Dedicated engine enthusiasts will recall Engineered Propulsion Systems (www.eps.aero) has been developing a high-performance 8-cylinder diesel specifically for general aviation. We first reported on this modern, clean-sheet design in the over 300 hp class three years ago and are happy to hear EPS has announced at Air Venture they are now fully funded with launch customers set and 2017 as the expected date we’ll see production hardware.
As expected initial customers appear to be Department of Defense drone operators who are impressed by the capability and loiter time the fuel-efficient EPS engine is delivering in flight tests. EPS principals reported their second-article test engine benefits from weight reduction and is turning in better-than-expected numbers with no mechanical issues. In fact, the core engine should finish development this year with only the already proven Bosch-sourced engine management taking longer to finalize to production standards.
Because EPS has its funding and launch customers set they are not displaying at Air Venture this year; no need to display their technology to competitors they observe. Such details should come in 2017.
While the EPS engine is not the sort of low-cost, grass roots engine most amateur builders relate to, it is an important development as EPS has bona fide engine development credentials after years of working with industry-leading automotive firms and is thus likely better-equipped to develop an all-new aviation engine than even some of the big legacy aviation engine makers. Pricing will be determined well in the future, but with the Defense Department hopefully buying in quantity there seems hope for a competitive general aviation presence. Given it modern design and budding business case, we expect the EPS to easily compete against entry level turbines and give high-output 6-cylinder Lycomings and Continentals some very fresh competition in premium kit planes.