Link - by Avi Abrams

Snow-Blowers From Hell, and more...

The picture of a rusted Soviet truck with a mounted jet engine (see our recent Biscotti issue) provoked lots of interest from our readers, so we decided to make a full page about such monstrous machinery.

First of all, full disclaimer - they're not dormant Decepticons or armies of malevolent AI ready to tackle the world at the first notice. They are simply snow-blowers and jet-dryers used at some Russian airports, like the ones shown below - with Klimov VK-1 engines taken from MiG-15 planes.

(photo by S. Bednaruk)

These machines are still used to remove snow from runways, and in some cases, for de-icing of planes in Russia. The engine is a MiG-15 or MiG-17 radial compressor engine with a lengthened jet exhaust.

Another variation on the same idea, using different truck model -

(image credit: Sergei Tsvetkov)

NASCAR uses jet dryers to dry race track after rain .. here is a video of one that blew the asphalt apart.

Eric Chipchase writes to us: "During the 1960's a number of MiG-15's were used by the Polish State Railways to clear the tracks of ice and snow (the rear fuselage and wings were removed and the engine was operated from the cockpit)" Similar set-ups were used to remove ice from railroad tracks and railroad switches in the permafrost areas (in Siberia, and even in East Germany during the harsh winters) -

(image via Erik Chipchase)

Some our readers suggested that such jet-equipped machines could've been used for extinguishing oil well fires, for example in Kuwait (with water injected into a jet turbine for fire suppression). The reality turned out to be even more fantastic: Hungarian inventors actually attached a couple of jet engines to a tank's turret!

Inventor: Wolfhart Willimczik, image via

"Some new methods were used. Early on, teams used liquid nitrogen to smother fires. A team from Hungary put two jet engines on top of a captured Iraqi tank and introduced water into the stream of gas the jets produced, blowing a high-velocity fog at the fires and essentially blowing them out" /NY Times Online/

See the amazing video of this tank monster in action.

Other Jet and Turbine-Powered Trucks

We've all seen jet trucks made just for show (and we already linked once to a jet engine mounted on a pick-up truck, on a smaller scale). Here is one of the more ambitious ones - "Shockwave" triple-engine jet truck (featured recently on the Dicovery Channel) -

(images credit: Dieter Schaefer, ShockwaveJets)

"The ShockWave Jet Truck runs over 300 mph racing airplanes at airshows; holds the world record in a quarter mile for trucks at 256 mph in just 6.36 seconds; and holds the world record for full size trucks at 376 mph as recorded by Guinness Book of World Records. At 36,000 horsepower, the ShockWave has enough power to accelerate at 3 Gs vertical, which is as much as the Space Shuttle!" (source)

"Super Shockwave" twin-jet engine retro-styled truck:

(image via)

...and a "Super Chief Jet Train" -

(image via)

Hawaiian jet-powered fire truck, owned by Davidson Racing (more info) -

(image via)

Fire truck, equipped with MiG jet engine (more info)

(images via)

According to WebUrbanist, it houses the largest turbine motor in a land vehicle anywhere in the world, which is so big that water tanks had to be removed from the vehicle... which renders the whole effort pretty useless in real life situations.

Here is another jet truck, this time from Texas:

(image credit: Leted)

The "World's Fastest Ambulance" is described here (the engine takes all the space inside the vehicle, so there is no space left for the patient)

(images via)

Outisde of sheer record-breaking and show appearances, the efforts were made in the U.S. (and behind the Iron Curtain) to come up with gas turbine-powered trucks. Kenworth, for example, had a few trucks outfitted with a Boeing gas turbine engine:

it almost looks like this Kenworth truck (a gas turbine prototype from 1950) is driving without a motor - due to the extremely low profile of a turbine inside.

(images: Time / Life, via)

Chevrolet Bison, 1964 - another iteration of turbine-powered futuristic truck (almost as outlandish in looks at the time, as designs by Luigi Colani - see here). Its two turbines are located just above the cabin:

(image via)

While over in Russia...

Check out this centipedal monstrosity - perhaps the biggest of Soviet trucks designed to carry ballistic nuclear weapons, also sporting a turbo-jet power. This is MAZ-7907: 30 meters long, 24x24 chassis, build in Minsk, Belorus. Read our coverage of the rest of such "ballistic" Russian trucks - Part 1 and Part 2

(image via)

The turbo-engine produced 1250 h.p., giving this "truck" a maximum load of 150 tons. By the way, Russia even had jet-powered (gas turbine) tanks during the 1970s - T80 went into production in 1976.

