1) Cirrus Resolves Loan Issue, Names New President
- (Mar 12 2013)
Cirrus executives got what they wanted from the city of Grand Forks. N.D., this week -- not only the $950,000 loan they had requested, but also an apology. Last week, city official Doug Christensen raised questions about Cirrus's ability to repay the loan, and William King, vice president for business administration at Cirrus, tried to explain that his concerns arose from a misinterpretation of the company's financial reports. On Monday night, Christensen apologized for how he "conducted the meeting ... [and] addressed Mr. King," and the city approved the loan, which will go to buy an autoclave for Cirrus's Grand Forks manufacturing facility. Cirrus also announced this week the appointment of a new president for the company, Patrick Waddick.
2) Epic Expansion Proceeds
- (Dec 18 2012)
Epic Aircraft has completed the deal to buy a former Cessna manufacturing plant at Bend, Ore. In an email to AVweb, Epic CEO Doug King said the deal, which we reported last week, went through earlier this week and will give the company the room it needs to meet demand both for its kit-built LT turboprop singles and the forthcoming certified E1000. "Our backlog is building both for kit planes and new certified aircraft," King said.
3) Epic Expanding For Certification Effort
- (Dec 11 2012)
Epic Aircraft is planning to expand its Bend, Ore., operation as it goes for certification of the LT single-engine turboprop. The Associated Press reported the kit builder is negotiating with Cessna to buy the building Cessna abandoned two years ago when it consolidated manufacturing of its Corvalis high-performance singles in Wichita. The Bend City Council has approved transfer of the land lease from Cessna to Epic. Epic CEO Doug King said the expansion is needed because of growth in the kit business and because of the certification effort. "We expect to hire 40 to 80 new staff in 2013," he said in an email to the Bend Bulletin. "Our commitment to Bend continues."
4) Epic Sold To Russian Firm
- (Mar 6 2012)
Epic Aircraft, the Bend, Ore., manufacturer of speedy turboprop kit aircraft called the LT, has been sold to a Russian company. In a news release, Epic describes its new owner, Engineering LLC, as "Russia's premier maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) provider." The Russian company intends to certify the LT but will keep making the kits, too. CEO Doug King, who essentially led a group of builders with partly completed airplanes in the acquisition of the kit side of Epic when the original company went under three years ago, will stay in his position. "It's exciting to be a part of Epic Aircraft's next chapter. Working together with Engineering LLC, Epic will be able to extend our great commitment and dedication to the aircraft manufacturing industry including our customers, employees, vendors and all other stakeholders. This will be a truly significant move for the future of both companies," King said.
5) Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase
- (Feb 22 2012)
This week's winning photo comes from Brian J. Leach of Sussex, WI. Click here for the rest of this week's submissions. And keep your eyes peeled for an all-vintage edition of "POTW" soon; we've gotten some amazing photos in response to our recent request and look forward to sharing them!
6) GA Problem Is GA Solution: Instructors
- (May 4 2011)
Is a high accident rate due to substandard training a major drag on the growth of general aviation? The Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) thinks so and this week in Atlanta, they're trying to do something about it. More than 150 instructors, examiners, regulators and industry experts have convened the society's first symposium to explore ways that the industry might stimulate growth by driving down the accident rate and improving the quality of instruction. "We're in trouble in GA. The fatal accident rate has been flat for more than 10 years. Student starts are way down, student attrition is way up. The result of that is that sales are way down," says SAFE's chairman, Doug Stewart. The group believes that flight instruction quality, delivery and innovation is the fulcrum to change that. In an event-packed Wednesday, the group assembled five panels consisting of instructors and examiners exploring various aspects of flight training -- the good and the bad. In this podcast, SAFE's Stewart explained that the goal is to come away from the three-day symposium with a concrete list of recommendations that the training industry can act upon quickly to reduce the erosion in pilot starts.
7) Podcast: Epic Back on Track
- (Apr 1 2011)
Builder-owners of Epic LT aircraft have finished two planes that have been approved by the FAA in the amateur-built category, and about a dozen more are coming down the pike. AVweb's Mary Grady spoke with CEO Doug King about the company's turnaround. This podcast is brought to you by Bose Corporation and Aspen Avionics.
8) New Epic Owners At Oshkosh
- (Jul 31 2010)
Doug King, the CEO of the new Epic that bought the original company out of bankruptcy in April, told AVweb at EAA AirVenture this week that he's been busy since then getting back up and running. "We've worked through a lot of legal issues, spent a lot of time with the FAA, and the guys are back at work on their airplanes," he said. There are 11 Epic LT kit aircraft in the hangar now in Bend, Ore., in various stages of completion, and several other owners are working on their projects elsewhere. King said the company is ready to sell kits again. Besides the Epic LT turboprop, the line includes the Escape, which is a smaller version of the LT, and the Victory jet.
