Epic Aircraft on track to certify by year end
With over 1,200 drawings approved, structural testing in full swing, and the first conforming prototype scheduled to fly this spring, Epic Aircraft is pushing hard to achieve Type Certificate for its E1000 model by year end 2015. The company confirms it currently has over 60 reservations, with initial customer deliveries targeted for early 2016.
The E1000, priced at $2.95 million, is already known for its category-defying speed, range, payload and ramp appeal. Epic now intends to raise the bar even further in performance, comfort, safety and style.
“Certification requires collaboration across the entire organization and with the FAA. It is extremely demanding but also rewarding, when you have an aircraft as exciting as the E1000. We are absolutely focused on reaching the finish line this year,” said Doug King, Epic CEO.
The final stages of certification, which involve proving that the aircraft complies with all FAA regulations, is accomplished through a rigorous series of flight, structural and fatigue testing protocols. To satisfy these requirements, Epic is building two conforming flight test articles (FT1 & FT2) and two conforming structural test articles (ST1 & ST2).
FT1 flight testing will focus on assessing the following characteristics:
- General handling qualities
- Operational performance
- Systems operations in normal mode
- Failure scenarios & extreme conditions
- Icing regulations (FIKI)
The second flight test article, FT2, is scheduled to fly this fall and will be the first fully-conforming prototype, including all production systems and interiors. FT2 testing will demonstrate compliance of all components and systems, including fuel, hydraulic, avionics, navigational, environmental and cabin systems.
Structural testing of individual components is nearing completion, as ST1 enters production. ST1 is intended for destructive testing in which the test article is subjected to stress beyond normal and abnormal operations to the point of failure to prove strength of structure. ST2 will undergo fatigue and life cycle testing to demonstrate damage tolerance over time and under extreme conditions at all stages of flight operations. All structural and fatigue testing will be conducted at Epic's R&D facility in Bend, Oregon.
INVESTING FOR VOLUME PRODUCTION
In tandem with certification efforts, Epic's manufacturing team is preparing for Production Certificate and volume ramp. Foremost among these priorities is establishing a quality system that demonstrates Epic's ability to reproduce the E1000 aircraft to the same conforming standards.
“We are setting up the E1000 assembly line and investing heavily in tooling, equipment, quality systems, and training programs to ensure a timely, efficient and aggressive production ramp,” added King.
The E1000 production line, which is intended to eventually yield one aircraft per week, utilizes lean manufacturing practices to standardize procedures, optimize quality and increase efficiency. Advanced tools and technology are being deployed to improve workflow, including perfect, on-time parts delivery to final assembly stations, on-demand electronic work instructions, and web-based workforce training programs.
SERVICE, SUPPORT & TRAINING
To complement its superior technology, Epic is establishing a comprehensive customer care program, including technical and flight training resources; response center services; customer communications; aircraft monitoring systems; and authorized regional service centers.
“We have a great team. We have the necessary resources, knowledge and experience to make this happen,” commented King. “We are excited about the product and confident in our ability to deliver an aircraft that will rock this industry.”
Press release issued by Epic Aircraft, LLC on April 18, 2015
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