Engineered Propulsion Systems has worked quietly toward certification of an eight-cylinder aviation diesel engine since announcing the clean-sheet design was “frozen” in 2016. While the timeline slipped, the Wisconsin company now expects to have certification requirements complete by the end of 2018.
EPS CEO Michael Fuchs, who founded the company in 2006 with fellow automotive engine designer Steven Weinzierl, said in a Jan. 10 press release that each component has performed “flawlessly” in testing, while software validation has proved more time-consuming than once hoped. (The company at one point planed to announce certification in 2017.)
The company hopes to achieve a 3,000-hour time between overhauls for the engine that will burn a variety of fuels, including Jet A and straight diesel, with a fuel burn about half of what established aviation powerplants deliver in the same 320- to 420-horsepower range. Dick Rutan flew a Cirrus SR22 fitted with a prototype version in 2014, and pronounced it a “new paradigm in aviation propulsion.”
Investors have been patient as the engineering team works through the steps to achieve FAA approval, and the company noted in the Jan. 10 release that it has “assurances of funding through 2018 and expects to stage a product rollout by next spring.”
The company has not yet announced a cost for the new engine, but has been collecting information from potential customers through its website that will help it prioritize supplemental type certificates for retrofit installations. EPS is also working with the U.S. Air Force on a four-cylinder version that would power unmanned aircraft.