Dave Higdon/OSHKOSH

Unison Industries and Textron Lycoming will start flight-testing their new electronic propulsion integrated control (EPIC) system for piston engines next month. Meanwhile, Teledyne Continental Motors, in conjunction with Aerosance, has been testing its own single-lever full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system.

"We've had great results running this in the test cell since we announced it last year," says Unison president Fred Sontag. "We've revised the hardware, improved the software and the data map, and we're ready to put it into the air," he adds.

Unison has not set a price for the EPIC as a retrofit for existing engines, but the company plans to offer the after-market option at "a competitive price". The EPIC system should be ready for market before the middle of next year.

The single-lever EPIC system combines sensors for engine parameters - speed, manifold and ambient air pressure and temperatures - that feed a digitally programmed controller that adjusts the propeller pitch, fuel mixture and spark timing through Unison's solid-state LASER dual-digital electronic ignition system.

To satisfy different operating demands, EPIC allows the pilot to adjust the system to high power for take-off and rejected landings, or for cruise power.

Meanwhile, Teledyne Continental Motors (TCM) and Aerosance have tested their single-lever FADEC system on an IO-240-Continental-powered Diamond Katana C1 and a Cessna Skyhawk 172, powered by a converted Lycoming O-360. Certification of the FADEC is expected by the fourth quarter of this year.

The TCM/Aerosance system adds fuel injection and control to the Lycoming engine. Early tests with the Skyhawk, which included a flight to last month's Experimental Aircraft Association show at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, demonstrated easier starting, power improvements at higher altitudes, cooler running and lower fuel consumption. More than 40h have been flown on the Continental-powered Katana, with equally impressive results, according to Aerosance. Testing of the FADEC system is also under way on a six-cylinder Continental engine.

Prices for the FADEC will start at $4,000, with costs recoverable over time in savings from lower fuel consumption and reduced ignition-system maintenance needs, say the partners.

Source: Flight International