After flirting with Canadian and Russian certification for its composite aircraft, Epic Aviation says it will certify its products in the U.S. CEO Rick Schrameck told a news conference at AOPA Expo on Thursday that it will certify its first aircraft, the turboprop Escape, in Bend, Ore., under the auspices of the Seattle FAA office. He said that problems with the foreign certifications notwithstanding (and aircraft seized in the Georgian conflict and high building costs in Canada), the current economic problems also helped make the decision to certify in the U.S. He said that certification inspectors now have time to do the Escape certification as activity in the market declines. Schrameck said the market decided his choice to certify a turboprop, rather than one of the jets his company is also developing.
He said he was surprised when customers said they wanted a capable turboprop rather than a jet but the lower cost, better fuel economy and much lighter training requirements (no type rating required) have renewed interest in turboprops. The Escape is pressurized, seats up to six, has a 1,000-horsepower Honeywell TPE331-10 engine and will cruise at 350 knots. He expects to have a type-conforming aircraft in a few months.