Epic Stakes Its Claim With Victory Flight

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Epic has now announced that a copy of its (currently experimental) Victory jet is destined for certification sporting a Garmin G1000 panel. Epic CEO Rick Schrameck on Sunday evening told AVweb that his company's freshly minted all carbon-composite four-plus-one seat Williams FJ33-4A-powered single-engine Victory jet had logged more than seven hours since its first flight last Friday, extending its flight test envelope to 14,000 feet. The Victory is the product of a seven-month incubation from design to first flight and follows the first flight of the company's other jet -- the Elite Jet twin-engine VLJ -- by only a month. Performance targets for the Victory include a full fuel payload of more than 900 lbs, "easily accommodating four to five passengers and their luggage," according to Epic. The aircraft should get those passengers to FL280 in 10 minutes. Industry watchers may be surprised by the company's promise "to deliver at least six of the new jets to customers before the end of 2007, each with a price tag of less than one million dollars." Schrameck added that's "not a promotional price or a price in 2002 dollars like we’ve seen with other jets. This is the Victory price today." However, this price is for the experimental version; a certified copy is more likely to be priced at about $1.5 million. Epic test pilot Len Fox kept the gear down for the intial flight, but ultimately the Victory is aiming for a 28,000-foot ceiling with a 320-knot high-speed cruise and an economy cruise of 250 knots, with the latter speed yielding a range near 1,200 nm. Actual performance figures are being gathered, but following its maiden flight, the aircraft only ate up 1,500 feet upon landing, according to Schrameck. Epic plans to offer details on both experimental and certified versions at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, Wis., in two weeks.