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.
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.
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.
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.
Attached to each boom is a bright light for night operations.
Through these tubes the vehicles can spray foam directly onto the ground to fight fuel fires on an airport runway.
Here's a boom in action on an older vehicle.
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.
Other hoses can be attached to these pipes in a compartment behind a rollable door.
Fans like this are for cooling the smoking brakes of an aircraft.
The cab is huge in its own right. It takes a few steps to climb aboard.
There are fewer controls inside than you might expect, though. The things that look like joystick control the firefighting booms.
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.
I didn't catch what this screen does, but it looks cool.
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.
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.
Volunteers were asked to lay on the apron and act as injured passengers.
Makeup was used to simulate injuries.
Simulated smoke billowed from inside the aircraft.
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.