Bend's Epic Aircraft on expansion flight path

New hires planned amid certification for newest plane

Epic Aircraft to expand

BEND, Ore. - With an FAA certification in sight for its new aircraft and more jobs on the way, Epic Aircraft is stretching its wings for a major expansion.

The certification will allow Epic Aircraft to build 100 percent of its new aircraft, the E1000.

Epic also plans to add 30 employees in coming weeks, and moving forward they expect to build 30 to 50 planes a year.

Currently, they have 85 employees on staff and expect to hire 100 more over the next 12 months. With hard work, they've come a long way since filing for bankruptcy in 2009.

"It was the right time in my life to help out and turn this thing around in 2010," CEO Doug King said Tuesday.

King helped bring Epic Aircraft out of bankruptcy, and in 2012, he sold the company to Russian owners. At a career event next Saturday, King hopes to add more people to the company.

"We want people with a really good attitude and hopefully some aviation experience," King said.

The E1000 leads the way for their certified aircraft, and is on the market for $2.75 million.

"We've sold over 30 of the certified airplanes that we're ready to deliver already," King said.

Small plane sales took a big hit during the recession, but King said some segments of the market are back to where they were previously.

"This particular niche that we're in is doing pretty well," King said. "It's a single-engine turboprop, and it's fit for a specific business need."

He also said he hopes more aviation suppliers move to the High Desert, but even so, they already order from several area manufacturers. 

"It's already been helpful in the area," King said. "We spend a lot of money locally here in Central Oregon."

Next Saturday's career information event will be held at its Bend location off Nelson Road. Epic is looking to hire people in engineering, manufacturing and avionics.

The company expects to employ 200 to 300 people by the point FAA certification is achieved, a goal for mid-2015.

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