The introduction of Frankfurt Main’s Northwest runway heralded the arrival of a new type of fire engine. Tom Allett reports.
Regular readers of Airports International will know that Frankfurt Main opened its fourth runway, commonly referred to as its Northwest runway, on October 21 (see Airports International November 2011).
As is often the case, the new runway required an additional fire station to be built because ICAO’s regulations demand that airport fire crews must be able to reach an incident on any part of the runway within three minutes of it happening.
The new facility is the airport’s fourth fire station currently in use and is adjacent to the new landing strip. Construction work on the two-storey 43,056 sq ft (4,000m2) carbon-neutral building was completed on time and on budget and then it was a case of sourcing new fire trucks to equip the new station. After an EU-wide tender, a winner was chosen and in a change from recent fire tender purchases, the airport’s owner/operator Fraport decided to buy six new FLF Z8 XXL fire trucks from the Albert Ziegler GmbH & Co company. The FLF Z8 XXL is powered by two OM 502, Euro 5 emission standard V8 diesel engines which, combined, deliver 1,400hp (1,030kW) of power. Each vehicle has two automatic seven-speed Allison transmission boxes with retarders, allowing the approximately 49-tonne tender to accelerate from 0-50mph (0-80km/h) in 21 seconds. Its top speed is around 84mph (135km/h). The decision to have two transmission systems was taken in order to guarantee that continuous power could be delivered to the wheels at any stage during acceleration. A transfer gearbox is used to deliver power to the four axles and Allison’s German distributor, Diesel- und Getriebeservice GmbH, was responsible for integrating the transmission units.
Frankfurt Fire Service Manager, Rudolf Moses, commented: “During an emergency every second counts. That’s why quick acceleration is a must-have for us, which only fully automatic transmissions offer. They also provide another important advantage: the driver always has both hands on the steering wheel and can fully concentrate on driving without the distraction of gear shifting. That increases the safety during an operation enormously.”
Though optimised for driving on paved areas, these vehicles enjoy a high standard of off-road performance too, as they can be called to respond to emergencies outside of the airport as and when required.
This type of fire tender is reported to cost around €1.6 million (US$2m) each and three of the six on order are already in service.
Frankfurt’s FLF Z8 XXL Specification
|Model||FLF Z8 XXL|
|Engine||2 x OM502x|
|Wheels||2 x 515kW/700hp|
|Emission Standard||Euro 5|
|Bodywork||Single tyred Titan 818|
|Gross Vehicle Weight||107,800lbs/49,000kg|