We wrote about Jet Train idea and its implementation in Russia and U.S. before (see our article Jet-Powered and Other Futuristic Trains). Here is a more recent image of Soviet jet train car, which was put up as a monument in a city of Tver.

(image credit: Vesher7)

The jet train car above was restored and kept as a monument, the rusted car shown below (made by Kalinin train factory), was not so fortunate:

Speaking about monuments and sculptures, this jet truck "thing of beauty" was found by Duncan Hull:

(image credit: Duncan Hull)

Also Read: Huge Off-Highway Road Trains

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Anonymous Will said...

Awesome, great post Avi.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I mentioned in the last post, these vehicles are also used for bio/chem/nuc decontamination. Just google "TMS-65"

Here is a youtube video of one in action http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBI43LKuW00

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So many childhood fantasies come amazingly true. I can't believe things this awesome have a place in the real world. Thanks for the excellent post.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, the M1 Abrams Tank is also driven by a turbine.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The US military powers tanks, helicoptors, and various ships with jet turbines.

Propulsion 4 x General Electric LM2500 gas turbines delivering 80 000 shp to two shafts

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the second one looks really phallic.

Anonymous Bruce Colthart (@bccreative) said...

I was lucky enough to be right on the track, for some drag racing back in the eighties. Using years-old press passes my friend had, a group of us loaded cameras and empty camera cases around our necks and got full pit access. That night's theme, "jet cars under the stars," featured a truck cab with huge turbine engine like one you pictured. I'll never forget the high velocity air blast – or the taste of jet exhaust – as that thing launched. YeeeeeHaw!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want one!!!

Blogger carlosmessi said...

Amazing articles, amazing power, amazing. Wow but except for blowing snow we will all agree that this is not at all useful. I suppose also that it hurts the environment a lot. Let's keep everything real even when we want to amaze ourselves. Thank you.

Blogger Bananmannen said...

Gasturbines are great for various applications! Nevertheless, the fuel consumption is very guzzling. But the construction is very reliable. Anyway, great photos of some heavy machinery!

Blogger Bob Tomasso said...

Andy Granatelli had a 1967Studebaker STP Special in the Indy 500. Gas turbine engine. Driven by Parnelli Jones.

Blogger Bob Tomasso said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous ujanja said...

Oh! Yah, the fire engine companies should really think about this system. It may be costly but the job will get done for sure!

Anonymous przedszkole said...

ciekawe co będziemy "podziwiać" za 20 lat :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greyhound had turbine buses in the early 1970s. They were wonderful to ride in. But they didn't have the fuel economy of diesels and were doomed when the oil crunch hit in 1974.

Anonymous Blackshark said...

"Actually, the M1 Abrams Tank is also driven by a turbine."

Yes, but not a jet engine turbine, smartass.

Anonymous B Loco said...

One of the toughest problems with jet engines is dealing with the very high temperature exhaust. In the picture above, you can see that the Kenworth truck exhaust pipe has melted the top left corner of the trailer it was hauling! Hilarious!

When Jay Leno was talking about his jet-powered motorcycle, he said that if anyone started tailgating you, just wait until you are at a stop light and then roll the motorcycle backwards until their bumper melts. :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Impossible. that is a dent in the metal,
the vent pipe points upwards and not at the trailer.

Blogger retrodynamic said...

Technology Submission - State of the Art - Novel InFlow Tech - Featured Project Development;|/ ·1; Rotary-Turbo-InFlow Tech / - GEARTURBINE PROJECT Have the similar basic system of the Aeolipilie Heron Steam Turbine device from Alexandria 10-70 AD * With Retrodynamic = DextroRPM VS LevoInFlow + Ying Yang Way Power Type - Non Waste Looses *8X/Y Thermodynamic CYCLE Way Steps. 4 Turbos, Higher efficient percent. No blade erosion by sand & very low heat target signature Pat:197187IMPI MX Dic1991 Atypical Motor Engine Type. |/·2; Imploturbocompressor; One Moving Part System Excellence Design - The InFlow Interaction comes from Macro-Flow and goes to Micro-Flow by Implossion - Only One Compression Step; Inflow, Compression and outflow at one simple circular dynamic motion / New Concept. To see a Imploturbocompressor animation, is possible on a simple way, just to check an Hurricane Satellite view, and is the same implo inflow way nature.


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