Aircraft Builder Gets Crash Truck
Pratt & Whitney Aircraft division of United Aircraft Corporation has recently acquired a new rescue and fire fighting truck with which the company’s firefighters can apply the latest technique of dealing with large gasoline fires such as those arising from aircraft accidents.
The new truck was built to P&WA’s specifications, as laid down by United Aircraft’s fire marshal, Henry A. Earsy, and P&WA’s fire chief, C. H. Malone. These called for a truck suited to the requirements of operators of private airports such as UAC’s Rentschler Field, or small local airports.
The latest technique for fighting aircraft fires calls for laying down a foamblanketed path through the fire, by which the rescue squad can approach the burning plane, get the passengers and crew out quickly and carry them to safety while the rest of the fire is still blazing. When the rescue is complete, the fire-fighters then deal with the rest of the flames.
Pratt & Whitney Aircraft, in putting the new truck into service, has worked out a number of new refinements of this technique as developed from the experience of a program of training drills. In practice, rescues of an asbestos dummy from the cockpit of a battered old bomber fuselage have been made by P&WA’s fire-fighters in a matter of seconds.
The new truck incorporates the latest design of fog-foam equipment. It carries a 1,000-gallon water tank and 110 gallons of double-strength foam-producing chemical. With this amount of water, a total of 9,000 gallons of foam can be generated. When required, an additional 1,000 gallons of water supplied by a “nurse” truck can be utilized to produce another 9,000 gallons of foam.
Feature of the truck is that it has a separate engine to drive the fire-pump, rather than using a power take-off from the truck’s engine. This enables the truck to remain mobile while pumping, so that it can lay down a foam-blanketed path right up to the blazing aircraft.
The truck has a large battery of nozzles. Two are mounted in turrets on the roof of the cab, three are fitted to the front bumper of the truck, and two smaller ones are located underneath the chassis. Two additional 150-foot oneinch hand-lines, one on each side of the truck, complete the array. All of these nozzles initially are used to lay down a smothering blanket of foam which clears a safe path through the flames so that the truck and the rescue crew can approach close to the damaged aircraft and make the rescue. The nozzles in the turrets and the hand-lines are multipurpose, and can deliver fog-foam, a straight stream of foam, water-fog, or a straight stream of water, as required, in the judgment of the Officer-inCharge. The nozzles on the bumper and underneath the chassis can deliver either fog-foam or water-fog.