Interview with Dipl. Ing. Michael Kaiser

Product Manager for Airport Vehicles at Rosenbauer

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Interview mit DI Michael Kaiser

Product Manager Airport Vehicles bei Rosenbauer

Mr. Kaiser, as Product Manager for Airport Vehicles, you are the airport expert at Rosenbauer. What is your most memorable experience with a PANTHER at an airport?

Without a doubt, training with the PANTHER on site. How to best support airport emergency crews can only be experienced live. During the development of the new PANTHER, we had the opportunity to take part in a week-long “Fire Training,” an intro course of sorts for airport fire departments, at Leipzig Airport. It was interesting and also impressive to see how quickly things need to get done in an emergency. The internationally applicable ICAO standard specifies that airport fire departments must be able to reach every point of the airport and start the extinguishing procedure within two to three minutes of an alarm. Around the clock. Every second counts – including waking up in the middle of the night and strapping on boots, to a quick deployment with the PANTHER in the direction of the scene. The training in Leipzig allowed us to experience what it is like when everything has to be perfect and there is no time to think about which button needs to be pressed or which switch needs to be flipped. These impressions were fundamental in the development of the new PANTHER.

How do the requirements for the new PANTHER differ from airport to airport?

The differences are primarily evident in the deployment strategies of the fire departments. This may affect the vehicle configuration with regard to the extinguishing agent. Whether the PANTHER has an on-board CO2 extinguishing system or not and the amount of powder and equipment that needs to be transported on the vehicle are decisive factors. Even the configuration of the driving cab revolves around the deployment strategy. Some airport fire departments have a single person operate the PANTHER, for example, from driving to the scene all the way through to extinguishing. At other airports, however, the PANTHER needs to accommodate three or four firefighters in order to be able to initiate an effective fire attack inside an airplane. The various strategies affect the PANTHER, because a largely uniform basic vehicle model must be able to accommodate all requirements stemming from customer-specific adaptations.

Which aspect of the new PANTHER makes you especially proud?

First and foremost, I am proud of how this new vehicle was developed. With the involvement of customers and participation from practically the entire Rosenbauer team. This is how we were able to ensure that all potential requirements have truly been accounted for. The driving cab certainly reflects this the most. The tidy and small control panel allows for the intuitive operation of the PANTHER while maintaining an optimal view in nearly all directions. The completely redesigned spatial concept with the new interior design feels rather “roomy.” Sitting in a new PANTHER is always such a great feeling, almost like you’re driving a cross between a truck and a helicopter.

What are the airport fire departments saying about the new PANTHER?

The feedback we have received so far on the new PANTHER is very positive and sometimes even extremely enthusiastic. The airport fire departments feel that their general concerns and desires that have arisen in recent years, as well as the direct feedback they have provided to Rosenbauer, has been completely taken into account. From their point of view, the PANTHER is not a vehicle that has been adapted to airport emergencies, but rather, it is an aircraft rescue and fire fighting vehicle that has been customized to the needs of airport fire departments. Setting the standard for a new generation of aircraft rescue and fire fighting vehicles through improvements and innovations.