Ayres Thrush

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Thrush
AyresThrushC-GVVZ.JPG
The radial engine powered Ayres S-2R Thrush
Role Aerial application aircraft
Manufacturer Ayres Corporation
Thrush Aircraft
Designer Leland Snow
First flight 1956
Number built less than 2,000

The Ayres Thrush, formerly the Snow S-2,[1] the Aero Commander Ag Commander and the Rockwell Thrush Commander, is an American low-wing agricultural aircraft produced by Ayres Corporation and more recently by Thrush Aircraft. It is one of the most successful and long-lived agricultural application aircraft types in the world, with almost 2,000 sold since the first example flew 58 years ago. Typical of agricultural aircraft, it is a single-seat monoplane of conventional taildragger configuration. Originally powered by a radial piston engine, most examples produced since the 1980s have been turboprop-powered.

Design and development[edit]

Early Snow S-2A of 1959 with open cockpit and roll-over protection bar at Santa Fe, New Mexico, June 1997, in pseudo-USAAF markings.

The Thrush was designed by Leland Snow and first flew in 1956, and before long was being produced in series as the S-2 by the company he founded, Snow Aeronautical.[1] In 1965, the corporation and all its assets were purchased by the Aero Commander division of Rockwell, which put it into production alongside the CallAir A-9 that it had also acquired, branding both unrelated (though similar) machines as "Ag Commanders". When Rockwell dropped the Aero Commander brand, the S-2 was renamed the "Thrush Commander".

In 1977, Rockwell sold off the production rights to the aircraft and the production facility at Albany, Georgia, which were purchased by Ayres Corporation, a firm which had been built on retro-fitting turboprop engines to Thrush Commanders. On June 30, 2003, Ayres' assets were purchased by Thrush Aircraft, the current producer of the aircraft.

Ayres developed a special anti-narcotics crop-spraying version of the Turbo-Thrush for the United States Department of State. This version, known as the Narcotics Eradication Delivery System (NEDS)[2] featured an armored cockpit and engine to protect against hostile ground fire. Nine were sold to the Department of State between 1983 and 1985.[3] Ayres also attempted to market a militarized version as the Ayres Vigilante, intended for the Close Air Support role, but this failed to attract customers.[4]

The S-2 and its several variants have been purchased by agricultural spraying operators in many countries. Large numbers are operated in the United States and Australia. Other countries using the type include Costa Rica, France, Guyana, Iran, Israel, Jamaica, Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Variants[edit]

Aero Commander S-2D exhibited at the 1967 Paris Air Show
Ayres S2R-T Thrush powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT-6 turboprop
Ayres S-2R Thrush

Snow Aeronautical[edit]

(per Simpson, 2005, p. 39)

S-1
initial prototype with open cockpit.
S-2
pre-production version of S-1 - three built.
S-2A
initial production version, powered by Continental engine – 73 built.
S-2B
S-2 powered by 450 hp Pratt & Whitney R-985 – 19 built.
S-2C
refined production version – 214 built.
S-2C-600
S-2C re-engined with Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN1.
S-2D
6,000 lb take-off weight – 105 built.

Aero Commander[edit]

S-2D Ag Commander

Rockwell[edit]

Thrush Commander 600
Thrush Commander 800
powered by Wright R-1300.

Marsh[edit]

S2R-T Turbo Thrush
Rockwell Thrush Commanders converted to turbine power by Marsh Aviation using Garrett AiResearch TPE331-1-101 engines.

Ayres[edit]

S-2R 1340
equivalent to Thrush Commander 600.
S-2R 1820
Bull Thrush
Pezetel Thrush
powered by PZL-3.
S-2R-T
turboprop powered versions equipped with Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A.

Thrush Aircraft[edit]

Thrush Model 400
Model 510G
Thrush Model 510
General Electric H80 powered
Thrush Model 550
Thrush Model 660

Specifications (Thrush Commander 600)[edit]

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1976-77 [5]

General characteristics

Performance

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Macdonald, 1964. p.138.
  2. ^ "The Ayres Thrush & Rockwell Thrush Commander". Airliners.net. Retrieved December 11, 2012. 
  3. ^ J. W. R. Taylor 1988, p. 328.
  4. ^ "AYRES V-1-A Vigilante as COIN Aircraft". Opus224's Unofficial Philippine Defense Page. Retrieved December 11, 2012. 
  5. ^ Taylor 1976, p.379.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Green, William. Aircraft Handbook. London. Macdonald & Co. (Publishers) Ltd., 1964.
  • Simpson, Rod. The General Aviation Handbook. Midland Publishing. 2005. ISBN 1-85780-222-5.
  • Taylor, John W R. (editor). Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1976-77. London: Jane's Yearbooks, 1976. ISBN 0-354-00538-3.
  • Taylor, John W R. (editor). Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1988-89. Coulsdon, Surrey, UK: Jane's Information Group, 1988. ISBN 0-7106-0867-5.

External links[edit]