Epic Aircraft manufactures a high-performance, single-engine aircraft at its facility on the east side of the Bend Municipal Airport. Powered by a turbine engine and capable of cruising at 34,000 feet, the E1000 GX delivers jet-like performance without jet-like fuel consumption. It seats six and flies over 300 knots on less than 50 gallons of jet fuel per hour.
The company produces two planes per month and would like to increase that rate by 50% by the end of 2024, says CEO Doug King. Manufacturing space is not an issue, as Epic Aircraft owns 300,000 square feet of space, up to 75,000 square feet of which is available for expansion.
Among the distinguishing characteristics of the E1000 GX are its composite airframe and Epic Aircraft’s high degree of vertical integration. Fabricating parts from carbon fiber requires a relatively large workforce, says King, as the process involves the hand-application of many layers onto a mold. The part is then vacuum-compressed and cured in an oven. Meanwhile, Epic manufactures many parts that other aircraft manufacturers tend to outsource. This includes not only structural components, but also interiors and even wire harnesses. Epic currently employs more than 440 people in Bend.
Despite this high degree of vertical integration, Epic Aircraft works with more than 300 vendors. In some ways, this is a good thing, as many of the company’s vendors are local and regional. But Epic can ramp up production only as fast as it can procure parts, and its vendors operate with lead times of up to 18 months, says King.