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Thruster Float Planes - and others.


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Guest TOSGcentral

Hi Sportsfans.

 

I have an appeal to make (three in fact).

 

I have at last got my hands on some pics of Thruster Float Planes, or one anyway. So I am doing a feature in the next TOSG Bulletin (that is the one after the current one just about to be mailed).

 

I would dearly like any reminiscences about these types and preferably more photographs (that I assure you will be returned promptly after scanning). I know that several single seaters went onto floats, probably at least eight, and they would have attracted a lot of attention at the time (1983 – 1985) so people have to have pics and stories about them.

 

Please email me or PM me with anything you can add to one of the last missing links in the Thruster story.

 

Talking of missing links – there are two more.

 

The first is the mysterious (but it was not at the time) “Bill Robinson Single Seat T300†and probably did not go much further than Evans Head at around the early 1990s. It only lasted a few years and was cannibalised into two different aircraft.

 

The historical importance of this aircraft is that it tracks a component in the demise of the only T100 ever built. I know most of what happened but I lack a photo of this particular stage. Does anyone have a photo of it – even in the background of another shot?

 

It would be a standard two seater airframe, converted to single seat and with an unusually large single seat pod on it that was quite pointy. This was in fact one of the only two 1988 Sprint Pods that were built.

 

The other element was the Thruster Project T88. Conceived and designed in 1988 it foreshadowed what has now happened and the penetration of Ultralights into the low end of GA being designed to be either an ultralight or VH registered aircraft. It was never built – just some of its components – but there was advertising literature, plans and photographs of a model of it. Anyone got any of this tucked away for copying?

 

Those are my only remaining links to be able to document the entire Thruster story that I have been working on for over 13 years. Can anyone help me please?

 

Aye

 

Tony

 

 

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Guest TOSGcentral

Many thanks Don.

 

Both the Sprint pods are still in use. One is on the actual Sprint prototype. This has an all red finish and "T200" was painted on the pod in small lettering. That aircraft is distinctive in that it has a full "Tony Tiffen" GRP shell behind the cockpit to fair the lot in (Similar to the Flying Fox).

 

The other is/was on a T85BG that was mainly blue in colour. That aircraft was for sale a few years ago but I could not afford it and anyway I would have prefered the Sprint Prototype itself (I seem to collect prototypes). I have lost touch where both aircraft currently are.

 

There were other "wide pods" on the single seaters and these either were (or were copied from) Javelin pods. These are full height windscreen pods with the glazed area going down to the floor rails at the back. However they do not extend rearwards beyond the cockpit front A frame.

 

They first appeared on the T100 and several are in use at the moment. That is why this "single seat T300" appeared. It was actually the repaired T100 with the second Sprint pod on it as Bill Robinson wanted more enclosure.

 

Later the aircraft was cannablised to rebuild a TST E and the pod went on the blue T85BG. The entire T100 wings are on the TST E that was (up until recently anyway) owned by Bruce Barcham. I have been trying to get the wings for a long time as I have the entire T100 tail unit (that is quite different to standard).

 

Hey OK I am a Thruster crank! It keeps me off the streets!

 

Aye

 

Tony

 

 

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Guest TOSGcentral

Sorry Terry - but no!

 

Floats went on the single seaters because they are 95.10 and you can do much as you please with them (within common sense and safety) but the two seaters (excluding the Glasshouse, Gemini X, Flying Fox, Bilby & Flash) are 95.25 certified and floats were never certified for them.

 

Besides that you would be too heavy. There is an extra weight allowance for floatplanes but all the two seaters are pushing the Design MTOW as it is.

 

Having said all that the Poms did certify the T600F for floats and it apparently works very well. At least one school (in Ireland) is using them and I have heard no complaints. But it is a terribly expensive business to get that certification and the '600s have a chromolly cockpit cradle that helps an awful lot with the strength/weight combo.

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest TOSGcentral

Thank you kindly Ian, but I do have that one.

 

That is the only existing T600F (actually registered as a T600N because it can easily go back onto its trike undercarriage).

 

This was first registered as G-RIVR at the end of 1999 and has remained in the possession of the UK Thruster factory - who have evidently continued to develop it.

 

The aircraft has now had some conversions done to it. It is in full amphib format (gear down as shown in your pic). It appears that the original Full Lotus floats have been exchanged for some composite type material (to take the retracting mainwheels internally). At the time the photo was taken the water rudders had not yet been replaced.