9) Judge Orders Epic Partnership
- (Apr 3 2010)
An Oregon federal judge has made bedfellows of strangers in a ruling aimed at forcing a partnership between a huge Chinese aviation company and a group of homebuilders, both of whom were trying to buy the assets of Epic Aircraft. Judge Randall Dunn accepted the $4.3 million cash bid for Epic from Aviation Industry Corp. of China on the condition that it sign an agreement allowing the LT Builders Group to run the facility in Bend, Ore. The builders' group is made up of former Epic customers whose unfinished Epic LT turboprop aircraft were stranded inside the builder assist facility in Bend when the company closed last summer. The judge said that if the builders and AVIC can't sign a deal by Thursday, he'll consider selling the whole works to a third bidder, Harlow Aerostructures, of Wichita. Builder Doug King said he and his group have been working since the ruling to try to reach agreement with AVIC but if that doesn't work out it may have to try working with Harlow. "This is a shotgun marriage proposal," King told AVweb. "The judge said 'You're going to get married, you just don't know to whom.'"
10) China's AVIC Wins Epic Auction
- (Mar 27 2010)
An Oregon federal bankruptcy judge will decide Tuesday if a company owned by the Chinese government will take over the remnants of Epic Air and the companies associated with it. The Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC)'s bid of $4.3 million cash was selected over two American bids by bankruptcy trustee Ken Eiler following a daylong auction at a Portland law office on Friday. Also in the running were the LT Builders Group, representing the owners of unfinished aircraft still inside Epic's Bend, Ore., factory, and Wichita-based Harlow Aerostructures. Doug King, one of the members of the owners' group, told AVweb Saturday that they're spending the next three days preparing objections to the trustee's decision, which must be confirmed by the court during Tuesday's hearing. King said his group's bid was actually $2.2 million higher than the Chinese bid but included $4 million in credit to the owners. He said the trustee chose China's bid because it was all cash. The builders are worried they'll never have a chance to finish their aircraft if the Chinese bid prevails and most have already paid more than $1 million in progressive payments on their $1.7 million kit-built turboprop LT aircraft.
11) Short Final
- (Feb 8 2010)
With Super Bowl XLIV about to kick off as we prepare this week's AVweb stories, we can't resist the temptation to delve into our mailbag and serve up a "Short Final" that's been holding for over a year: It was a Friday afternoon in November when we were departing OSU airport in the company King Air for our home base in Grand Rapids. The huge college rivalry between OSU and U of M was to be played tomorrow. Since the OSU fans can be quite literally fanatical about their team, my co-pilot and I were pretty quiet all day about our allegiance to the Michigan football squad. As we were taxiing out to the busy runway, we changed over to tower, and the pattern was full of OSU students and their instructors. The frequency was busy. It was my leg, so the co-pilot was on the radio. My voice had not been heard yet. After my copilot responded to our takeoff clearance, I couldn't help myself and keyed the mike, saying in a deep and serious voice, "Go Blue!" We enjoyed a takeoff roll in complete radio silence. All communications stopped dead for about ten seconds! The shocked silence was broken with the words "Who said that?!" I knew we had gotten away with it when we were handed off to Columbus departure and didn't have to enter a hold! That ten seconds of silence was almost as good as the beating we gave them in the next day's game! Doug Downer via e-mail
12) More Legal Action Against Epic
- (Sep 22 2009)
The legal battles over the remnants of Epic Air are mounting and a picture of what went on behind the slick scale models and almost-instant prototypes churned out by the company is getting clearer with each filing. As AVweb told you in July and August the company is closed and there are about 12 unfinished builders' aircraft in the locked building at the Bend, Ore., airport. The latest filing was made by owner Doug King and documents obtained by AVweb make serious allegations about the conduct of company principals. In an affadavit sworn by Chief Financial Officer David Clark, he estimates Epic owes builders about $15 million in parts and has no money to meet those obligations. Related Content: Click here to view all court documents in a single PDF package 10.5 MB, recommended for Adobe Reader 8.0 and later users or use the sidebar here to view each document individually. // -->
13) More ATC Tapes Released In Private Pilot King Air Incident
- (Apr 20 2009)
The FAA on Monday released additional tapes of the conversations between air traffic controllers and Doug White, the low-time private pilot who successfully landed a twin-engine King Air in Florida last week after the pilot died at the controls. The new tape documents the first 14 minutes of radio calls, starting with White's first transmission, when he declares an emergency and asks for help. The airplane continued to climb up to 17,000 feet until Miami air traffic controller Lisa Grimm, a commercial pilot with a multi rating, was able to help him find the correct way to turn off the autopilot and level off the airplane. "I disengaged it. I'm flying the airplane by hand," White said. "You find me the widest, longest runway you can, ma'am." Fort Myers air traffic controller Dan Favio then contacted a King Air pilot he knew, Kari Sorenson, who was able to help relay information to White so he could successfully land the airplane. For the full 14-minute tape, posted at the Naple News Web site, click here (MP3 file).
