NEW CRASH TRUCK TESTED ON IMPROVISED PLANE FIRE
Using Fog as Extinguishing Agent Fire Was Put Out in Six Seconds; Military Men Observe Performance
BEFORE a gathering of military men, representatives of aircraft factories, airlines, fire fighting experts and consuls of allied nations, a new airport crash truck, designed for the Army Air Forees put out a simulated airplane fire in six seconds at a demonstration at Santa Fe Springs, California, recently.
The crash truck was designed for the experimental laboratory of the Army Air Forces at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio. It is a product of the Yankee Motor Bodies Corporation of Los Angeles.
All types of fires and varying conditions were included in the demonstration. Many of the events were repeated several times at the request of the representatives in order that they could recheck certain features.
Gasoline Fires Extinguished
Gasoline and oil fires were used principally for they are regarded as about the most difficult to combat. The length fo time it took to extinguish these fires ranged from a low of six seconds to as long as seventeen seconds.
The procedure followed by this airport fire crash truck in battling aircraft fires starts with fighting the blazing plane with water fog through two nozzles mounted on the front bumper as the plane is approached. These nozzles will each discharge 45 gpm at 100 psi.
As it closes in on the burning plane, the mechanically operated outrigger nozzle mounted on the truck’s cab focuses fog down on the plane. This nozzle discharges 54 gpm at 100 psi. The rescue crew jump out of the truck and enter the plane throwing an enveloping cloud of water fog ahead to protect themselves and the plane’s crew until the rescue is completed. These 1/2-inch applicators discharge 15 gpm at 100 psi.
The maximum rated capacity of the pump is 250 psi, but the pressure commonly used is 150 to 200 psi. It is powered by a Ford-Mercury 100 h.p. auxiliary gasoline engine, which is used so that the pump can be operated while apparatus is in motion.
To meet any emergency that may arise, the crash truck is fully equipped with such things as knives with serrated edges to release the pilot, gas masks, burn spray kit, life belts, inhalator, metal snips, forcible entry tool, heavy duty axe, electric cable cutters, metal cutting saw, electric cap lamps, fire blankets, lubber blankets, stretchers, floodlights, and many other emergency and life saving equipment.
The airport crash truck may be used anywhere pilots and planes are operating for it is designed to maintain its 1,200 gallons of water at 40 degrees temperature at 40 degrees below zero.
Serving Aircraft Industry
Among the aircraft manufacturers using these fire and crash trucks to protect their pilots, planes and equipment are Douglas, Vega, Consolidated and North American.
The truck shown has already been used for a real fire. A four-motored bomber approaching the field radioed that a fire had begun around gasoline tanks in the right wing. The crash truck stood by, met it at the end of its landing roll and extinguished the flames in approximately two minutes, with minor damage to the airplane.
Another time an experimental model caught fire at this field and also was saved with negligible damage. The savings was especially noteworthy in this instance, because of the cost of rebuilding a hand-made experimental design is, of course, many times the cost of a production line airplane.