Epic Aircraft’s turboprop prototype completed a first flight on Saturday from the company’s Bend, Oregon, headquarters. The E1000 flew for 20 minutes and it“handled extremely well and performed just as expected,” said David Robinson, Epic’s chief pilot. Flight testing for certification will continue in two phases in the coming months to include handling, systems and performance in weather, including icing conditions. The final test article, scheduled for spring with a second test aircraft, will include the cabin, fuel, hydraulic, avionics, navigational and environmental systems. Epic had previously pursued a certification schedule to be completed in 2015, and in July planned for deliveries to begin in the first half of 2016. A company spokeswoman told AVweb on Wednesday Epic is now targeting mid-2016 for certification with deliveries soon after. More than 60 orders are now on hand.
The first test flight was a milestone Epic wanted to complete by year’s end under the current schedule. “This is a tremendous accomplishment and I couldn’t be more proud of our team. We achieved our goal to fly FT1 by the end of the year, thanks to the hard work, long hours and dedicated commitment of our entire staff. The timing just before Christmas gives us even more to celebrate this holiday season,” Epic CEO Doug King said in the company’s announcement on Wednesday. The E1000 will sell for $2.95 million, featuring six seats, a composite airframe and a 1200-horsepower Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67A turbine engine. It will fly at true airspeeds of more than 325 knots and offer a range of 1,650 nautical miles.