1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Aerialscope vs. Sutphen Tower Ladder

    I have a question for those familiar with aerial apparatus. I live in New York and the "Central" NY area seems to prefer Sutphen tower ladders while the City of New York exclusively uses Aerialscopes. Any insights ?

    Which one would you purchase given these two options and WHY. Please do not respond with "neither, I'd like a Pierce"


  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Mack Aerialscopes are one of the true destroyers of yesterday. They take the biggest beating and give the biggest beating.

    Sutphen Towers are strong ladders but cannot compete with the strength of the Aerialscope.

    I think the best ladder built is an E-One but their body and chassis are terrible. The best all around chassis and body is a Pierce. So I think that if you could design a Truck with a Pierce Body and chassis and an E-One ladder you would have one amazing Pierce-One.

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    My company has a 100' Sutphen. We love it. Aerialscopes are one of the strongest built aerial devices but we did not go with them because we liked the easier use of using the ladder during times when climbing was necessary. Many members would love to see an aerialscope as our next truck. Sutphen is extremely strong due to the box type construction. Both aerial devices are excellent in my opinion.

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    I gotta give my vote to an Areialscope, for many reasons.
    - Strength; the 'Scope is just oodles stronger than the Sutphen. I beleive the 'Scope is on steriods. which would explain it's nasty kick-***** attitude.
    - Ease of enty into the bucket; The Sutphen ha s a small ladder that folds down for members to step up into the bucket.
    This is no easy task if you are vertically challenged, or have constricting gear on. this also hangs down while in operation, allowing it to hit obstacles, such as wires, or parapet walls.The 'Scope has a small ladderway built into the side of the body, allowing easy entry into the biggest, most comfortable basket around.
    Scrub Area; The Sutphen manufactures a cab with bevelled rear edges, to help make the scrub area smaller, the 'Sopes dont need this. An Aerialscope ladder mounted on a Seagrave chassis is the way to go.
    Below Grade Operations; Try to put a Sutphen in the first floor doorway at your next fire. The 'Scope's basket can operate on the ground level...ONE BIG NASTY PORTABLE MONITOR!


  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    All very good points so far. Keep it coming. Where is the Sutphen and Aerialscope factory representative in this discussion ?? My main complaint with the Sutphen is the fact that ladder is not "climable" and therefore significanty restricts the versatility of the truck. The Sutphen ladder-way is no more easier to climb than an Aerialscope since you end-up climbing on the truss-box members. The Aerialscope may actually be easier to climb since at least the ladder has standard rungs versus the 3/8 in. x 1-1/2 in. flat, uncoated aluminum box truss members which make up the "ladder" on the Sutphen.The other very good point is the pathetic 1 in. tube aluminum support pieces mounted on the bottom of the bucket. This precludes being able to sit the bucket down on any surfaces without potentially damaging the bucket access ladder structural members.

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Our Sutphen has regular rungs and not just the cross members to step on. It also has a fold up step for the bucket that does not interfere with getting up into the bucket requardless of height. ( I'm 5'3" 115 lbs )
    We have no problems entering the bucket from ground level. Our ladder has high railings on them which is wonderful for climbing. Our Sutphen is operational for using it as a first floor master stream and does a fine job you just must use your head when you set up. All in all I like the aerialscope and the Sutphen. We have not had the problems that you stated.

  7. #7
    FF McDonald
    Firehouse.com Guest


    A point that hasn't been mentioned yet is ease of set up.

    I believe that one of the reasons the FDNY uses Aerialscopes, is due to the fact that only have the two radial outriggers, and they drop straight down -- the LCC (Ladder Co. chauffeur) can spot the truck in between parked cars, and still be able to drop the outrigger - whereas other types of aerial ladders may have to shortjack their truck, or not be able to set up at all.


    "In Omnia Paratus"

    -- The opinions presented here are my own; and are not those of any organization that I belong to, or work for.

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    There is NO comparison. Aerialscope is my vote. There is a neighboring dept. that has a Sutphen tower & has almost torn the bucket off twice because the driver cannot see the bucket. It extends approx. 3' - 5' beyond the back of the unit. Also, I noticed that nobody has mentioned the fact that FDNY used to operate two (2) Sutphen towers, (I believe L-14 & L-119??). This was MANY years ago. I think that says it all. Tried it & did'nt like it. Only drawback to Aerialscope is that you CANNOT get a Seagrave TILT cab chassis on it. If you're looking for a tilt cab, you have to choose a Spartan Gladiator. Also, the Aerialscope can get a little pricey, but hey, you get what you pay for.

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Good point about the two main outriggers, being put between parked cars and all. For more info go to www.Aerialscope.com and check out the Febuary screen saver. It shows what to do when you can't quite get between those parked cars....heheheheheh.

  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hey guys Sutphen also only uses two outriggers that sit out side of the footprint of the chassis. They have 5 total outriggers(1) in the front near the front axle (2) out down at the pump/turntable and (2) straight down near the tandems. I know Sutphen has a long overhang but the Aerialscope has one i belive almost as long and it has more mass with the compartment. I like them both i haven't had the privelidge to fly in an aerialscope but would guess it might be tough to learn but i would love to try.

