Oshkosh 4×4 Global Striker Airport Fire Truck
The Vehicle: Oshkosh 4×4 Global Striker Airport Fire Truck.
The Owner: Rochester Airport Company.
Cost: $830,000 plus an additional $65,000 in fire equipment.
Length: 35-1/2 feet.
Weight: 61,000 lbs.
Engine: Deutz TCD 697 HP 16.0 V8 with 1,950 ft/lbs of torque at 1400 rpm.
Top Speed: 70 mph.
Acceleration: 0-50 mph in less than 25 seconds.
MPG: “Depends on how much fire-fighting activities we’re conducting versus driving alone, as the pump uses the same engine,” says Troy Reed, Rochester International Airport’s fire chief.
Cab Space: 275 cubic feet.
Fire Suppression Capabilities: 1,500 gallons of water in addition to 210 gallons of fire-suppressing foam and dry chemicals.
Overview: While the Global Striker can’t actually take off from the runway, driving from its center-positioned seat feels a little like how Reed imagines flying a fighter jet must feel. The Striker, he says, feels “futuristic” because of its large windshield and high-tech equipment. The truck is equipped with three cameras: one to assist in backing up, a color camera on the end of its boom to assist in fighting fires, and a thermal imager to show the hotspots in a fire.
Though the truck’s cockpit can hold five passengers, Reed says the truck can be staffed by a single driver. It has superb off-roading capabilities and can “drive on a 30-degree side slope plus a 50-percent grade ascending or descending.” The Striker sports a “bumper turret” and a “roof turret”—giant water guns at the front and top of the truck controlled from inside with electric joysticks. The roof turret can spray 750 gallons of water per minute.
The Striker made a guest appearance at the Rochester Fire Department’s 150th-anniversary celebration event this past summer. “It was a great event to celebrate our mutual aid partner, City of Rochester Fire Department,” says Reed. “The public got to see first-hand the big difference between a city firetruck and an airport firetruck.”
Grove GMK 5165-2 Crane
The Vehicle: Grove GMK 5165-2 Crane.
The Owner: Hawk and Son’s Commercial & Industrial Construction.
Cost: $1.7 million.
Length: 71 feet long (in transport mode).
Weight: 135,000 lbs.
Engine: 600hp engine (as well as a smaller secondary engine used once the crane is on location with tires off the ground).
Top Speed: 53 mph. “That is fast enough because it’s top heavy and all the wheels steer,” says Brandon Goranson, a Hawk And Son’s Crane operator and safety director.
Lift Capacity: 330,000 lbs.
Lift Height: 310 feet.
Load Reach: 220 feet. (At this distance, the crane could still pick up a small car.)
MPG: 1-2 mpg.
Overview: The giant, giraffe-like, 165-ton German-built crane is so heavy that it requires two semis to haul an additional 88,400 lbs of counter weights to balance the crane for on-site lifting jobs. The crane was transported by ship to the U.S. from Germany. It requires a minimum of two operators to get it set up, but frequently needs three or more operators to set up on tough jobs.
“Some job sites can be difficult to get into, so this crane has the ability to have all the axles steer individually, allowing it to crab into position or turn almost as sharp as a regular pickup,” says Goranson. When you drive the top-heavy crane, he says, “you feel like you’re driving a boat.”
“Some job sites are not level so we have the ability to raise or lower the suspension front to back or side to side to help keep the crane stable. Once the crane is set up on outriggers, tires off the ground, and the counter weights are on, we can start the smaller second engine and raise the boom in the air,” says Goranson. The crane is usually operated by Wade Rommel. While each job has its own unique challenges, Rommel thinks some of the most nerve-racking jobs are when the crane sets up on residential streets and reaches over the tops of houses to remove backyard trees. It would certainly be a shock to look out your second story window and see the crane reaching over your house. The 160-ton crane attracts its own paparazzi: “We often see people stop and point at the top of the boom when we are picking different loads off of the tall buildings,” says Goranson.
Air Ranger American Airboat
The Vehicle: Air Ranger American Airboat.
The Owner: The Goodhue County Sheriff’s Department as part of the Recreational Four Seasons Patrol.
Cost: $48,465 (funded by a federal Boating Safety Grant in 2009).
Application: The boat is a power performance boat used to get over submerged obstructions and through ice. It can glide across ice and snow and can be operated on extremely shallow water or deep water.
Engine: Pleasure Craft Marine 8.1 496 C.I 450hp fuel injected Levitator Airboat Engine.
Top Speed: 40 mph (in service with the Goodhue Sheriff’s Department).
Fuel: The airboat has a 40-gallon tank. It’s not fuel efficient, and is usually run only a few hours at a time.
Staffing: The airboat can be operated by one person. In rescue situations, two to three officers staff the Air Ranger.
Overview: The Air Ranger is a jack-of-all-trades capable of moving over a variety of surfaces, including mud flats, open water, and ice. It can even run from dry ground onto water. Operating the Air Ranger takes finesse because it has no brakes, so the craft’s pilot needs to look ahead for approaching obstructions.
Sgt. Scott Powers says the Air Ranger came in handy when President Obama spoke in Cannon Falls in 2011: “A security area was set up on the Cannon River with airboats. We apprehended a person who was floating down the river on a log attempting to get closer to see the president who was speaking at a local park … The only way to secure the river because of how shallow it was with airboats and not a traditional boat.”
The Air Ranger is more often involved in rescues. Regionally, this has included rescuing duck hunters in overturned boats, rescuing people during floods, and on-ice rescues. The Air Ranger is particularly useful on the ice. In the last five years, it has responded to 15 vehicles that have fallen through Lake Pepin’s ice.
