2016 was busy for MTT’s twin engine Super Turbine Airboat. Among other things we were contracted to excavate levees surrounding a land bank for a large mitigation project in Louisiana. This project had started two years ago with dredging in Lake Borgne east of New Orleans. The dredging spoil was pumped over two miles to a 500 acre site where levees were built to contain the dredged material and build up the marsh that had been devastated by hurricane Katrina.
Once this dredged material had settled and vegetation had taken hold MTT was brought in with our Super Turbine Airboat. We installed a 9,000 lb. excavator on the deck. Our mission was to cut large pathways in the levee system which allows the tidal flow to provide necessary nutrients to ensure the healthy growth of the fledging wetland.
The reason the MTT airboat was chosen for this work was because the customer did not want to destroy the area by using conventional marsh buggies. Marsh buggies have tank-style treads that chew up the organic base the vegetation takes root in.
The majority of the running was on high, dry ground and required our boat to cross several of these levees to allow for excavation on both sides of the earthen dams. In typical fashion work started at first light and ended 10 to12 hours later amid frequent summer thunderstorms.
Another advantage of the MTT Super Turbine Airboat is our ability to launch at a local marina and make the commute to the location in less than 45 minutes. In contrast, transportation to the site using a marsh buggy would have taken 8-10 hours and the use of a tug boat or similar to move the machine.
MTT maintained a consistent cruising speed of 30 MPH with a full payload of fuel (500 gallons of diesel) and the 9,000 lb. excavator on the deck, plus personnel. We were able to attack the levees and disperse the dirt removed so as to build a solid foundation for these man made canals. This allows for the tidal flow. One of the added benefits of the airboat was our ability to run back and forth through the new inlets to create a hard bottom and a uniform channel depth.
The logistics of operating the excavator when it is required to dig both parallel and perpendicular to the hull proved to be a challenge. Stability, especially with 9,000 lbs. of shifting weight in deep water is another factor. The 16 ft. beam of our twin engine Super Turbine Airboat was a key factor in being able to work on this unique project and overcome any obstacle.
Ted McIntyre, the CEO and owner of MTT said, “The thing that stands out in my mind was the expression on the people’s faces who saw this monster cruising down the Intercostal Waterway. Like our world famous Turbine Superbike, the cell phone salute was everywhere. People were taking pictures and videos knowing that no one would believe their story of this crazy Cajun contraption without photographic proof. The bridge operators and tug boat captains were blown away”.
Thanks to all who participated, especially Matt Conn with SEG Environmental. Matt had the vision and was willing to take a chance on this new technology allowing our team to perform in one of the most challenging environments we could have ever hoped to encounter. The lessons learned on this extreme project are now being implemented in our boat and will most certainly be a huge benefit going forward.
The MTT Solution is a twin engine Super Turbine Airboat for sensitive wetland mitigation, utility work, pipeline, wireline, coiled tubing, EMS, P&A, well remediation and frac pumps. Configurations include articulating crane, hydraulic drill, firefighting equipment and rescue apparatus. Led by Ted McIntyre, MTT is at the forefront of turbine innovation.
A review of the MTT twin engine Super Turbine Airboat capabilities can be found here: https://www.marineturbine.com/turbine-powered-workboats/
Marine Turbine Technologies, LLC (MTT)
298 Louisiana Rd.
Franklin, LA 70538 USA