A Wisconsin company hopes to have a running prototype of a diesel aircraft engine by next summer after funding for the project came through last week. Engineered Propulsion Systems, of New Richmond, celebrated the formal launch of the project after it raised more than $800,000 in investor and state financing. Engineers Michael Fuchs and Steven Weinzierl have been working on the project for several years but funding has been a problem in the recession. Technical details of the engine aren't readily available, but the project has attracted interest from Cirrus Aircraft and drawn Dick Rutan as a technical adviser. "I'm really proud of all of you," Rutan told the product launch. "It's going to save aviation."
Rutan was the guest speaker for the launch and said there is a need for a modern aircraft engine that won't require 100 LL and delivers better performance and efficiency. Cirrus's chief of engineering Paul Johnston was also there and he told the New Richmond News that his company is looking for an alternative fuel engine and it's interested in the Engineered Propulsion Systems project. "It really gives you hope that this will be the engine to power our airplanes into the next decade," he said.