This is one of the most extraordinary fire engines in the world and enjoys cult status not only in the USA. We are talking about the Tiller ladder, a fully automated hydraulic aerial ladder on a semi-articulated trailer, which, despite its considerable length, is surprisingly maneuverable and agile. In Ventura County, California, one of these has been in use for some time!
It is a breathtaking sight to encounter a Tiller ladder with a length of up to 20 meters when out on a deployment. At the front a tractor, at the rear a tiller to control the rear axle, and, in between, on a semi-articulated trailer, a four-part ladder set with a minimum rescue reach of 30 m.
A Tiller ladder is always driven by two people, who are in constant contact via a radio system. The driver steers the front wheels, the tillerman the rear wheels. In a curve, the driver steers in one direction and the tillerman in the other, thus determining the radius that the trailer navigates.
The members of these units are responsible for rescue operations and technical assistance within the US fire service, from opening doors to traffic accidents through animal and human rescue from tall buildings to disaster operations. They are aerial ladder specialists and have often completed several additional courses, such as those for medical first responders or search and rescue operations.
The superstructure is either from RSD or RMN, the chassis from RBM, the ladder set from RNE, and on request the extinguishing technology from the Rosenbauer Group. And thus, the complete Tiller ladder is obtained from a single source.