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Bow Before the Oshkosh H-Series

March 17th, 2005 Leave a comment Go to comments

Car and Driver Magazine : Oshkosh H-series High-Speed Snow Blower : April 2005

NTSB Accident Report: Denver January 2005

Oshkosh trucks official site

Here in Michigan we have a healthy respect for snow. We get a lot of it, and the state of Michigan has huge plows on standby waiting for the inevitable times they are needed. If you make it out early enough in the morning after a large snowfall you can literally see fleets of privately owned plows getting off the highway heading for their next job.

But what do you do when you have five 12,000-foot-long, 150-foot-wide runways and one huge 16,000-foot-by-200-foot runway, and oh yeah, you’re in DENVER? Logistically this works out to 12.2 million square feet, or over 280 acres of land.

If you’ve ever seen a large metropolitan or airport emergency vehicle chances are it’s made by Oshkosh (check out their official site link above to see what I mean). And when they set out to engineer a snowplow they did it in their own characteristic fashion.

The Oshkosh H-Series is powered by a 470-hp, 15.2-liter Caterpillar C-15 turbo-diesel inline six, but the snow gets its own engine: A 650-hp, 15.8-liter Caterpillar C-16 turbo-diesel inline six. The two engines together allow the H-Series to chew through 5000 tons of snow an hour (throwing it 200+ feet) while maintaining a steady 35 MPH. 650 horses dedicated to snow throwing means you annihilate about 1.4 tons of snow per SECOND. That’s a small car.

I decided to google the H-Series and happened upon the NTSB report linked above. The report details an incident in January 2005 when an H-Series plow struck a Boeing 737 and ripped a ten foot gash in the side while moving the whole plane ten feet forward on the runway.

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