|Key people||Rick Schrameck (CEO 2004-2009)
Doug King (CEO 2010-present)
Epic Aircraft is a general aviation aircraft manufacturer headquartered in Bend, Oregon that is owned by the Russian company Engineering LLC. The company is developing its first FAA certified model for sale.
In the past Epic has manufactured and sold kits for high performance experimental models. Orders for kits have been discontinued, following bankruptcy in 2009 and subsequent changes of ownership and reorganization, although at least some previous orders are still being met.
When the company was founded in 2004 it located in Bend, Oregon due to public incentives that were offered, including state loans and grants of US$1.3M. In return for the grants and loans Epic promised to create 4,000 jobs.
On 5 June 2009 Epic was sued by Blue Sky AvGroup, an Epic customer that had an aircraft under construction at the build center, alleging that Epic had failed to meet its contractual obligations. In late June 2009 the company dramatically scaled back its operations. The lay-offs primarily affected the aircraft build center, where customers worked on their own kits. Epic was subsequently named as plaintiff in July 2009 in a lawsuit against engine maker Williams International, claiming that the engine maker defaulted on a contract to supply engines for the Epic Victory program. On 8 August 2009 the company's premises were seized.
Several additional lawsuits were filed against Epic. These included "serious allegations about the conduct of company principals". In a sworn statement Chief Financial Officer David Clark said that Epic owed its customer builders an estimated US$15 million for parts and that the company had no money to pay those debts. Also in his sworn statement Clark alleged many financial irregularities and that company financial reports and practices "did not comply with generally accepted accounting practices". Other sworn statements by Clark and General Manager David Hice alleged that the company was a "chaotic financial environment over which CEO Rick Schrameck ruled exclusively". Hice further alleged many financial irregularities, including that the company missed its payroll in July 2004 and was only able to pay its staff using customer aircraft deposits from sales at AirVenture that same month. Hice also alleged that "On June 16th, 2009 I was terminated after Rick Schrameck physically attacked me."
In September 2009 CEO Rick Schrameck was removed by the board of directors from any "managerial or supervisory capacity" with Epic parent company Aircraft Investor Resources, and the company voluntarily entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy, seeking to reorganize, find investors and continue kitplane production on a reduced scale. As a result of the bankruptcy filing customers with aircraft under construction at the company facility were permitted to remove their aircraft and parts.
As a result of the bankruptcy filing customers with aircraft under construction at the company facility were permitted to remove their aircraft and parts. In an auction on 26 March 2010, the state-owned China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. Ltd. was the highest bidder with a US$4.3 million offer, beating out a bid by the LT Builders Group, a group of seven aircraft owners with incomplete aircraft in the plant. The hearing judge admonished the LT Builders Group for their bid describing it as "pathetic, useless, incompetent, unacceptable, garbage and fiction" but gave the group another chance to improve their position and reserved his decision on the final winner of the auction until 2 April 2010. On 2 April 2010 the judge issued a judgement ordering China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. Ltd. to form a partnership with the LT Builders Group allowing the latter to run the Bend plant. The deal was completed by 11 April 2010, with the LT Builders Group agreeing to run the plant and market to North America, while the Chinese company would market to the rest of the world. The new company intended to reopen the Bend plant for builder-assist construction as well as pursue type certification of the Epic LT.
At AirVenture on 31 July 2010 CEO Doug King announced that the company was ready to take orders for the Epic LT, Escape and Victory kit at that time and that 11 aircraft were in plant, being completed by their owners.
Purchase by Engineering LLC
Engineering LLC, a Russian company, purchased Epic in March 2012 and announced plans to type certify the Epic LT, something the original owners had started but never completed. As part of this plan the company entered into negotiations with Cessna in December 2012 to buy the former Columbia Aircraft plant that Cessna owns in Bend. The company indicated that it expects to hire 40-80 new employees in 2013 as part of the certification effort and to expand kit production.
None of these types has yet been certified, and some remain only design projects:
- LT is a 6-place experimental turbo-prop airplane.
- Victory is an experimental single-engine jet.
- Escape is a 92% scaled version of the Epic LT, with 4-5 seats.
- Elite is an experimental twin-engine jet, initially intended as a kit aircraft, which the company plans to certify later. It utilises an LT model fuselage with cosmetic and structural changes.
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- Eager, Jeffrey (July 2009). "United States District Court for the District of Oregon". Retrieved 2009-07-09.
- Niles, Russ (September 2009). "More Legal Action Against Epic". Retrieved 2009-09-24.
- Clark, David (September 2009). "General Affidavit". Retrieved 2009-09-24.
- Hice, David W. (September 2009). "General Affidavit". Retrieved 2009-09-24.
- Sanders, Jeff (September 2009). "Epic Plans". Retrieved 2009-09-24.
- Ford, Shari (September 2009). "Property at 22590 Nelcon Road in Bend Oregon". Retrieved 2009-09-24.
- Read, Richard (March 26, 2010). "Chinese bidder wins Bend's bankrupt Epic Air but deal still in doubt". The Oregonian. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
- Niles, Russ (March 2010). "China's AVIC Wins Epic Auction". Retrieved 27 March 2010.
- Grady, Mary (March 2010). "Judge Leaves Epic Air Future Unresolved". Retrieved 1 April 2010.
- Reed, Richard (March 2010). "Portland judge gives Epic Air customers a chance in case with Chinese corporation". Retrieved 1 April 2010.
- Niles, Russ (April 2010). "Judge Orders Epic Partnership". Retrieved 5 April 2010.
- Grady, Mary (April 2010). "An Epic Deal Between Builders Group, Chinese Company". Retrieved 12 April 2010.
- Siemers, Erik (March 6, 2012). "Bend airplane-maker Epic Aircraft sold to Russian firm". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved March 6, 2012.
- Niles, Russ (6 March 2012). "Epic Sold To Russian Firm". AVweb. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
- Niles, Russ (11 December March 2012). "Epic Expanding For Certification Effort". AVweb. Retrieved 13 December 2012.
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