Dick Rutan Pilots First Test Flight of EPS Diesel

350 hp engine targets 2016 certification.

Rutan EPS diesel flight

Rutan EPS diesel flight

Dick Rutan, the pilot of the 1986 Voyager round-the-world flight and brother of famed airplane designer Burt, recently completed the first test flight of a Cirrus SR22 in Mojave, California, powered by the Graflight V-8 diesel engine from Engineered Propulsion Systems.

Rutan piloted the Cirrus to 5,000 feet for the successful 20-minute trip aloft, arriving back on the ground where he was promptly showered by champagne by EPS employees. Mike Melvill, another famous test pilot who made history at the controls of Burt Rutan's SpaceShipOne in 2004, flew chase during the test hop in a self-built Long-EZ.

EPS of Wisconsin reports that Rutan will manage the test flight program over the coming months. The first upcoming milestone for the company is a planned trip in the Cirrus to Oshkosh in July for the engine's formal public debut. That trip will be made after the EPS diesel completes about 40 hours of flight testing.

EPS says it plans to start selling the 350 hp Graflight diesel engine, formally called the Vision 350, immediately after FAA certification, expected sometime in 2016. The company says the engine will burn less than 11 gallons a jet-A per hour at economy power setting and offer a TBO of 3,000 hours.

Check out the video of the test flight.

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