According to Sgt. Powers, the Air Ranger is an essential part of the sheriff’s fleet: “It is one of the most valuable boats we have for rescues and to respond to remote areas a traditional boat won’t get to.”
2006 Century 1060 60-ton Rotator Wrecker
The Vehicle: 2006 Century 1060 60-ton Rotator Wrecker.
The Owner: Pulver Motor Services, LLC.
Cost: $550,000 in 2010.
Weight: 68,000 lbs.
Engine: 600hp Cat Engine.
Top Speed: “The truck is capable of reaching speeds around 100 mph,” says Sam Schafer, office manager at Pulver Motor Services.
MPG: 6 mpg.
Cab Type: Peterbilt.
Overview: What do you do when a big truck gets stuck? Call a bigger truck—or at least a stronger one—to pull it out. A super-sized tow truck, the Century 1060 60-ton Rotator, is that bigger, stronger truck. Aptly named after its boom, which has the capacity to turn 360 degrees, the Century 1060 is a real work horse that has the flexibility to extract other huge trucks out of the stickiest situations.
Schafer says that the first time Pulver used the truck in 2010, they realized just how powerful the Century 1060’s winch could be. “We were lifting a loaded semi trailer, stuck and leaning,” he says. “We were pulling so hard, and it was so heavy, that the front end of our truck [the Century 1060] was three feet off the ground.” Recently, the 1060’s pulling power was deployed to retrieve a car from Mayowood Road. Schafer says the Century 1060 was the perfect tool to use when “a car rolled over off a very steep incline.”
Pulver’s motto is “Big or small, we tow ‘em all.” With the Century 1060, Pulver has the “big” well-covered—and there’s no doubt that this truck can pull its own weight.
MiG 21 F-13 Czech Fighter Jet
The Vehicle: MiG 21 F-13 Czech Fighter Jet.
The Owner: Ken Chase, who stores the MiG at Rochester International Airport.
The Year: 1972.
The Birthplace: The MiG 21 was built by Aero in Vovochody, Czech Republic.
Cost: “More than a small house, not as much as a big house.”
Length: Just under 50 feet.
Weight: 11,700 lbs., empty.
Wingspan: Under 24 feet.
Engine: Tumanski R-13, developing 13,200 foot lbs. of thrust.
Top Speed: Mach 2.1, or around 1,300 mph.
Overview: Owner Ken Chase has been involved in aviation for 45 years—an interest that he describes as “more of a sickness” than a hobby. The former Air Force pilot—who has been an instructor for both Northwest and Delta Airlines—has flown both L-29 and L-39 Eastern Bloc jet aircraft trainers. “I have also flown high-speed supersonic aircraft T-38A Talon, and T-38B Fighter Lead in trainer,” Chase says. “And I have heavy aircraft time in the B-52 G and H variants.”
But how did he come to own a MiG? After his Air Force career, Chase worked with an individual who imported Eastern Bloc aircraft and resold them to private owners. “I heard of MiGs being imported,” says Chase. “A few were imported in the ‘90s, and mine came in the country with two others. One [of the other two] is undergoing a restoration in California. The other is in Aurora, Oregon.” The third, of course—Chase’s—is out at Rochester International Airport. “I was the first one on my block with one,” Chase says.
The big question, of course, is this: Has Chase flown the MiG? Not yet. For one, it’s cost prohibitive. Jet A fuel costs are near $8 a gallon. For another, it still has a few minor maintenance issues to rectify. Chase is performing the maintenance himself. “Getting up air-ready was a monumental task in the beginning,” he says. “But not much is required right now. With a current annual [inspection], it will be ready to go.”
MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle) Caiman
The Vehicle: MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle) Caiman.
The Owner: The MRAP Caiman is on loan to the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office through the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office. (“Law enforcement agencies that receive equipment from the military are responsible for the costs associated with care and maintenance. The military can request their equipment back at any time,” says Jens Dammen, a sargent with the Olmsted County Sheriff’s office, who has driven the MRAP.
Cost: $412,000 in federal government production costs (though Olmsted County paid only $3,500 to have the vehicle transported from the southern United States).
Length: 25 feet.
Weight: 37,000 lbs.
Engine: CAT C7 6 cylinder.
Top Speed: 73 mph.
Acceleration: Normal highway speeds.
MPG: Approximately 5 mpg.
Overview: The desert tan MRAP Caiman has the word “Sheriff” painted on its side, but it’s the kind of vehicle you don’t want to meet in a dark alley. Essentially, it’s an armored semi. While the MRAP doesn’t include any armaments, its massive size has a strong psychological impact. Together, the MRAP’s driver and passenger side doors weigh about 1,400 pounds. Its wheels are easily as tall as many civilian cars, and it can transport at least 10 people. “It’s a very large, heavy vehicle,” says Sgt. Dammen. “The vehicle is quite different to drive than our other law enforcement vehicles. This vehicle is not a performance vehicle.”
The MRAP is designed to safely transport law enforcement personnel into high-risk situations, and provide them with protection from high-powered weapons. “Due to the size of the MRAP, it is a mission-specific vehicle. It isn’t an ideal armored vehicle for law enforcement functions, but it fills a role for specific needs and adds a high level of protection to work out of,” says Sgt. Dammen. “The MRAP has provided us the opportunity to get closer to an incident scene, such as a rural residence where a subject may be armed with a high-powered rifle.”
The MRAP also has the potential to rescue civilians from “flood or tornado-ravaged” areas. The MRAP has not been used on a law enforcement call since 2014. Despite that, Sgt. Dammen says he’s happy that his department has the MRAP: “We are grateful to have such a vehicle free of charge.”