The Air Tractor AT-802 is a versatile, lightweight aircraft originally developed for the agricultural marketplace. The company was founded in 1978 and makes its headquarters out of Olney, Texas (USA). Its initial aircraft product became the AT-300 created from the 1950s "Ayres Thrush" monoplane of similar form and function. The AT-802 model appeared in 1990 through a first-flight and maintains an active existence in the air today (2017) where its roles have since been broadened to include other applications in such sectors as military and government security.
The aircraft has a conventional arrangement though something of an ungainly appearance at first glance. The engine is situated in the nose in the usual way with the cockpit set over midships and the tail unit at its expected position to the rear. The tail has a single vertical fin and low-set horizontal planes with cut-off tips. The wing mainplanes are set slightly forward of midships and are straight in their general shape and also with clipped tips. The undercarriage is fixed (tail-dragger) and wheeled for land-based usage though a version exists with floats that allows for waterborne take-offs and landings.
The pilot's position is one that sees him sit near the center mass of his aircraft in an elevated position viewing the action over the nose and wings. The canopy is heavily framed by modern standards and a second crewman's seat is positioned just aft of the pilot's. The cockpit protrudes some away from the fuselage dorsal spine giving the aircraft a most unique appearance.
Internally, the aircraft is equipped with a "hopper", a pyramidal-shaped assembly, that is used to hold (and ultimately disperse) chemicals into the air / onto the ground. The hopper is located between the engine and cockpit at front and the aircraft carries a second such unit in a belly position. This addition is what allows the AT-802 to participate in agricultural and fire-fighting flights.
The AT-802 comes in two basic fuselage forms, the standard tandem two-seater AT-802 and the AT-802A single-seater. The AT-802F (also AT-802AF) are aerial firefighting variants equipped with special mission equipment for the given role and the "Fire Boss" is an AT-802F offshoot that features floats for amphibious operations.
As designed, the aircraft has an overall length of 36 feet with a wingspan reaching 59.2 feet. Its height is 12.8 feet. Empty weight is 6,500lb against an MTOW of 16,000lb and power is served through a single Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67AG turboprop unit situated at the nose. This installation produces 1,350 horsepower on take-off and gives the aircraft a cruising speed of 220 miles per hour with a range out to 800 miles. Its listed service ceiling is 25,000 feet and rate-of-climb is 850 feet-per-minute.
The AT-802U is a militarized form of the AT-802 and features seating for a crew of two in tandem. The aircraft is modified to carry both special mission equipment and ordnance as requirements call for. It also sports armor protection for its crew and its vital flight systems alike. The AT-802U forms the basis for the AT-802L "Longsword" scout and light-attack platform. This model was modified through a joint partnership with equipment-maker L3 Technologies. It is marketed as the OA-8 "Longsword" in the Asia-Pacific market.
The IOMAX Archangel (detailed elsewhere on this site) is another military-minded product in the AT-802 mold but it is based on the Thrush S2R-660 model series. It is classified as a counter-insurgency aircraft and therefore is cleared to carry bombs, rockets, armament pods and missiles for the role. A sensor pod is affixed to the ventral spine of the aircraft. It is currently being marketed to potential buyers.
Another AT-802U offshoot is the "T-Bird" (detailed elsewhere on this site) which is a militarized form modified by Bulgarian-based LASA Engineering. This offering is also billed as a counter-insurgency platform and is actively seeking customers. It flies with a General Electric H80 turboprop instead of the usual Pratt & Whitney Canada installation.
The AT-802 enjoys service in military, government and private markets in countries across the globe including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Israel, Italy, Spain, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates to name a few (see full operators list below). For the Egyptians, the type serves in the Close-Air Support (CAS) / light strike role with the Egyptian Air Force.
May 2021 - AirTractor, in partnership with L3Harris, has launched the all-new AT-802U "Sky Warden" variant covering the light attack role.
Argentina; Brazil; Burkina Faso; Canada; Chile; Croatia; Egypt; Gambia; Indonesia; Israel; Italy; Jordan; Kenya; Macedonia; Spain; United Arab Emirates; United States; Yemen
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Close-Air Support (CAS)
Developed to operate in close proximity to active ground elements by way of a broad array of air-to-ground ordnance and munitions options.
✓Maritime / Navy
Land-based or shipborne capability for operating over-water in various maritime-related roles while supported by allied naval surface elements.
Developed ability to be used as a dedicated trainer for student pilots (typically under the supervision of an instructor).
35.9 ft (10.95 m)
59.2 ft (18.05 m)
12.8 ft (3.90 m)
6,614 lb (3,000 kg)
16,006 lb (7,260 kg)
+9,392 lb (+4,260 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Air Tractor AT-802 production variant)
1 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A=67AG turboprop engine developing 1,350 horsepower and driving a five-bladed propeller at the nose.
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