Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Into the Breach!

Welcome to the Epic Aircraft Commentary Blog.

We've started this site in order to offer the General Aviation community opportunity to examine and comment on a company with enormous potential. Can that potential be translated into promise and promise into reality? There's the real question.

With a couple dozen single engine turboprop LT's in the air, and another dozen or so still in the build state, Epic has literally rewritten the book on experimental aircraft. It would not be incorrect to state that Epic has single handedly causing the FAA to review the entire Homebuilt category. Whether it be the LT, its scaled down sister (Escape) or the single engine jet offering (Victory), your Experimental Aircraft will be built at the Epic factory in Bend in close partnership with factory staff and mechanics. Then again, perhaps it won't.

After a series of successes (and some notable failures in the investment area), Epic's rate of production has slowed considerably over the past year. Grumblings are reported among the owners; rumors abound of a company in financial trouble despite their insistence that they carry zero debt and the claims that their business model is profitable. Finally, a few days ago, the company quietly laid off 2/3 of its workforce.

With an economy in shambles it would hardly be news (though it would be sad) if yet another GA manufacturer failed. On the other hand, the test of a Company is not how they perform when the green is flowing, but how they perform (and treat their stakeholders) when times are tough. After all, Eclipse was hardly newsworthy until their own end-game became an aviation Ponzi scheme. I believe Epic is at that same crossroads and, for that reason, General Aviation needs to keep Rick Schrameck (and his partners) very much on their radar screens.

As an owner of Epic LT SN#30, we obviously have a keen interest in the happenings in Bend. But this same fact puts us in a position where we know and hear much that may be of interest to those considering one of the Epic offerings and to the General Aviation public at large.

So bookmark this page, strap yourselves in and help us to paint this emerging portrait.

Best reagrds-
Rich Lucibella