Demonstration of amphibious vehicle at LEASA

Debbie Rolen Staff Writer

September 11, 2013

Members of the board of directors for the Logan Emergency Services and W.Va. Delegates Rupie Phillips and Ted Tomblin were on hand to witness the demonstration of an emergency response amphibious vehicle at the Logan Emergency Services Authority Base of Operations. LEASA is expecting delivery of one of the vehicles in about two weeks.

“We are excited about it,” said LEASA Executive Director Roger Bryant, “The vehicle is going to stay on the trailer all the time, ready to go. I can think of all kinds of instances over the years that it would have been good to have one of these vehicles. There’s always more than one way to do anything and we always figure out a way to get the job done, but this will make it a lot easier.”

Hydratrek representative Bob Phillips gave an overview of the vehicle, “The D2488B unit is the biggest and most aggressive Hydratrek. The vehicle weighs 5,700 pounds dry weight. It’s all aluminum except for the engine, the tires and the bronze propellers. The hull is 3/16 inch reinforced aluminum, the top is 1/8 inch thick. This is a hollow-seal hull we inject with foam before final assembly to enhance the buoyancy and the stability of the vehicle. Because of the stability of the vehicle, you can get out and work on the gunnells of the vehicle and use them as a working platform. We have launched rescue divers and search and rescue personnel from the sides of this vehicle. It is very stable in the water. It has 24-inch tracks.”

Powered by a 85HP Kubota turbo-diesel engine and hydrostatic wheel motors, the D2488B unit has plenty of torque for hauling or pulling big loads up to 8,000 pounds. Payload on land is 3,000; payload in the water is 1,600.This gives it the ability to carry a substantial amount of either personnel, equipment or supplies on either land or water.

Like all the Hydratrek vehicles, it is an amphibious ATV designed for wetlands, flood plains, and swamp conditions. The 24” over-the-tire (OTT) rubber track system enables the unit to achieve a ground pressure rating of 1.0 lb. per square inch. The vehicle can be changed between using the tracks or propellers using a switch on the dashboard and can be done seamlessly on the fly.

“There is virtually no terrain this vehicle won’t go through,” said Phillips.

A new feature in 2012 is the available option for a planetary drive system. The planetary drives produce a much higher level of torque and offers two speed capabilities: High and Low range. For the most demanding environments and conditions, the planetary drive is a viable solution for the D2488B Hydratrek.

Phillips went on to say, “It is very like running a Bobcat, with a zero turn radius—it actually can turn in it’s own footprint.”

Each vehicle is built and configures to fit the customer’s needs. The vehicle for LEASA with have a full cab, it will be equipped with spine boards, racks and ladders. The cost for a vehicle of this type is approximately $100,000.

This vehicle will allow using the Guyandotte River for travel to any blocked area and the tracks would allow it to pull right up the river bank and then travel on to a patient. This vehicle will allow for both the quickest and safest access to blocked areas.

Mr. Phillips had a smaller version of the vehicle he used to take several members of the LEASA team, the board of directors and the Logan Banner on a short trip on the Guyandotte to demonstrate the vehicle’s abilities.

For more information, visit hydratrek.com.