A Wisconsin engine manufacturer took the next step in a major development program for its new diesel aviation engine Sept. 20 when it fired up for the first time a pre-production engine. Engineered Propulsion Systems started a new Graflight V-8 on a test stand near its New Richmond development facility.
“Achieving this major milestone is an accomplishment that will set new standards. It opens up huge opportunities,” said EPS President and CEO Michael Fuchs.
Fuchs reported that the engine started and ran smoothly. It will be put through a series of tests on the stand and at a dynamometer facility in Germany before being shipped to Mojave, California, to be mounted on a Cirrus for its first test flight with legendary test pilot Dick Rutan.
EPS has made significant design changes to the engine, which is one of only a few clean-sheet diesel aviation engines in development. Most are derivatives of automotive designs. The Graflight V-8s will be capable of producing 320 to 450 horsepower at what Fuchs projects will be about 30 percent higher price than a similar avgas engine. However, with a potentially longer TBO and lower fuel burn, the operating cost of the engine will be less. Certification is expected in mid-2017. The EPS engine is one of several promising new diesel designs profiled in the story, “Diesel rounds the bend,” in the Tektober section of the October issue of AOPA Pilot magazine.