, Id.
“This is a once in a lifetime experience,” said Billy Ball. “I have a much greater appreciation for my airplane, especially its performance, reliability and payload. When you spend this much time flying, dealing with weather, international procedures, language, culture and other factors, you realize how important it is to feel comfortable and confident in your aircraft.”
Together with a team of professional pilots, photographers and videographers, the owners flew across three continents and two oceans. With the exception of a one-day extension in Moscow, Russia and a re-route from Adak to Nome, Alaska due to inclement weather, the tour kept to its original itinerary. The company will begin planning its next Epic Odyssey adventure this fall.
Guff Muench, Canadian businessman and E1000 depositor, said “I am not yet an owner, so have spent little time in the Epic prior to the tour, but the plane truly lives up to its name. The Epic has impressive specs on paper, but what I’ve learned is that its performance and capability are as phenomenal as advertised. There is nothing like it. I can hardly wait to get mine.”
The Epic E1000, the certified version of the Epic LT, is expected to receive FAA type certificate in Q1 2017. The company has recently concluded the majority of FAA-mandated structural testing, validating the integrity of the carbon fiber design. The bulk of flight test envelope requirements have been met, with flight-testing to continue throughout the year.
“Certification is an incredibly demanding process,” said King. “It requires a lot of money and resources, which fortunately we have. Would I like to be announcing type certification today? Absolutely. But we are meeting the challenge. The most significant milestones have been met and we will deliver an aircraft that exceeds expectations.”
Unlike most certification programs, Epic is piloting a project with the FAA to earn its production certificate in tandem with type certificate. The company is expanding composite parts production, adding ovens, tooling and equipment, investing in online training, refining the factory layout to better support high volume production, and implementing comprehensive quality control programs at each stage in the production cycle. Once fully ramped, Epic plans to build 50 E1000s per year.
Competitively priced at $2.95 million fully equipped, Epic offers one of the lowest operating costs in its category. “Carbon fiber gives us a tremendous advantage,” adds King. “It is stronger, lighter and easier to maintain. We have significantly fewer parts than traditional metal aircraft and a much simpler assembly process. That adds up to more performance at a lower cost. That is Epic!”
Sponsors of the 2016 Epic Odyssey World Tour included Pratt & Whitney Canada, Garmin, Hartzell, Jeppesen, Spidertracks, Globalstar and GoPro.