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How isn't Epic Aircraft E1000 causing a disruption?

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

Comparing industry leading single-engine turboprop aircraft to the Epic E1000


To have a disruptive technology GO TO MARKET in the aviation community requires many decades of planning and no assurance of limited success. Most times, the aircraft is a hit or it's a flop. As far as disruptive technology in the aviation community, a breakthrough moment is celebrated and followed by hoping customers feel the same way for the next 10 years.

Within this article we will identify components that make the single-engine turboprop aircraft category a unique and interesting field of aviation. Additionally, a handful of turboprop aircraft will be detailed with a focus on the Epic E1000 aircraft.


Key component of the Single-engine Turboprop aircraft class

To keep this short, the turboprop engines offer an immense increase in fuel efficiency compared to turbofan and turbojet engines due to the bypass ratio which can range from 30-100. Turbojet and turbofan engines typically show a bypass ratio of 5-10.


A Snapshot of Single Engine Turboprop Aircraft Currently on the Market

The aircraft designed in this class are trying to achieve the best exchange between fuel efficiency, power loading, and weight. Below is the list of aircraft we will be looking at:

SE Turboprop Aircraft - click aircraft to jump to their section


 



Aircraft 1: Cessna Caravan

First introduced in 1984, the Cessna 208 Caravan provided a relatively cheap utility aircraft to transport large amounts of cargo.

Side view of the Cessna Caravan 208
Cessna Caravan 208 Sideview 1. Cessna

Below is a table of a few key metrics about this aircraft:

Metric

Value

Units

useful load

3305

lb

horsepower

675

shp

cruise speed

185

kts

max cruise altitude

25,000

ft

best fuel efficiency

48

gal/hr

To keep it brief, the cruise altitude and cruise speed are the metric that keep this aircraft lacking; these metrics show how the Cessna Caravan is limited in its flight envelope capabilities.


Aircraft 2: Quest Kodiak

First delivered in January 2008, the Kodiak 100 was designed to aid missionary and humanitarian aviation organizations (AIN). When looking at market share this has made a large impact with a total of 300+ aircraft delivered as of December 2021.


Below is a photo of the Kodiak 100:

Kodiak 100 3. Flyer

Below is a table showing a few key metrics about the Kodiak 100:

Metric

Value

Units

useful load

3530

lb

horsepower

750

shp

cruise speed

174

kts

max cruise altitude

12,000

ft

best fuel efficiency

45

gal/hr

Kodiak 100 has a useful load of 3500 pounds AND has a cruise speed of 174 knots, which proves it can act as a workhorse for transporting massive amounts of cargo across 1000 plus nautical mile distances (Kodiak).


Aircraft 3: Piper M500

Our Piper M500 Turboprop is the first in our list to push into a 30k operating altitude. The Piper M-class has gone through some rebranding over the last few decades, but its first version took delivery back in 1982. Since then, many iterations have come to market with the M500 being the closest competitor to the Epic E1000 aircraft.

Below is a photo of the Kodiak 100:


Piper M500 5. Piper

Below is a table showing a few key metrics about the Piper M500:

Metric

Value

Units

useful load

1698

lb

horsepower

500

shp

cruise speed

260

kts

max cruise altitude

30,000

ft

best fuel efficiency

35

gal/hr

The M500 is the best option for flight plans that have low cargo demands and low operating cost requirements.


Aircraft 4: Pilatus PC-12

Pilatus is another business style turboprop aircraft that has taken initiatives early on to be the leader in sustainable aviation production. The performance metrics for the PC-12 NG are tested using sustainable fuel which is a 50/50 split between JetA fuel and a biofuel mixture.

Below is a photo of the Pilatus PC-12 aircraft:

Pilatus PC-12 7. Blackhawk

Below is a table showing a few key metrics about the Pilatus PC-12 (Altivation, Blackhawk):

Metric

Value

Units

useful load

4021

lb

horsepower

1200

shp

cruise speed

285

kts

max cruise altitude

30,000

ft

best fuel efficiency

wide range of 50-70

gal/hr

Aircraft 5: Epic E1000

Now with our focus on the Epic E1000, we get to see how this aircraft surpasses all others in its class. We will update this article as more news comes out about the E1000 line of aircraft, however, its key features are:

  • Carbon-fiber composite

  • Hartzell 5-blade propeller

  • Pratt & Whitney PT6-67A Turboprop

  • 34k foot operating altitude

  • 315 knot Normal Cruise Speed

The photo below is the Epic E1000 aircraft:

Epic E1000 Aircraft. 9. Lynch

Carbon Fiber Composite Body

The E1000 does not use rivets to hold its body together which means it is not made up of sheet metal pieces. The whole body and wing are complexly pressed carbon fiber sheets, which offers much higher strength with much less weight. During stress testing, the carbon fiber wing was deflected up to 60 inches when failure occurred (Aero & Marine Tax Professionals).

