SAVANNAH, GEORGIA – December 6, 2010 – GE’s new H80 turboprop engine has completed its first flight on the Thrush 510G aerial applicator, which flew on November 23, in Albany, Georgia.
“The GE and Thrush teams have been working toward this milestone since engine selection last year, and today’s events are a testament to this group’s extraordinary efforts,” said Brad Mottier, vice president and general manager of GE Aviation’s Business and General Aviation organization. “This is a historic moment with the Thrush 510G being the first application for the new H80 engine, and the first North American new engine installation for the M601 engine family.”
The first flight of the Thrush 510G aircraft, a 510-gallon, 10,500-pounds gross weight crop duster, lasted 30 minutes and is part of the overall flight-testing program to demonstrate the aircraft’s capabilities. Since first flight, the H80-powered 510G has flown an additional five hours and has achieved experimental certification from the FAA.
“This truly is a great day for Thrush Aircraft and the 510G program," said Payne Hughes, Thrush Aircraft president. "It's the culmination of the hard work and dedication of our employees. We are looking forward to the 510G flight program which will demonstrate the enhanced capabilities of this airplane."
The H80 engine will accumulate more than 8000 cycles and 150 endurance hours during engine durability and performance tests. Engine certification tests continue at the GE Aviation Czech facility, with EASA and FAA certification expected in early 2011.
The H80 engine combines the elegant, robust design of the M601 engine with GE's 3-D aerodynamic design techniques and advanced materials to create a more powerful, fuel-efficient, durable engine compared with the M601 engine, with no recurrent fuel nozzle inspections and no hot section inspection. The H80 engine will also feature an extended service life of 3,600 flight-hours or 6,600 cycles between overhauls, significantly enhanced hot-day takeoff performance and high-altitude cruise speeds. The H80 will provide the option of a single- or dual-acting governor, allowing customers flexibility in propeller selection. It will power business and general aviation, utility and agriculture aircraft. GE Aviation's Business & General Aviation Turboprops has more than 1,600 M601 engines in service that have accumulated more than 17 million flight hours on 30 applications.
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 510G 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 GE (NYSE: GE), is a world-leading provider of jet and turboprop engines, components and integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings. For more information, visit us at www.ge.com/aviation. Learn more about GE Business & General Aviation at facebook.com/GEBGA. Follow GE Aviation on Twitter at twitter.com/GEAviation and YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/GEAviation.