  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Aerialscope is the best,,,,,the boom will well outlast a sutphen anyday,,,,how many sutphens do you see get refurbed? Not very many. How many Aerialscopes do you see get refurbed? Alot more!

    I know of a neiboring comapny that bought a used early '70s MACK/Baker Aerialscope from FDNY in the early '90s,,,used it for a couple years,,then refurbed it,,,,and it runs about 3000 calls a year here,,,,,and you know it was busy in NY

    The best combo is Seagrave/Baker

    The better combo was MACK/Baker!

  12. #12
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Aerialscope is the winner. Tillerman14 is right. Kentland Tower Co. 33 is made of the aerialscope from Ex-FDNY 17 Truck in the Bronx. It is still running strong. Be safe.


  13. #13
    Firehouse.com Guest


    If someone almost tore the bucket off of a sutphen I think it is the fault of someone who needs more driver training not the fault of the apparatus. We refurbed a Sutphen and are very happy with the results. I have seen many Sutphens refurbed and the owners are pleased with the results.

  14. #14
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I can't say much about the Aerialscope other that if they hold up in NYC they gotta be good. As far as the Sutphen platform goes, I like ours(100' 1500gpm/300water), but I'll also say it's not perfect. It's probably not as strong as the Baker, but you're comparing steel and aluminum, right? The access into the platform is pretty decent and I like the climability of the ladder(we specified higher handrails). The jackspread is ok, the main outriggers are out and down(they'll fit between parked cars too) and the remainder of the jacks are all within the width of the body. The downside...the platform is pretty hard to see. Those little guides are only so good. Also, the rear overhang is terrible! We really have to pay attention to grade changes(side streets, parking lots, etc)We have made the trip to Ohio once to have the platform repaired, as it was drug when an engineer mistakenly turned into a steep driveway thinking it was the side street he was looking for.

    Just my opinion...stay safe

  15. #15
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I feel like I need to add to this topic. Why does everybody think that the Aerialscope is so much stronger that the Sutphen design?? Do you mean its heavier?? Because that is true. One key point everybody is missing is weight. You can put much more equipment (pump, water tank, hose load, Etc.) on a Sutphen because you will still be of LEGAL weight to be on the road.

    As far a strentgh - I can't imagine everybody out there is using their towers to breech walls and windows. For normal everyday use one is no stronger than the other. I personally like the aluminum design and lighter weight of the Sutphen.

    As far as overhang I have one word - TRAINING!! My dept. operates a 1999 Sutphen 95' with a 10-man cab (8 seats). Our truck has been stretched 17"+ in wheelbase as compared to a standard Sutphen. Our drivers have no problem at all with the size and wheelbase. It all comes down to training.

    The truck has more capabilities than our first due engine. Here's a small list of features:
    2000 gpm pump
    400 gal water
    1000' 5" LDH
    300' 3" preconnect
    2 - 1 3/4" crosslays
    100' 1 1/2" in front bumper
    150' 1 3/4" in front bumper
    12.5Kw diesal gen.
    2 - 200' electric cord reels
    Wil-Burt light tower
    4 - 750W telescoping lights
    3 - Wil-Burt 12V lights (2 on cab, 1 under bucket)
    12" wrap around bucket step w/center controls
    Cab mounted haligan bars, axes and extinguishers.
    2 - Ramfan PPV fans
    2 - Water Vacs
    misc tarps

    Go to this link for a picture - http://www.tcfd.com/apparatus/104.html

    E-mail me for more info if interested.

    We are in the process of specing out 2 new rescue style engines right now with an emphasis in versatility and ease of use.

    With the changing times we are all seeing, in responses and manpower, our trucks need to do more than one thing. They must do several well.

    PS - More and more we are now running the Tower as our first due piece. Versatility remember!

    Sorry for the rambling - Good luck!


  16. #16
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Yep ,yer right 'Cap, that is a nice truck, very nice. I like the way the cab extesion is straight in the back as opposed to slanted. Sharp lines. All good except.....the COLOR!!!! That is the palest shade of red I have ever seen!!!!!LOL....nice ride

  17. #17
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I believe that the Aerialscope was originally based on a crane design. The first fly is steel, however, each of the remaining flies are thick aluminum to save weight. I ran I on an Aerialscope in 1997-98 that was built in the late 60's. That thing was just beautiful. Talk about confidence in the bucket. I would work of of those things seven days a week and twice on Sunday. They are, however, expensive and heavy. Probably not the right choice for a Quint, but if you're a true truckie, that's your rig. Seagrave's a good mach -- older technology, but built to last. However, the Spartan will do just fine.

  18. #18
    Firehouse.com Guest


    TCFD12 made some excellent points.......weight of the truck is a big factor! Just because it's a fire truck, doesn't mean that bridge laws, and vehicle weight limits can be ignored. And training....seems that everybody complains about it, but we can never really have enough! I'd hate to be the guy that had to explain why the engineer on that $650,000 plus truck was not adequately trained when it does get tore up.

    TCFD, by the way.....NICE!!

    [This message has been edited by engineer19 (edited 04-19-2001).]

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