Firebird Can Soar 125 Feet in the Air

Firebird Can Soar 125 Feet in the Air

Birdlike, the Philadelphia Fire Department's new Calavar Firebird platform hovers 67 feet out from the center of the turntable with both booms at 90 degrees. Chrome-plated rollers contribute to the smoothness of the telescoping of each boom. Interlocks prevent boom operation until the outriggers are locked in position. A limit switch prevents operation of the upper boom until the lower boom has been raised 45 degrees.Platform is hydraulically leveled automatically. The basket can turn 45 degrees to either side, has a 1,000-gpm deck pipe and can carry 1,000 pounds. Two compressed breathing air lines run to the platform. Outriggers, ladder rack and engine controls are over the rear step, below. The portable console is below the large tachometer and water gage. Two gated water inlets are just above the step.Ladder racks on each side of the apparatus make a quarter turn hydraulically for easy removal of ladders over rollers. Built-in locks hold 208 feet of ladders securely in a vertical position for travel. The outriggers have a spread of 20 1/2 feet. Each outrigger has a positive locking system and can be adjusted separately for precise leveling of the chassis with the aid of a spirit level over the rear step.

Associate Editor

Tires off ground, the Firebird is supported entirely by two hydraulic outriggers on each side, which swing 90 degrees out from the side of the apparatus, and one hydraulic jack in the front. The 52,000-pound apparatus has an overall length of 41 feet, 10 inches, is 11 feet, 6 inches high and has a 210-inch wheelbase. It has a 350-hp diesel engine and an automatic transmission.Operating controls for the booms are in a portable console, left, that can be removed from the rear step and carried 50 feet from the apparatus. The fully servoed electro-hydraulic controls are duplicated in the basket, above. Operation of a switch on the portable console makes it the master control. Operating levers automatically return to neutral. An intercom phone on the side of the console is connected to one on the platform.

The Firebird, a 125-foot elevating platform, is not only the newest apparatus in the Philadelphia Fire Department, but also the newest type of aerial apparatus in the fire service. It was made by the Calavar Corporation, Santa Fe Springs, Calif., which builds similar equipment for servicing aircraft.

What makes this unit so different is that each of the articulated booms also telescopes. This capability provides a maximum reach of 67 feet from the center of the turntable on a 23-foot vertical plane by extending the lower boom. The basket can be lowered 24 feet below grade.

A telescoping aluminum water pipe with a minimum internal diameter of 4 inches services a 1,000-gpm deck pipe in the basket. In flow tests made in Philadelphia, 200 to 230 psi at the gated double intake provided 1,000 gpm through a 2-inch tip with the basket at 85, 110 and 125 feet.

Broad expanse of the outrigger system can be seen in this view from the platform of the Firebird. The turntable can rotate 180 degrees left or right and automatically stops when the basket is over the apparatus cab, making a total rotation of 360 degrees.
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