14) AVmail: April 20, 2009
- (Apr 19 2009)
Letter of the Week: Zodiac Concerns I own and fly an AMD Zodiac CH601XLi that I bought new last June. I'm also a member of the Zenith Builders Analysis Group, the independent group that the NTSB cited as doing engineering studies of the airplane. I've put over 150 hours on my airplane since I bought it. Am I concerned? Yes. Am I going to quit flying it? No. I've been taking several actions that I believe minimize the risk: I regularly test my aileron cable tensions, I check that there is tension on every preflight (easy to do), I keep it in the green arc except for absolutely smooth air (and will probably keep it there even then, now), and I slow down to maneuvering speed in more than slight turbulence. Aviation is all about managing risk. We can't eliminate it, no mater what we do. I believe the measures I take will reduce the risk of aileron flutter well below the risk that I'll do something stupid like run out of fuel or continue VFR into IMC - and I take active measures against those risks, too. If Zenair and AMD come out with a modification to resolve the problem, I'll do it. Until then, I refuse to worry about it beyond what I've already done. Jay Maynard Click through to read the rest of this week's letters.
15) Dead At The Controls
- (Apr 14 2009)
Every private pilot thinks about it but for Doug White, a passenger on a King Air last Sunday, the fantasy/nightmare came true. The self-described low-time single pilot stepped into the cockpit of the big turboprop twin when the pilot collapsed, and a short time later, died at the controls. "It's just me and the Good Lord flying this by hand," the passenger/pilot told Fort Myers approach controllers as he got the feel for the powerful aircraft and set it up for landing. As you can hear in this podcast, he didn't know much about flying a turboprop twin, but he also knew what he didn't know.
16) Is That 747 Feeling Cramped? Saudi Sheik Orders Private A380
- (Nov 13 2007)
Here's a story that could make you look around in the posh cabin of your Cirrus or Cessna and think, "Hmm, this is pretty shabby." Isn't it time to upgrade to a personal aircraft that has room for a few king-size beds and a hundred or so of your best pals? That is apparently the thinking of Prince Walid bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, a multi-billionaire and one of the world's richest men, who has placed the first-ever order for a private Airbus A380. At $300 million, the airplane comes with 6,460 square feet of empty floor space, which the prince can configure any way he wants. "Its a huge canvas to work with," Doug McVitie, an aircraft consultant, told The New York Times. The prince could easily spend more on customizing the interior than it cost to buy the airplane, he said.
17) FAA Mythbusting Should GA Worry About User Fees?
- (Apr 21 2007)
Would the FAA's proposed new funding structure force general aviation to pay more than its fair share of the FAA's costs? According to the FAA, that's a "myth." At an "Ask The FAA" session at the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla., on Friday, the FAA answered questions about user fees and distributed a "fact sheet" that explains the effects of its proposed financing changes on general aviation. The "facts," according to the FAA, are that GA currently drives about 16 percent of the expense of the air traffic system, but pays only 3 percent of the cost. The proposed changes would raise that percentage to 11 percent, with only 1 percent coming from piston-aircraft users. It's also a myth, says the FAA, that the airlines drive the cost of the infrastructure, while GA is only a marginal user. The FAA says it has taken those factors into account in its cost analyses. Will the proposed tax increases "ruin" GA in the U.S.? No, says the FAA. The increased cost would work out to about $500 per year for most piston fliers, according to the fact sheet.
18) AVmail: Jul. 24, 2006
- (Jul 24 2006)
Reader mail this week about pilot pay, ATC errors, LSAs and more.
19) Picture of the Week
- (Apr 13 2006)
As you may have noticed, Team AVweb is back in the saddle following our annual excursion to Sun 'n Fun. We enjoyed taking in the sights and gawking at the new jets and gizmos, but there's something we missed last week reader-submitted photos! Thankfully, there was a healthy crop waiting for us on the AVweb server when we returned home. Instead of a single week's entries, we had two weeks' worth of pics on our server. And to our eternal delight, the best photos from the two weeks we've been gone ... are all centered around the number two! Christian Goetze of San Francisco, California kicks off the theme. In the process, he and photographer Melinda Green earn two brand-new official AVweb baseball caps, as winners of this week's "POTW" contest. To win one of these hats for yourself, all you have to do is submit your aviation photos -- and, you know, win the top slot. But hey -- you can do it, right?
20) Katrina: The GA Response
- (Sep 18 2005)
When Hurricane Katrina left the Gulf Coast devastated, general-aviation aircraft and pilots were there to help. AVweb reports on what has been done so far and what else we can do.