Fire Engine

These fire engines are all ‘Russian’ around.

  • A fire engine is an automobile dispatched and used by an emergency department, in particular the fire brigade, primarily to put out fires.
  • ‘Fire engines’ are also known as ‘fire trucks’, ‘fire wagons’, ‘fire apparatuses’ and ‘fire appliances’.
  • Fire engines are typically used to transfer fire fighters and their equipment – ladders, hoses, first-aid supplies, rescue equipment and breathing tanks among other things – from the station to the emergency site.
  • Flashing lights and loud sirens are generally found on a fire engine, and these help to make its presence known, so that other vehicles move out of its way during an emergency.
  • Long extendable ladders are generally found on fire engines, to provide a fire fighter with extra height, and they often have hoses attached.
Fire Engine, Truck, Vehicle, Red, America, Cambridge, Dormant, Emergency, Invention, AutomobileFire Engine
Image courtesy of Dave Conner/Flickr
  • Most fire engines are trucks designed for urban use, however some apparatuses are designed specifically for marine, rural and airport purposes.
  • Fire engines generally carry from around 1000 to 3785 litres (264 to 1000 gallons) of water, although some hold less, while others hold more; however the majority of water that urban trucks use is sourced from a hydrant.
  • A fire engine can be expensive to produce, with commercial pricing ranging from $350,000 to $1.5 million or more, depending on the purposes and features.
  • Greek inventor Ctesibius is said to have invented one of the earliest forms of a fire engine in the third century BC, though buckets of water were commonly used to fight fires in the middle ages; and from the 1600s, fire trucks of various kinds were invented, and by the 1800s, a pressure steam pump had been invented and was drawn by horses for fire use.
  • Fire engines are commonly coloured red, and this is generally attributed to the colour’s bright nature, which makes the truck stand out among other vehicles.
Bett D, Fire Engine, 1996,,
Fire Engine, 2016, Wikipedia,
Fire Truck History, n.d, Auto Evolution,
Revermann S, Fun Facts for Kids about Fire Trucks, 2016, Modern Mom,
Why Are Fire Trucks Red?, 2016, Wonderopolis,
Young C, Fires, Fire Engines, and Fire Brigades, 1866, Google Books,



Do you prefer the slow or the fast trains?

  • Trains are transportation vehicles that travel along rails and can transport large quantities of people or other objects, while the engine or powered part of the vehicle is generally known as a ‘locomotive’.
  • Today, trains are typically moved via the use of diesel fuel or electric power; and other means, like magnetic levitation, are utilised in some circumstances, while steam, gravity and horse power were common past fuels.
  • The term ‘train’ originates from the word ‘trahere’, a Latin word that means ‘to pull or draw’.
  • Train cars or carriages containing luggage, cargo or people are typically pulled by a locomotive, or two or more, depending on the power required, or they can be self-powered.
  • Trains are generally classified under short and long distance variants, the former often connecting city suburbs or other smaller cities, while the latter travels through many cities or far distances.

Train, Yellow, Steel, Transport, Locomotive, Local, Australia, Electrical, Ten Random Facts

  • Trains generally move along two parallel rails that are part of a railway track, although some use only one rail, such as monorails, while others use alternative technology.
  • The invention of the train grew out of the creation of the earlier wagonways, and it was made more possible after the steam engine was built, although it was not until 1763, when Scottish engineer James Watt remodeled the original engine, did the power source become practical.
  • Many high-speed trains can run at operational speeds of 350 km/hour (217 miles/hour), while the record for the fastest was set in 2007, by the French-owned TGV, and ran at 574.8 km/hour (357.2 miles/hour).
  • The first steam locomotive was invented in 1804 in Britain by engineer Richard Trevithick, although it was not until Englishmen Matthew Murray and George Stephenson built on the ideas of Trevithick in 1812 and 1814 respectively, that trains became a feasible transport option.
  • Specific trains are named primarily to increase their popularity, and a notable named train in history was the ‘Orient Express’, that ran in Europe from 1883 to 2009.
Train, 2015, Wikipedia,
Train Invention – Who Invented Train?, n.d, Train History,
Who Invented The Train?, Who Invented It?, 2015,


Aircraft Boneyard

Just imagine a film set in an aircraft boneyard.

  • Aircraft boneyards are areas of land that hold aircraft that have been abandoned, retired from service, or are non-functional.
  • ‘Aircraft boneyards’ are also known as ‘aircraft graveyards’, and they are located in a number of countries around the world, including Russia, the United States, and Australia.
  • Aircraft boneyards are generally used as a space to store excess planes, or as a holding area for aircraft waiting to be recycled, and they can also include a maintenance facility.
  • Most commonly, aircraft boneyards are situated in desert areas, as plane corrosion is less likely, and the ground is usually firm and solid.
  • The largest aircraft boneyard in the world is ‘the Boneyard’, formally known as the ‘309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group’ (AMARG).
Aeroplane Boneyard, Aircraft Graveyard, Ten Random Facts, Tucson, America, Aerial, Birds Eye, Flickr
Aircraft Boneyard at Tuscon
Image courtesy of Daniel Lobo/Flickr
  • Common reasons for aircraft abandonment include war damage, aging, lower demand during wars, and increasing economical expenses.
  • Large quantities of aircraft were left abandoned in aircraft boneyards after World War II, during aircraft upgrades to jet engines in the 1970s, in the 9/11 disaster aftermath in 2001, and during economic problems from 2007.
  • Aircraft sent to aircraft boneyards are generally preserved and sealed by being coated in a layer of latex mixture, which protects the interior and reflects heat, while oil is used to fill tanks and preserve the engines.
  • Some planes in aircraft boneyards can be used again in the future, so aircraft inspections often occur at intervals of around four years, while other planes are commonly used for spare parts.
  • Most aircraft boneyards are not open to the public, although some large facilities may open for visitors, and these sometimes have a museum onsite with planes on display.
Aircraft Boneyard, 2014, Wikipedia,
Field Guide to Aircraft Boneyards, 2009, John A Weeks III,
List and Map of Active and Post-WWII Aircraft Boneyards and Storage Facilities, 2015,,
Zentner J, Airplane Graveyards, 2015, DesertUSA,


Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

What are your opinions on unmanned aerial vehicles?

