I did this one when I was on a long-for-me-but-not-for-real-explorers exploration trip; I was really in the mood for some fightin' and was kicking myself for going on the trip, so I did the first scenario and this one to get it out of my system. It reminded me that I never flew the Viper when I was coming up in the game and also reminded me of what flying a non-engineered ship is like again (it was good to see how the other side lives after being engineered for so long).Haven't done this one since they revamped the challenge scenarios and forgot how short the new ones were; I was saving my MCs for the harder waves, only to discover there weren't any. Oh well, small MCs, at least without those flashy effects, are crap anyway.
When I got back home, I G5'd my first Viper and it's become one of my favourite ships and my go-to "mess around at a CG" ship. You called it re: the thrusters, I love 'em on that ship.