X

Climb inside Oakland Airport's massive new fire trucks

The state-of-the-art trucks are specially designed to fight airplane fires. As the airport conducted an emergency drill, CNET took a closer look.

Kent_German.jpg
Kent_German.jpg

Kent German

See full bio

oakland-airport-firetruck-1
1 of 20 Kent German/CNET

The Port of Oakland is the proud owner of two new Rosenbauer Panther AFF vehicles. Designed in Austria and built in Minnesota, the vehicles are specifically designed to fight aircraft fires (AFF stands for Aircraft Fire Fighting). They'll be based at the Oakland Fire Department's station at Oakland International Airport.

oakland-airport-firetruck-10
2 of 20 Kent German/CNET

Each vehicle is utterly massive, measuring 39 feet long, 12 feet high and 10 feet wide. When empty, each vehicle weighs 44,520 pounds or 22 tons. Fully loaded, they're 85,000 pounds or 43 tons. Each truck has a 750-horsepower diesel engine and an acceleration of zero to 50mph in 35 seconds. Together, the two vehicles cost $1.4 million.

oakland-airport-firetruck-5
3 of 20 Kent German/CNET

There are two main booms for spraying water and foam, both of which are operated from inside the cab. One is on the front of the vehicle and can extend outward. 

oakland-airport-firetruck-6
4 of 20 Kent German/CNET

The other is up top and can extend high above the vehicle to reach the largest aircraft. Each vehicle holds 3,170 gallons of water and 422 gallons of foam.

oakland-airport-firetruck-12
5 of 20 Kent German/CNET

Attached to each boom is a bright light for night operations.

oakland-airport-firetruck-11
6 of 20 Kent German/CNET

Through these tubes the vehicles can spray foam directly onto the ground to fight fuel fires on an airport runway.

oakland-airport-firetruck-14
7 of 20 Kent German/CNET

Here's a boom in action on an older vehicle.

oakland-airport-firetruck-9
8 of 20 Kent German/CNET

Though the crews can fight fires without leaving the vehicles by operating the booms, they'll use a standard fire hose if they have to enter a burning aircraft.

oakland-airport-firetruck-2
9 of 20 Kent German/CNET

Other hoses can be attached to these pipes in a compartment behind a rollable door.

oakland-airport-firetruck-3
10 of 20 Kent German/CNET

Fans like this are for cooling the smoking brakes of an aircraft.

oakland-airport-firetruck-7
11 of 20 Kent German/CNET

The cab is huge in its own right. It takes a few steps to climb aboard.

oakland-airport-firetruck-4
12 of 20 Kent German/CNET

There are fewer controls inside than you might expect, though. The things that look like joystick control the firefighting booms.

oakland-airport-firetruck-15
13 of 20 Kent German/CNET

The cabin has an expansive view on three sides and above. Just below the windscreen are monitors that show a feed from camera on top of the vehicle.

oakland-airport-firetruck-8
14 of 20 Kent German/CNET

I didn't catch what this screen does, but it looks cool.

oakland-airport-firetruck-13
15 of 20 Kent German/CNET

Unlike a city fire truck, the only ladder is one on the rear of the vehicle that lets you climb up top. The open panels hide storage areas for equipment.

oakland-airport-727-1
16 of 20 Kent German/CNET

After displaying the vehicles, the fire department, medical teams and Red Cross held a simulated aircraft disaster using an old FedEx Boeing 727. Held every year, the exercise is designed to test emergency procedures. 

The new vehicles played along, but didn't operate their firefighting equipment.

oakland-airport-rescue-demo-4
17 of 20 Kent German/CNET

Volunteers were asked to lay on the apron and act as injured passengers.

oakland-airport-rescue-demo-1
18 of 20 Kent German/CNET

Makeup was used to simulate injuries.

oakland-airport-rescue-demo-2
19 of 20 Kent German/CNET

Simulated smoke billowed from inside the aircraft.

oakland-airport-727-2
20 of 20 Kent German/CNET

The 727's integrated air stairs are useful for a few things: letting firefighters enter the airliner without any ground equipment, boarding passengers at undeveloped airports and, if you're D.B. Cooper, parachuting in midflight.

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

93 Photos
2023 Honda CR-V Is Coming This Summer

More Galleries

2023 Honda CR-V Is Coming This Summer

4 Photos
Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

More Galleries

Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

80 Photos
The 40 Best Games on Nintendo Switch

More Galleries

The 40 Best Games on Nintendo Switch

41 Photos
Rolls-Royce's Second Boat Tail Is Brown and Beautiful

More Galleries

Rolls-Royce's Second Boat Tail Is Brown and Beautiful

62 Photos
2023 Genesis GV60 Is a Futuristic EV

More Galleries

2023 Genesis GV60 Is a Futuristic EV

53 Photos
'Stranger Things' Stars Now and Then: Wow, They've Really Grown Up

More Galleries

'Stranger Things' Stars Now and Then: Wow, They've Really Grown Up

40 Photos