Epic, Why Not Us?

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Epic has announced its intention to produce a (very light) jet (download the press release, here) with an expected cruise 35 knots faster than it's "older" turboprop sibling on which it is based, for a higher fuel burn and an extra $150,000 in base price -- perhaps simply proving the practicality of the turbine. Recall the Epic LT. Announced one year before its debut, the $1.2 million Epic LT -- a six-place, all-carbon-fiber experimental turbine -- is currently going through its flight-test paces and expects to offer full-tanks, full-load flying at 350 knots. The jet will use most of the same major airframe components. If history is any indicator, expect it (springtime) soon. Working with the same wing, stabilizer and fuselage shell, the company plans to strap a nose cone to the front and modify the tail ... most notably with twin 1500-pound-thrust turbines. (We smell Pratts.) If the experimental jet has buyers, they will serve three weeks' penance building with professional staff before leaving the completion entirely to those with more experience. Epic says the FAA is aware of that scenario and comfortable with it. Epic plans to self-insure the aircraft until the insurance companies see a track record they're comfortable with. In another interesting twist, Epic plans to fund a curriculum at Oregon State University that would provide students with a professional and practical grasp of composite technologies in aerospace design. It's possible those students may be building some airplanes for Epic, too. Stay tuned.