 

Of additional interest is that this machine is the first Thruster to go "full flap" (as opposed to Flapperons) where the flap is independent of the ailerons and occupies the usual 1/3 inboard part of the wing and the ailerons the remainder.

 

This cannot be seen on this photo but the dual bellcrank drives are clearly visibile if you look closely.

 

Thanks muchly - now some of that real historic stuff please because the T600F is still part of the future.

 

I have two major stories on Float Thrusters and flying on floats in the next TOSG Bulletin out in a few weeks.

 

Aye

 

Tony

 

 

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Hi Ian, Tony.

 

Is the picture reversed on this by any chance? The pilots seat is empty, you can see the seatbelts! and the T600 decal seems to be backwards. Looks like the J2200 engine, it would need the extra grunt to unstick from the water.

 

By the by , we have an amphibious trike up here in Port Stephens, flown by an elderly German guy, the locals call him Mad Max, He's a nice guy to talk to though. He sometimes has to taxi in circles to get enough of a bump to unstick from the water.

 

I think I may have seen the fabled single seat T300 in the Sydney factory ~1993, it had a really odd looking pod on it, and it wasn't the best organised aircraft factory I have seen (thats why I completely stripped down my aircraft when I got it!). Sorry , no photos. I think mine was one of the first to be labelled as T500 and I think it had a dubious pedigree too.

 

Cheers, BobT

 

 

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Many thanks Don.Later the aircraft was cannablised to rebuild a TST E and the pod went on the blue T85BG. The entire T100 wings are on the TST E that was (up until recently anyway) owned by Bruce Barcham. I have been trying to get the wings for a long time as I have the entire T100 tail unit (that is quite different to standard).

 

Hey OK I am a Thruster crank! It keeps me off the streets!

 

Aye

 

Tony

Hi there Tony

 

I am new to the site and would like to let you know that i have bought

 

the tst e that Bruce Barcham owned.

 

The aircraft is located west of orange in central west new south wales.

 

Thanks Daniel

 

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780335371_ljdc005.jpg.b08114d2737110720b5cda0cf0f13722.jpg

 

 

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Guest TOSGcentral

A couple of replies here. Sorry I was called away for a couple of days on family business.

 

T-Bob. The picture may well be reversed but Thruster UK had a habit of sticking decals on back to front in the early days to avoid paying for mirror images. Flying from the right hand seat is not itself unusual.

 

The info on the "single seat T300" is very useful. It jogged my memory and I went back over prior records I have and may have missed something. It is quite possible that the aircraft was no longer flown after the factory move to Evans Head (which would account for the dearth of reports of it operating there). So it may have only flown in the Sydney area - but I do not know where they flew from.

 

As you pointed out the Thruster factory did have its "moments" after the 1990 collapse and getting reliable info proved impossible. I stumbled across this oddity in my research on the T100 history, examining the alleged "T200" etc.

 

Somebody has to have a photo of it somewhere and that is really all I need for the historical record.

 

Daniel: Thank you muchly for that my friend. I would appreciate you keeping in touch regarding where the aircraft is.

 

For your information: What you have is a cannabilisation of various aircraft - mainly a TST E fuselage and the T100 wings (do not know where the tail unit came from but it was not the T100 because I have that here except for the fin assembly).

 

The T100 was a stop gap marketing measure for Thruster to re-penetrate the single seat area with a 95.25 aircraft for under $10,000 that could be flown without the design and build it yourself bit. That is still a very valid market today but with inflation price increases of course.

 

Sales of the two seaters was drying up so the rationale was to use the basic T300 and just make it a single seater. To help allieviate costs the wing was taken back to TST design with 10 battens up and lower in each wing and the same (simple) wing tip. Skins were therefore no problem as Kev Mitchell had the computer patterns and could churn them out as needed.

 

The aircraft currently has (apparently) the original T100 wing skins on it - or at least the same colour pattern). They had trouble with weight and balance on the T100 resulting in the aircraft being retrofitted from R532 to R503 and the much larger tailplane and double wire bracing going on.

 

The arrangement with Bruce was that I would do a direct swap of a complete set of TST E/T500 wings in exchange for those originals. I have been slowly getting the bits together to do this. I would offer you the same deal if you are interested as I still intend to rebuild the T100 back to flying condition.

 

Aye

 

Tony

 

 

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Tony

 

Thanks very much for the reply,

 

Will keep in contact with you about this machine as i have heard that this aircraft is a "bitsa".This aircraft would be the best thruster that i have flown.

 

Thanks Daniel

 

 

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