Hartzell 5-Blade Carbon-Fiber Propeller

An array of hollowed carbon fiber blades, the Hartzell propeller reduces the acceleration time and improves fuel efficiency. The Hartzell website explains in a blog article how increasing propeller blades reduces noise through vibration of the cabin (Hartzell).

Pratt & Whitney PT6-67A Turboprop Engine

Turboprop engines are able to achieve highly profitable fuel efficiency by taking advantage of ultra bypass ratios. A photo of turboprop schematic is shown below:

Turboprop Engine Model. 11. Turboprop Wikipedia

The total air mass flow area generated by the size of the propeller is divided by the air mass flow area that passes through the engine core for the combustion cycle. The only negative attribute of the turboprop engine is the additional weigh required for reduction mechanisms.

Operating Ceiling of 34k feet

Based on reporting from Epic, the E1000 only needs 18 minutes to reach its standard cruise altitude of 33k-34k feet. Epic aircraft is rated with a climb rate of 4,000 feet per minute.

Normal Cruise Speed of 315 knots

Epic approximates a few different flight envelopes for cruise: 1. At 33k-34k feet flying 315 knots the average fuel burn would be 49-50 gal/hr. 2. At 25k feet flying 325 knots the average fuel burn would be 55-56 gal/hr. With these two reference points, a linear relationship could be interpolated to approximated for future design purposes (Aero & Marine Tax Professionals).


Conclusion

Our exploration of single-engine turboprop aircraft should be remembered as a stepping stone along a highly anticipated paradigm shift within general aviation as fuel costs increase, competition thins, and design costs match global inflation. The high fuel efficiency of turboprops and countless body styles to design provide a lot of market potential for many more SE turboprop aircraft.

Epic has every intention of further optimizing their design to make the E1000 the gold standard in single-engine turboprop aircraft available for business and general aviation. The latest modification includes a Garmin custom-design laminar radome antenna expected to be released in late 2023 (Aero & Marine Tax Professionals).

References

  1. Cessna (2023), "Cessna Caravan," https://cessna.txtav.com/en/turboprop/caravan

  2. AIN (2009), "JAARS Takes Quest Kodiak Delivery," AIN Online, https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/aviation-international-news/2009-01-29/jaars-takes-quest-kodiak-delivery

  3. Flyer (2021), "Daher launches Series III Kodiak 100," Flyer, https://flyer.co.uk/daher-launches-series-iii-kodiak-100/

  4. Kodiak (2023), "Daher Kodiak 100," https://kodiak.aero/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/2022_Kodiak_100_Series_III_Brochure.pdf

  5. Piper (2023), "Piper M500", https://www.piper.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/2023-M500-Single-Spec-Sheet.pdf

  6. Altivation (2023), "PILATUS PC-12," SPECIFICATIONS,"https://altivationaircraft.com/pilatus-pc12/#:~:text=Powered%20by%20a%20PT6A%2D67P,max%20payload%20of%202%2C357%20pounds.

  7. Blackhawk Aerospace (2023), "XP67P Engine Upgrade," https://www.blackhawk.aero/upgrade/pilatus-pc-12-xp67p/

  8. Epic (2023), "Epic E1000 Technical Specs," https://epicaircraft.com/technical-specifications/

  9. Lynch, Kerry (2020), "FAA Grants Production Certification to Epic for E1000", AIN Online, https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/business-aviation/2020-07-24/faa-grants-production-certification-epic-e1000

  10. Hartzell (2018), "ARE MORE PROPELLER BLADES BETTER?," https://hartzellprop.com/are-more-propeller-blades-better/

  11. Turboprop Wikipedia (2023), "Turboprop," Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turboprop

  12. Aero & Marine Tax Professionals, “Epic Aircraft: Walk through of the Epic E1000 GX," https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTnNg8LBZPg










3 Comments


Hello,

I noticed how nice these aircraft look and was wondering if there is a solid industry for aircraft detailing?

Smooth Auto Detailing - smoothautodetailer.com

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Erik Goossens
Erik Goossens
Aug 07, 2023

Less disruption because the TBM 910 & 960 are very similar and already well established?

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Truman Cassady
Truman Cassady
Dec 17, 2023
Replying to

Based on my findings, Epic has a slightly lower fuel burn up at cruise altitude. That's part of why I was fascinated with it.

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