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The first Thruster?

Guest ozzie

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Guest ozzie

This photo was taken at Schofields '81 airshow when the Thruster was first displayed. i think Tony has been looking for this photo for a while now.


Note the tail skins and the engine looks like a cyuna with belt reduction.





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Guest TOSGcentral

Thanks Ozzie - I have been indeed looking for this one (I got your email pic too - thanks)


The aircraft (now based at Watts Bridge, fully rebuilt and reconditioned) looks essentially the same as the photo and still has those original skins. The only major visible difference is decals on the pod that identify it as 'Thruster T1 Prototype' and a set of modern alloy wheels for safety reasons.


There are other modifications to her primarily for strengthening but these are mainly 'hidden'. For example the wing spars now have full span internal sleeving, there are some alloy pads at wear points and the pod has been substantially stiffened internally.


On that latter point the aircraft deserves the same comment as was awarded to the WW2 Mosquito - "A bit like a virgin. Takes effort to get into but lovely once you are there"! So the pod gets a bit of hammer from the extraordinary contortions that (I at least) have to go through to get in. But once there it really is lovely! It is far and away the nicest Thruster that I have flown and the designer/builder (Steve Cohen) has lamented that he never recorded the exact measurements of it and has never been able to fully replicate them since.


Poor Steve was quite anxious to buy it back but no go I am afraid. The aircraft is kept in a private hangar along with the prototype Thruster two seater (a Glasshouse) and both are maintained in flying condition.


The amount of offers made to buy it are exceeded only by the requests to fly either or both of them! Both of them are very easy to fly and are viceless (but the Glasshouse is a handful on the ground).


However flying them is presently highly restricted by their historical value that makes them priceless. Only two pilots are presently sanctioned - myself and Crezzie (since Rod Mill had to give up solo flying).


The aircraft will never be sold (at least while I am alive) and will eventually be based in a Museum intended to be created at Watts Bridge, from which both (and a few other important Thrusters) will be flown regularly.


Ozzie is correct - the engine is a Cyuna. Originally quite a small version was fitted but the aircraft was underpowered, so the present larger Cyuna was fitted and this makes the aircraft go extremely well.


As I have returned to active flying for a while and abandoned my feeble attempts at semi retirement, I may also pick up a project I tinkered with for a few years and never got around to - a "Super Syndicate" comprised mainly of the rare and important Thrusters - probably about eight or nine of them.


"Buy in and Buy out" would be about $3000 a share and flying at around $50 per hour. This will return the essential ethic of ultralight flying, with the added ambience of flying rare aircraft and I may relax restrictions a little on the two Prototypes as welll.


There would be some "catches" however. While I intend the aircraft to be professionally maintained for reliability and run the syndicate more as a club on a "hire it" basis, there will be ample opportunity for rebuild and maintenance training for syndicate members.


The main "catch" is that the only way you are going to get into this (if it happens) is to satisfy myself that you cannot just fly a Thruster but you can operate one to a high standard. I can fix any passing problems you have but how quickly that happens depends entirely on your own interest - because my standards are uncompromising!


Anyway, more on that at a later date - I currently have more work than I can poke a stick at!







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