  • Unmanned aerial vehicles are aircraft that are controlled remotely, and therefore do not carry any humans.
  • ‘Unmanned aerial vehicles’ are also known as ‘unpiloted aerial vehicles’, ‘unmanned aircraft’, ‘remotely piloted aircraft’, ‘drones’, ‘UAVs’, ‘UA’ and ‘RPA’, among others.
  • Early unmanned aerial vehicles were balloon bombs, manufactured in Europe’s Austria, and were used on Italy’s Venice during the middle of the 19th century; and in the early 20th century, drones were developed for use as target practice by the military.
  • Numerous countries have stated it is illegal to possess and fly unmanned aerial vehicles under normal circumstances, and government consent is usually required.
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles come in a variety of sizes and shapes, from small robots to life-sized aeroplanes, and they have been used during dangerous missions, such as rescue, to scout, or to broadcast, among others, and have been used extensively as military tools.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Drone, UAV, American, Military, Ten Random Facts, Invention, Aircraft

An American Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Image courtesy of Marian Doss/Flickr
  • Large organisations, such as Google, Amazon, military groups and America’s Central Intelligence Agency, investigate and develop unmanned aerial vehicles for their organisation’s purposes.
  • In 2006, the United States were the leading manufacturers of unmanned aerial vehicles, producing more than 60% of the worldwide total, and the machines have become a popular choice for some purposes, due to their relatively low cost.
  • As of 2014, the longest flight time recorded of an unmanned aerial vehicle was 330 hours and 22 minutes, which is just over 14 days, and this world record was set by the ‘Zephyr’, which was built by a United Kingdom based company, QinetiQ.
  • It is against the law to shoot down unmanned aerial vehicles, however if a drone manages to damage something such as a kite, tethered balloon or other property, the offending drone company is liable to be sued.
  • Film producers, farmers, real estate agents and some lawyers, among others, have shown particular interest in commercial unmanned aerial vehicles, however use of drones for various purposes requires a legal framework to operate under, especially regarding privacy laws, and legislation concerning their use is yet to be passed in some countries.
Home, n.d., The UAV,
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, 2014, Wikipedia,


Parade Float

Have you seen a float in a parade?

  • Floats are mobile platforms or vehicles, rigged to move at a slow pace, which are decorated for entertainment, and often advertisement purposes, in parades.
  • Floats, in this case horse-powered wagons, were being used in the 1300 to 1400s to feature biblical plays.
  • It is believed that the term ‘float’ came about due to barges being decorated for the Lord Mayor’s Show, an annual event originally held on the River Thames, London, that was being held as early as the 1500s.
  • The largest float ever was in a 2012 parade, and was 35 metres (116 feet) in length, featuring dogs surfing in a 24 metre (80 feet) sea of water.
  • Using floats for advertising purposes became popular in the 1930s.

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers, Youth Connect, Float Boat, Parade, Flowers, Peter Pan, Ten Random Facts

  • Floats often have fabric draped over the side of the platform, to conceal the mobility devices.
  • Floats are commonly decorated with floral items or theme-related items, and often have people on the platform.
  • Floats generally are included in event parades, commonly abiding a theme.
  • Professional floats can cost a large amount of money to produce, which can be as high as $50,000 to $200,000.
  • Floats are often built in a large workshop, and depending on the features, can take a year to create.
Cavette C, Parade Float, 1999,, <>
Float (Parade), 2013, Wikipedia, <>



Honk, honk!!

  • A truck is also known as a lorry.
  • Trucks are vehicles generally used to transport various items, often large and heavy, from one place to another, and often special truck trailers can be attached to the vehicle.
  • The word ‘truck’ was used as early as 1611, in reference to the special heavy duty wheels on the canon carriages of a ship, and by 1771 was used in reference to carts designed to carry heavy loads.
  • Most trucks run on diesel, which gives better fuel economy.
  • In many countries, a special licence (different to a general driver’s licence) is required for a person to be able to drive a truck.

Truck, Blue, Old, Half, Cab, Front View, Australia, Ten Random Facts

  • Trucks come in various shapes and sizes and have a cab, an engine, chassis, wheels, suspension, and sometimes a sleeping area in the cab, especially in large trucks designed to travel long distances.
  • In 2011, Isuzu, a Japanese company, manufactured the most trucks in the world, producing 447,359 trucks in the year.
  • In 2010 in the United States, there were 500,000 truck accidents with over 5,000 related deaths.
  • The first motorised truck was built in 1896 by German Gottlieb Daimler, who also invented the first motorbike and taxi.
  • There are numerous different types of trucks used for different purposes, including tip trucks, semi trucks, concrete trucks, fire trucks, refrigerated trucks.
Truck, 2013, Wikipedia, <>
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