All flights on this former Portuguese enclave depend on this single elevated runway built just a few meters above the Pearl River Delta.
Only the special breed of pilots have the guts to manouevre in reputedly some of the world's shortest and narrowest runways in a full fledged airport. One false move and it is perfect recipe for catastrophe.
Not wanting to take any chance, the airport has brought in three Rosenbauer state-of-the-art rescue and fire fighting vehicle (Unit #11, Unit #12 & ?) in Nov. 2007.
On my visit in Oct. 08 (photo from wing tip of A320), I saw of one of the Austrian-made vehicle -Unit #11 - parked at the runway edge. The rest, I believe, are in the main control center.
Rosenbauer Panther 6X6 has a top speed of 120km/h and at that speed it could cover the entire length of the runway under the stipulated international response time of 3 minute or less. The CAT C-18 6 cylinders engine also gives it enough power to hit 0-80km/h in 29 seconds.
Unit #11 with telesquirt (left) & #12(right) - Photos courtesy of Melinda(chanmelmel)
The Macau's Rosenbauers come with few variants; #11 is armed with a telesquirt or a long arm gadget to help fight fiery clash from a distance, whereas #12 is more conventional in look. (Note: Would appreciate any input on the 3rd unit)
According to Rosenbauer official website, each of the new generation fire trucks can carry up to 12,500 litres of water and 1,500 litres of foam respectively to help it take on missions successfully.
Look out too for the airport's fleet of rescue boat next to the main base.
They will be handy since the probability of aircraft veer over the runway into the water and the rescue mission turn into high sea drama is very high in Macau.