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Thruster or Drifter - that is the question!


Tomo
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We are on the look out for a two seat, tail wheel, certified ultralight…under 15k

 

Should I go the Drifter, or the Thruster? I've always been a Drifter man, but I've never flown a Thruster and I am almost leaning towards them at the moment, due to their cost and availability.

 

Thoughts?

 

 

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They are a bit tougher in the U/C and not a pusher, but I've always thought the Drifter flys nicer. If you are the only person flying it you can look after it (which is important, airframe wise). Nev

 

 

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We are on the look out for a two seat, tail wheel, certified ultralight…under 15kShould I go the Drifter, or the Thruster? I've always been a Drifter man, but I've never flown a Thruster and I am almost leaning towards them at the moment, due to their cost and availability.

 

Thoughts?

Tomo

You mentioned 'we' so I assume your lovely lady is to be part of your crew? On that assumption I'd suggest that a Thruster might be a more suitable 'lead-in' to her participation. I cut my tail-dragging teeth on a T300 and it not only taught me so much but it also survived my brutal ignorance (in fact, my marque admiration is such that I acquired a Gemini a few years back which awaits resurrection). Ive flown a 582 Drifter & rode shotgun in a 503 and was suitably impressed on both counts (who wouldn't be) and I'd have one in my hangar in a New York minute if circumstances permitted but if Mrs Tomo is planning to participate in this aviation lark with you then there's a comfy togetherness in a Thruster that you cannot achieve in a Drifter. Happy hunting old son. cheers Riley

 

 

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Agree with Riley, you haven't been married long enough for a drifter , best keep the missus along side you in the thruster and in a few more years when the nagging starts trade to a drifter with intermittent intercom stoppages..Good luck and only you can ultimately decide your flying fate ,

 

I ask you this - when you fantasise about taking the missus on flying adventures is she next to you? Or behind you?

 

There's your answer.!

 

 

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My missus has just recently started to come away to flying stuff with me, I love centre line seating ,the decathalons and the Tigermoth are so cool as a pilot ,but it's just not social enough for flying with someone else,

 

Matty

 

 

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I agree Mate, side by side so the Wife can build her confidence and you can hold hands or whatever, I am told the drifter is a bit more forgiving as a tail dragger but for a man of your experience .............

 

 

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My wife has flown with me in many different aircraft both GA and ultralights including tandem seating (Piper Cub) without problems however, she was absolutely petrified sitting on the back seat of a drifter. Drifter....pilots aeroplane, Thruster....lovers aeroplane.

 

Alan.

 

 

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There are quite a few who don't appreciate the minimalist nature of a drifter cockpit. You get nothing for nothing. There is a view like few others. Tandem gives a perfect view to both sides equally in any tandem plane and the Drifter goes a bit further than most ordinary tandems. Being a pusher does bring safety aspects. ( You have to ensure nothing comes loose). I wouldn't put one on line without being very careful of who flies it Nev

 

 

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"I wouldn't put one on line without being very careful of who flies it Nev"

 

Funny, I hear things like this being said nowadays (not just on here but at airfields ) and think....20 yrs ago the overwhelming majority of AUF flying schools had a Drifter or several Drifters online.

 

I can only assume the instructors and pilots where better back in the day?

 

 

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We are on the look out for a two seat, tail wheel, certified ultralight…under 15kShould I go the Drifter, or the Thruster? I've always been a Drifter man, but I've never flown a Thruster and I am almost leaning towards them at the moment, due to their cost and availability.

 

Thoughts?

Tomo I don't think you would be disappointed in a Thruster especially a t500 with a 582 up front

 

 

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XP... Nearly everybody then had two stroke experience and most of the aircraft were similar in structure. Now they are rare and not often used and OLDER. See if you can find one to get your T/W endo. We have as some would say "Moved on" for better or worse. The change happened fairly quickly.. Holbrook used to have a few that were used regularly.Nev

 

 

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What about a skyfox or a lightwing Tomo , bit faster, pretty comfy, and there's a few good deals around

Would love to Mat, but trying to find something that is certified (for tailwheel training at a school) and around the 15k mark is a bit hard!! My bank account is only going to let me upgrade slowly…unfortunately. Can't complain I guess as most young pilots don't even have an aeroplane at all!

 

One day I will get something slick and fast as well! One step at a time.

 

 

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Fly a couple of Thrusters. You can do a bit with them. Read a the stuff from Tony Hayes. He was going to alter the riggers AoA. to make them stall fully in the tail down attitude for landing 3 point. They get a bit of exhaust smell in them sometimes. I don't know if that is normal. Nev

 

 

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Horses for courses really. I trained in a Thruster and they take some adjusting to the fact that they are not fully stalled in the 3 point attitude so you needto judge the flair and get the stick right back at that point. A learned trick but Mick Parer at Holbrook said if you could fly a Thruster you could fly anything! And he was one of the initial group on Mirages. I recently had my 1st Drifter ride and found the lack of forward vision disconcerting. That said they climb better than Thrusters (Imho) and they nearly land themselves. Need to do the research. Don. PS Don't go thru a fence in a Drifter!

 

 

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G'day Tomo,

 

Thruster vs Drifter eh?

 

I did all my ab initio training in a Drifter and absolutely loved it. They are a great aircraft with some unique features, including the 'broomstick' feel from the front seat. It can be quite disconcerting flying along without being able to see the wing. Great view too.

 

The Thruster, for me, suits my purposes better, but does not have quite the performance of the Drifter. In addition, the Thruster has a few 'quirks' that can bite you if you are inattentive, especially on landing and roll out.

 

The Drifter has a better glide ratio, is easier to land, cruises about 5 knts faster and will cost a bit more than a comparable Thruster, from what I can see.

 

The Thruster glides like a brick, can be uncomfortable after an hour in the air, is fun to fly (and land), and is a fairly tough "agricultural" type of aircraft.

 

I reckon the Thruster is great for a fun machine but not so good for long distance flying.

 

Good luck with the research Tomo.

 

Pud

 

 

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For tail wheel endos i think the Thruster will make a better pilot compared to the Drifter. Drifters are much easier to fly and land that is why people hang on to them i think. But will they be able to really handle another type of tail dragger if they got in one? Thruster was designed as a local aircraft, for training, that is why it was originally called the TST (two seat trainer). Utility (bush basher) was close second. An hour aloft is an hour aloft regardless of what it is. Comfort, put a nice cushion on the seat. At least the Thruster has a good pod and windscreen on it. Side by side, engine out front, good structure around you = better survival rate. By the time it is time to do X country endo it is time for the student to up the performance mount anyway.

 

I used to take my then girlfriend on Sunday picnics, OK in the Thruster but was better in the Glasshouse with it's bench seat. Bit hard to get a cuddle in a Drifter.

 

 

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