Ayres Thrush

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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]


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)

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

Aero Commander[edit]

S-2D Ag Commander


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


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


S-2R 1340
equivalent to Thrush Commander 600.
S-2R 1820
Bull Thrush
Pezetel Thrush
powered by PZL-3.
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


See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  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.


  • 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]