Thrush Aircraft announced that its 510G Switchback was granted full FAA certification last week. The GE H80-powered Switchback is a Single Engine Air Tanker (SEAT) aircraft that can be changed quickly from an agricultural spray setup to a firefighting configuration. Thrush says the switch can be made in “a matter of minutes” thanks to a new fire gate delivery system.
“Thanks to its flexibility, its revolutionary new gatebox and its proven durability, the Thrush 510G Switchback is the first aircraft that excels in both fire detection and suppression—as well as in its mission as a highly capable aerial application aircraft for the agricultural industry,” said Thrush. According to the Georgia-based company, the aircraft can drop up to 500 gallons of water, retardant, or fire suppressant in less than two seconds when configured for firefighting. The Switchback is also capable of landing on unimproved surfaces.
The first two 510G Switchbacks have already been delivered to the Georgia Forestry Commission for use in fire detection, rapid response firefighting and training.