5 reasons why the UD Condor delivers SuperAir’s specialised tasks
“We had to know the truck could stand the strain our unique design will put it under.”
Scroll down to find out the 5 reasons...
SuperAir have been using light aircraft to fertilise the sheep and cattle farms of New South Wales from the air since 1964. Covering an area of 100,000 square kilometres, SuperAir are a major factor in the productivity of the wool and meat industries.
SuperAir use a UD Condor PK 16 280 in a unique specification that sees it doubling as a jet fuel tanker and front-end loader. In an extraordinary example of precision timing, the driver can reload a plane with around two tonnes of fertiliser in just 40 seconds, and do it every eight minutes.
“We mount a second cab on the back that’s basically a front-end loader,” says David Boundy, Operations Manager, “plus a 6,000-litre aluminium jet fuel tank in the middle. The driver takes the truck to wherever the plane is working, and the truck acts as a mobile loading and re-fuelling facility.”
So: why the UD Condor PK 16 280 for such a specialised task?
1. The right length
To fit all the gear on, SuperAir needed a truck that was exactly 5.5 metres.
“Five metres is too short to fit the gear, six metres makes the truck un-manoeuvrable on some hilltop airfields,” said David. “We had to cut the chassis of some earlier trucks to get the right length, but the Condor is spot on.” Click here for more information on the PK 16 280's wheelbases (refer to page 4)
2. Live drive
SuperAir’s existing trucks are manuals, so the driver has to put the truck into neutral to use the hydraulic pump, making loading unnecessarily complex.
“We wanted a truck with Live Drive so we could keep the driving gear and the loading gear going together,” says David. “The Condor gives us both.”
3. An automatic gearbox
SuperAir asked around about the UD’s Allison automatic gearbox, because they knew how hard it would have to work. They got a universally positive response.
“It’s a precision operation with plenty of possibilities for error, and safety is paramount,” says David, “but so is robustness: our drivers have loaded over 240 tonnes a day in about 130 loads, making 4 or 5 gear changes (from first to reverse and back) per load, so the gearbox has to be up to it.”
4. A durable truck
The investment in a SuperAir customised fertiliser loader is considerable, with the modifications costing double the price of the truck or more.
“Once we build one of these trucks we expect to run it for twenty years,” said David, “so reliability and durability are important, and the Condor has a solid reputation for both.”
5. Power and fuel economy
A modified SuperAir truck with a full tank of aviation jet fuel has a GVM of around 15 tonnes, so it needs some pulling power.
“The Condor has a better power ratio than the other trucks in our fleet,” said David, “so we’re confident it’ll get to 100 km/h on the highway without sacrificing fuel economy.”
And the future?
SuperAir are building two superstructures at once now, and plan to buy another Condor to carry the second set.
“We’ve got some special requirements that I’d say are unique in the country,” said David, “and the Condor meets all of them perfectly.”
Click here to download the PK 16 280 spec sheet
Click here to contact a UD Trucks dealer