Thrush Aircraft Selects GE Aviation's New H80 Engine to Power Its Thrush 510 Aerial Applicator

July 27, 2009

OSHKOSH, WI -- Thrush Aircraft, Inc., has selected GE Aviation's new H80 turboprop engine to power an improved version of its 510-gallon, 10,500-pounds gross weight Thrush aerial applicator (crop duster). This is the first application for the H80 engine and the first North American new engine installation for the Walter M601 engine family.

The new H80-powered Thrush 510 is expected to gain certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) next summer, with initial customer deliveries to follow soon after.

"We selected the H80 engines based on GE's strong reputation for engine performance and reliability, which are critical for our customers," said Jody Bays, vice president, Flight Test and Product Support for Thrush Aircraft. "The additional horsepower and increased temperature margin of the H80 engine will enable Thrush 510 operators to carry larger loads in hot weather."

"This selection by Thrush marks the first application for GE Aviation's new H80 engine, which will begin certification testing later this year," said Brad Mottier, vice president and general manager of GE Aviation's Business and General Aviation organization. "We look forward to working with Thrush and its customers and providing them with a powerful, fuel-efficient and durable turboprop engine to meet their needs."

The H80 combines the robust turboprop design of Walter Aircraft Engines' highly successful M601 series engines with GE Aviation's modern 3D aerodynamic design techniques and advanced materials. These technologies deliver more shaft-horsepower (shp), improved engine fuel efficiency and increased temperature margin, significantly enhancing hot-day takeoff performance and high-altitude cruise speeds. The H80 engine also features an extended service life of 3,600 hours and 6,600 cycles between overhauls.

To date, the H80 engine has accumulated more than 3,000 cycles during successful hot section demonstration tests. Additional engine demonstration tests are scheduled for this summer and fall. Engine certification testing is set to begin later this year, with certification expected in early 2010.

An experimental Thrush 510 will be on static display at GE Aviation's booth at this year's EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. The aircraft on display will feature an M601E-11 engine that will be replaced with an H80 engine for flight-testing and FAA certification of the aircraft. Both engines share a common installation and external dimensions. The aircraft has advanced spray nozzles, high-intensity-discharge LED anti-collision lights and a glass panel instrument display—all first-time features on a Thrush aircraft.

With a hopper capacity of 510 gallons, a gross weight of 10,500 pounds, and the 800-shp H80 engine up front, the improved Thrush 510 is designed for superior performance for agricultural operations. The Thrush features a 29,000-hour wing spar life with no mandatory inspections of the wing spars. Additional features include a tubular steel fuselage and cockpit roll cage, removable fuselage skins, and chromate-treated aluminum surfaces for corrosion prevention; all designed to maximize pilot safety, reduce maintenance times and enhance aircraft productivity.

Thrush Aircraft, Inc. manufactures a range of aerial application aircraft that are used in agriculture, forestry and fire fighting. Aerial application is the safest, fastest, most efficient and economical way to protect and fertilize crops and forests, control insects, plant seeds and fight wild fires. All Thrush models provide superb visibility, light control response, and a high degree of maneuverability and speed. Thrush Aircraft, Inc., headquartered in Albany, Georgia, has aircraft currently operating in more than 80 countries around the world.

GE Aviation, an operating unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), is a world-leading provider of commercial and military jet engines and components as well as avionics, electric power, and mechanical systems for aircraft. GE Aviation also has a global service network to support these offerings.