The MRCU’s distinctive red and white aircraft are hard to miss, especially when one’s roaring overhead at 145 miles per hour, at an altitude of just 80 feet.
Recently, one of the two iconic MRCU planes underwent an avionics upgrade, and all the intricate work was done in-house.
Since the early 1970’s the MRCU has taken the fight against mosquitoes to the skies.
In recent years, the distinctive red and white Thrush 550-P’s have become a familiar sight in Cayman, but it takes skill to keep them running in tip-top shape.
“We decided it was time for an upgrade because the existing guidance systems weren’t being supported anymore, so we decided to get new systems,” said MRCU Maintenance and Engineering Manager Jeff Marshall.
Mr. Marshall told Cayman 27 he recently completed a seven month project, upgrading one of the planes’ avionics systems.
“Rather than do a patchwork panel, I just decided to start from scratch,” said Mr. Marshall.
The project required a lot of ingenuity, but Mr. Marshall took steps to ‘work smarter, not harder’.
“There was like I said a lot of fabrication involved, so whenever I made something for this I made two, so that the next one should take about half as long, I’m hoping,” said Mr. Marshall.
Old-school analog gauges are out, replaced with something more modern.
“This is the engine instrument panel, it’s what you call an MVP-50T by Electronics International,” said Mr. Marshall.
For pilots, the upgrade meant saying goodbye to the old ‘Wingman’ guidance system, but contract pilot Ben Tresidder told Cayman 27 getting used to the new ‘sat-lock’ system has been a breeze.
“We now have the capability to basically fly more accurately, and we also have the ability to take the information from the flight and produce it on flight records, and it’s in much more detail now,” said Mr. Tresidder.
Mr. Marshall said when the mosquito season is over. He will start work on giving the MRCU’s second plane the same upgrade.