Buyer Steps Up As Epic Air Auction Approaches

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Court documents obtained by AVweb show Harlow Aerostructures is seeking to acquire the assets of Epic Air, by March 30, for one-tenth of Epic's estimated value. Under the purchase agreement, Harlow has agreed to purchase substantially all of Epic's assets for $2 million, payable in cash on closing. According to the filing, "the Debtor's bankruptcy schedules value the assets at approximately $20,295,000." An auction is scheduled for March 26, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time that may preclude the sale to Harlow, but Harlow is seeking approval of the sale if a "higher and better bidder" does not step forward. Epic's fast prototype-to-production process saw its Epic LT 6-place jetprop arrive at AirVenture Oshkosh in 2004, less than one year after it was announced. The company's subsequent unveilings quickly created a range of high-profile, high-performance, single- and multi-engine, turbine- and turbofan-powered experimental aircraft. But that course came to an end when, on Oct. 23, 2009, Epic filed under Chapter 7 (liquidation) in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Harlow Aerostructures previously bid on VLJ maker Eclipse Aviation's assets, but was not included among the final round offers. Epic's designs were mostly larger than the Eclipse 500, being mainly six- to eight-place offerings, and did include very light jets. All of Epic's designs offer very high performance relative to similar aircraft. The aircraft were sold as kits that were often combined with company-offered fast-build programs, often bringing customer costs to over $1 million. Completed aircraft soon saw their pilots joining the "EPIC 500 Club," which may have been a competitive reference to the Eclipse 500. The club is composed of Epic LT pilots who could confirm ground speeds in excess of 500 miles per hour while flying the single-engine, propeller-drive Epic LT.

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Click here to view the Bankruptcy Court documents (PDF file)