Preparing for EAA AirVenture is a big job at Wittman Regional Airport, and so is the post-event work, but this task will be easier this year thanks the Oshkosh Corp. H-Series XF broom truck, that joined the airport fleet a week before AirVenture began. Officially, it is the newest member of the Oshkosh Airport Product Group’s snow removal arsenal, but this versatile tool will sweep Wittman clean all year. It will start at 5 a.m. on Sunday, July 29, when it cleans the night air show’s pyro residue from Runway 18/36, said Airport Director Peter Moll.
The XF Broom project began 18 months ago, and Wittman’s new truck is Serial No. 2, what Oshkosh calls the “show truck.” Serial No. 1 is used for testing and development, and the No. 2, which embodies every available option and update derived from testing, exhibits them at shows around the nation. This led to an economical deal for the airport, and Oshkosh officials couldn’t be happier.
“This is our home base,” said Jeff Resch, VP and general manager of the airport products group, expounding the pride everyone at the company feels when seeing the product of their work at work. In addition to support from Bruce Municipal Equipment, the Milwaukee-area dealer that put the deal together, Wittman will get direct support from the factory, which will monitor the XF to ensure that it’s “doing what it needs to do.”
About a dozen people who played a part in brining the new broom to life, and to Wittman, attended the presentation held in the Oshkosh Corporate hangar, out of the hot July sun. Among them were Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris and County Board Chairman Dave Albrecht, Tyler Gage of Bruce Municipal Equipment, Aircraft Products VP Jeff Resch, and Midwest Sales Manager Greg Pfaff, who presented the new truck’s features to those assembled.
Two robust Cummins diesel engines power the H-series chassis, one for the all-wheel drive and steering powertrain, and the other for the 18-foot wide, 46-inch diameter broom up front and the two side blowers mounted behind the front wheels that produce a 450-mph breeze, that will, among other things, uncover runway and taxiway lights. The broom’s alternating steel and poly bristles are in 9-foot long cartridges for easy replacement, and the unit’s computer maintains the optimum settings by keeping track of wear.
Two members of the Wittman crew received personalized training in the new XF broom almost immediately, so they would be ready to clean up after EAA AirVenture’s night air show, and the rest of the crew will be attending the training and maintenance program Oshkosh will hold for its dealers in September. Words cannot express the importance of this addition to the Wittman fleet, said Moll. “Fast and efficient snow and debris removal is a top priority, and the XF Broom will make this effort more efficient and economical.”