Chasing tornadoes is an endeavor that few individuals willingly undertake, but the
A few years ago, we got a peek at a vehicle designed to venture directly into the path of serious weather conditions. Dubbed the Tornado Intercept Vehicle, it can withstand a direct hit from a passing tornado. It's since been scrapped for the more powerful and capable TIV2. Now, not every storm-chasing ride needs to withstand a tornado in order to learn more about it. For this season's storms, another group of chasers has prepared a custom GMC Sierra quad-cab that's ready to tackle some serious weather-related situations, and even though it doesn't look like it's been designed to go into the heart of a tornado itself, there's some pretty amazing equipment aboard. Click through to the jump for more information on this customized GMC.
Tim Samaras and his storm-hunting Team TWISTEX are also featured on Storm Chasers, and the crew regularly experiences extreme weather events that we're happy to experience from the comfort of our sofa via HDTV. To get in and out of such dangerous situations safely, Samaras built a truck that can handle truly violent conditions. The starting platform is a 2008 GMC Sierra one-ton diesel pickup. Unlike the Tornado Intercept Vehicle, it still actually looks like a production truck, but it's quite a bit more complex than that.
This particular GMC Sierra, called the TWISTEX Probe, is fitted with a dizzying array of gear related to both scientific research and survival. A massive brush guard sits up front and is equipped with four HID driving lights, including one that was already tested thanks to a courageous deer that gave its life in the name of science. (Click through the gallery and you can see the results of that impact). A winch with 8,000 pounds of pulling power and an air compressor are also mounted up front.
Sitting on top of the hood is a hail research plate that was custom designed by Tim Samaras. It utilizes carbon composite sample and piezo impact blocks to collect data on hail impacts. The lights mounted up the A-Pillars are used to illuminate the impacts, which are captured on high-speed cameras.
In the back of the truck, behind flip-up side doors of the specially constructed bed cap, sits an assortment of data logging devices, auxiliary batteries,VHF radios and the extremely important tornado probe. The tornado probe weighs 400 pounds and is accessed using a 1,500-pound capacity lift. That weight comes from the six cameras, five anemometers, smoke generators and 3D wind profile instrumentation that's all attached to a steel base. The hydraulically-powered rear lift deploys and recovers the heavy probe.
Besides making room for research gear, one's safety must also be considered. Tim Samaras needed to protect not just himself and his team, but the truck as well. Regular paint wouldn't do, so Samaras turned to Line-X for protection he sought.
Typically known for its spray-in bedliners, LINE-X coated the entire truck, and the result is a virtual force field of material that withstands the common impacts experienced storms. Kevin Heronimus, CEO of Line-X Protective Coatings said,
The XS-100 material used in this application is a polyurethane and polyurea formulation that was chosen for its durable, long-lasting and high-performance qualities. XS-100 protects from abrasion, corrosion and impacts making it ideal for use on the TWISTEX Probe tornado chase truck."This was the ultimate field test to prove the rugged capabilities of Line-X Protective Coatings. There was no damage from hail, debris or high force winds and we are very proud of our products."
If you think your truck is tough because it can handle a snowy New England winter or rainy Northwestern shower, think again. The GMC Sierra TWISTEX Probe is designed for people who look at dangerous weather on the horizon... then smile, fire up the diesel, and floor it into the eye of the storm.
-- LINE-X Highlights its Recent Durability Successes on Discovery Channel --
HUNTSVILLE, Ala., October 20, 2010 - LINE-X Protective Coatings, the nation's leading developer and provider of high performance protective coatings, is gearing up for the 2010 SEMA Show November 2-5, 2010 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This year LINE-X brings not only its full line-up of products showcasing its many uses for spray-on truck bedliners and industrial coatings, but will also highlight its involvement with Tim Samaras and the LINE-X coated GMC Sierra chase truck from the Discovery Channel's Storm Chasers. LINE-X will also be featuring its newest product, ASPART-X, an industrial polyaspartic polyurea protective coating for flooring. Although widely known for its bedliner coatings, LINE-X has broadened its product offerings and is now using LINE-X and ASPART-X for many different industrial applications.
Samaras is well known from the Discovery Channel hit series Storm Chasers – a documentary series that follows extreme weather enthusiasts on the hunt to catch rare footage and data from the world's most violent tornados. This past spring,
LINE-X was invited to be a part of Storm Chasers by spray coating the entire GMC Sierra "TWISTEX Probe" tornado chase truck with LINE-X Protective Coatings to help shield the vehicle from the extremely high force winds and severe weather present in tornado conditions. "This was the ultimate field test to prove the rugged capabilities of LINE-X Protective Coatings. There was no damage from hail, debris or high force winds and we are very proud of our products," said Kevin Heronimus, CEO of LINE-X Protective Coatings. Storm Chasers airs Wednesdays on the Discovery Channel at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.
With the soft launch of ASPART-X completed, LINE-X selected SEMA to make the official announcement of its newest product. A ZERO VOC, aliphatic polyurea, ASPART-X provides superior U/V stability and is a versatile coating with virtually limitless possibilities. From residential decks, patios, garage/basement floors - to commercial & industrial applications - ASPART-X provides unsurpassed protection from the elements.