Despite Delayed Funding, Epic Aircraft Moving Forward
Epic Aircraft continues development of its all-composite turboprop singles and very light jets, though without the $200 million in funding Indian billionaire Dr. Vijay Mallya pledged last September at the NBAA Convention. The deal with Mallya isn’t dead, Epic CEO Rick Schrameck told AIN, but instead has become “more complicated due to other outside partners.” Schrameck’s carefully chosen words refer to Airbus, which Mallya–the CEO of Kingfisher Airlines, one of the European aircraft manufacturer’s best customers–got involved in the deal to help Epic with FAA certification. The problem isn’t so much with Airbus as it is with parent company EADS and, more specifically, its subsidiary Socata, which happens to manufacture a turboprop single–the TBM 850–that would largely compete with the Epic Dynasty, which is slated for certification late next year. Socata CEO Jean-Michel Léonard told AIN this week at EBACE that his company has conducted talks with Epic, “but there is no agreement whatsoever” at this point. Epic is also developing the Victory jet single and Elite jet twin, both of which are scheduled to be certified in the late 2011/early 2012 time frame.