Ralph Colet: Firefighting Equipment Engineer
A Filipino engineer has been building custom-made airport rescue vehicles for nearly 30 years now. Pinoy engineer Ralph Colet’s vehicles are fast, sturdy and built to save airplanes and lives.
Colet said the passion started as a young child playing with toy cars. The complicated mechanics of rescue vehicles appealed to him then. Now, the chance to continually improve airport fire safety keeps him going.
“I got a couple of projects now that people say is impossible to build. That turns me on when they say it’s impossible, it can’t be done. We’re going to work on it,” said Colet.
His newest model, the K40E Jaguar was supposed to be impossible to build. It can go from zero to 50 miles per hour in 17 seconds.
At less than 40 feet, it is smaller than other rescue trucks, but it still packs 4,000 gallons of water or foam. Los Angeles County airports have purchased several Jaguars, which, experts said, is Colet’s best creation.
Aviation Fire Journal publisher Bill Mulcahey said, “the technology can’t be beat by any other manufacturer. We’re at the high end of the spectrum of vehicle technology and performance that Mr. Colet has succeeded.”
Colet is a father of 3 with 8 grand kids. His wife and children are deeply involved in the family business. They help create and test the vehicles with him.
“It’s a lot of fun. It’s challenging. It’s nice to be able to work with family,” said daughter Bonnie.
With his family at his side, Colet said he has no plans of slowing down.
Though his vehicles have won multiple performance awards, and are considered ahead of the competition, Colet continues to build, trying to outdo his previous models.