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Pierce Ascendant 107-foot steel heavy-duty aerial ladder hits the popularity charts with more than 60 orders

Published on 31 March 2016
The Ascendant aerial passed all NFPA structural and stability testing requirements prior to its launch
The Ascendant aerial passed all NFPA structural and stability testing requirements prior to its launch

Pierce Manufacturing, Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation company, has received over 60 orders and counting for its game-changing Pierce® Ascendant™ 107-foot steel heavy-duty aerial ladder since its unveiling last year, making it the most popular new aerial apparatus in the Company’s history. The Pierce Ascendant’s advanced level of strength and performance in the single rear axle category was recently borne out through a successful completion of three phases of a fatigue test demonstrating the equivalent of 20 years of service life.

Positive response from fire departments

“We knew the market would be strong for a 107-foot heavy-duty steel aerial available on a single rear axle configuration but, with over 60 orders on the books since its unveiling, the response has far surpassed our expectations,” said Jim Johnson, Oshkosh Corporation Executive Vice President and President of the Fire & Emergency segment and Pierce Manufacturing. “With substantial sales numbers, and an unprecedented demand for product demonstrations, the Pierce Ascendant is quickly redefining the paradigm for performance and reach in the single rear axle category.”

“When our guys returned from seeing the Ascendant, they said it had some strong benefits that would meet our department’s needs – especially the extra reach and compact single rear axle configuration,” said Rodney Schmidt, fire chief for the High Level Fire Department in Alberta, Canada. “We have a large industrial plant with a ceiling height of just over 100 feet, and our current 50-foot aerial simply isn’t up to the task. The new Ascendant will make a huge difference in reach. Plus, it eliminates the need for special licensing of our volunteers to operate a tandem rear axle.” 

Chad Smothers, fire chief for Riverside Fire Department in Riverside, Iowa summed up the Ascendant’s appeal this way: “Our department had been about to pull the trigger on a 75-foot aluminum ladder but, after seeing the Ascendant, we decided to switch over. The longer reach is the big advantage when you can stay on the same size chassis and carry 500 gallons of water and a 1500 gpm pump. With the Ascendant’s extra 32 feet of reach on a single rear axle, we’ll have more flexibility to set up in a safer position,” he explained.

Successful completion of fatigue test

The Ascendant aerial passed all NFPA structural and stability testing requirements prior to its launch and, since that time, Pierce’s R & D team successfully completed three phases of a fatigue test that demonstrate the equivalent of 20 years of service life. Phase one included lifting a 750-pound tip load weight – plus the equivalent of 100 pounds of equipment – off the floor 60,000 times at full horizontal extension. Phase two repeated all steps in phase one for another 60,000 cycles which substantiated there are no fatigue issues in the design. A third phase included 10,000 additional cycles with the load increased to 1,125 pounds plus the equivalent of 100 pounds of equipment. To put the 130,000 cycles into perspective, that’s simulating 17 uses at rated tip load per day, every day, for 20 years.

“The extra measure of fatigue testing we’ve completed confirms that the Ascendant aerial ladder is up to the emergency response challenges placed on any fire department,” added Johnson. “With these new tests, the Ascendant knocked it out of the park! Make no mistake: the Ascendant is a tough, yet lightweight aerial that outperforms anything else in its class.”

Participation at FDIC

The Pierce Ascendant 107-foot aerial ladder features a weight optimised design structure that place weight and mass only where required. The aerial delivers a full 107-foot vertical reach and a 100-foot horizontal reach with a below grade operation of -10º. Its 100-foot horizontal reach is an astounding 32 feet greater than a typical single rear axle aerial.

At the Fire Department’s Instructors Conference (FDIC) in April, the Pierce booth will include all-new configurations of the Ascendant heavy-duty ladder including the PUC™ configuration, Texas Chute Out body (side stack hosebed) and a no pump/no tank body configuration.

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