At the Innovations Pavilion at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh last week, Engineered Propulsion Systems (EPS) showcased the Vision 350 engine, a prototype of a lightweight diesel aircraft powerplant in the 350-hp range that is small enough to fit into the cowls of current production single-engine aircraft.
|The Vision 350. Click to enlarge.|
Diesel is seen as an alternative to gasoline-powered engines in such applications, but the heavier construction diesel engines require makes aviation applications problematic.
The 257 kW (350 hp) Vision 350 is a 4.4-liter, 8-cylinder “Flat Vee” (180 °) that delivers 815 N·m (600 lb-ft) of torque at 2,500 rpm. Installed airplane target weight (wet) is ≤ 300 kg (660 lbs). The engine is aluminum-propeller capable.
The geared design (external spur gear with 1.366:1 reduction ratio) allows the prop to deliver full power at lower rpm (2200-2300 rpm) and reduced sound levels.
|Comparative fuel consumption of the EPS Vision 350 engine (light blue column). Source: EPS. Click to enlarge.|
The Vision 350 can be configured for low and high altitude fixed-wing and piston helicopter applications, and principals say they are currently in discussions with three potential OEM launch customers, and that the company has a provisional purchase orders for more than 1,000 engines in its second year of production, at a $100,000 price point.
For its certification program, the company recently bought a Cirrus SR-22 aircraft and will install a Vision 350 to conduct flight testing, commencing in about 90 days. Record-setting pilot Dick Rutan will fly as test pilot.