July 19, 2013
By Benét J. Wilson
Albany, Ga.-based Thrush Aircraft has begun shipping the first three of a 20-aircraft order of its dual cockpit model 510Gs to Chinese agribusiness conglomerate Heilongjiand State Farms Beidahuand Group, based in Jiamusi, China.
The group, which oversees one of China's largest farming companies, has given Thrush the single largest order in its history. Although the privately held company did not release a dollar figure, it did note that including spare parts and training, the deal is valued “well into eight figures.”
China will take delivery of the newly FAA-certified dual cockpit 510Gs when they arrive in about two weeks. The first three aircraft are being ferried from Albany to China, while the remainder will be containerized and shipped.
Thrush has been doing pilot and mechanic training for Heilongjiand State Farms for the past two months. As the 501Gs are delivered in Jiamusi, the company will provide on-site orientation and assistance for flight crews. The aircraft will be used to spray crops including rice, soybeans, and corn.
Environmental groups are asking the EPA to take another look at avgas even as a government-industry program moves closer to finding unleaded alternatives.
Collaboration between the German government, academia, and airplane manufacturers may make future aircraft cabins more protective of pilots and passengers. The Safety Box team plans to apply auto racing technology to general aviation.
A father and his 14-year-old son were helping another pilot ferry a newly purchased aircraft from California to their home field in Virginia. The three made an overnight stop in Albuquerque before flying on to Illinois for fuel. But shortly after they parked the aircraft in Marion, Ill., they were approached by as many as 18 uniformed and non-uniformed law enforcement officers who came running toward the airplane.
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