The Ayres Thrush, formerly the Snow S-2, the Aero Commander Ag Commander and the Rockwell Thrush Commander, is one of the most successful and long-lived agricultural aircraft in the world. Nearly 2,000 have been sold since the first example flew almost fifty years ago. Typical of agricultural aircraft, it is a single-seat low-wing 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
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.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 US State Department. This version, known as the Narcotics Eradication Delivery Stystem (NEDS) featured an armoured cockpit and engine to protect against hostile ground fire. Nine were sold to the State Department in 1983-85. Ayres also attempted to market a militarised version as the Ayres Vigilante, intended for the Close Air Support role, but this failed to attract customers.
(per Simpson, 2005, p. 39)
Specifications (Thrush Commander 600)
Published - July 2009
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