Thrush Aircraft of Albany, Georgia, has completed a certification effort spanning more than eight years that allows the 510P and 510G models to take full advantage of their 500-gallon spray tanks and fly at 10,500 pounds.
The company declared “mission accomplished” on Feb. 22, announcing FAA certification of the 510 models to operate legally at their maximum weight capacity. The Part 23 certification of the 510P applies to serial numbers T34-273 forward, covering nearly every 510P produced since 2003 and powered by the Pratt & Whitney PT6A-34AG turboprop. Roughly 180 of those 510Ps already in the field are eligible for a kit installation that will increase the maximum gross weight to the same 10,500 pounds.
Thrush Aircraft Vice President of Sales Eric Rojek, reached by telephone at a conference of aerial applicators in Canada, said the conversion kit includes minimal parts, a new airspeed indicator and placards, and is priced at about $2,000.
“What we tried to do is minimize the expense as much as we can,” Rojek said, noting that many operators are based in foreign countries, and the company sought to keep the weight increase as simple and accessible as possible. The price of a new 510P varies according to equipment requirements, and typically lands just north of $900,000, Rojek said.
Thrush Aircraft has sold more than 2,100 aircraft to operators in 80 countries, with agricultural spraying, forestry, and firefighting the primary missions. Thrush-made airplanes also have been adapted to warfighting missions, utilizing their heavy hauling capabilities for close air support and related roles on the battlefield.