CL-415 Super Scooper to be based at Lake Tahoe

T-260 CL-415
Aero-Flite’s Tanker 260, a CL-415 water scooper, sits on the BLM-Alaska Fire Service tarmac at Ladd Field May 19, 2015, at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. Photo by Sam Harrel of the Bureau of Land Management/Alaska Fire Service.

The only water-scooping air tanker that the U.S. Forest Service has under exclusive use contract will be based at Lake Tahoe, California this summer at the South Lake Tahoe Airport. It recently returned from spending several weeks working on wildfires in Alaska.

The CL-415 can skim across the surface of a lake and scoop 1,600 gallons of water to fill its tank. If a suitable lake is near a fire, this capability can result in large quantities of water helping firefighters on the ground suppress a blaze — especially if two are working in tandem as they usually do in Canada. Water scooping air tankers are also used extensively in several European countries.

In October, 2013, the contract for the aircraft, with a potential value of $57 million, was awarded to Aero-Flite. It is a five year deal with a provision to add a second aircraft if both parties agree.

The CL-415 is leased from TENAX Aerospace by Aero-Flite. It is a brand new aircraft and is the only CL-415 in the United States.

In June, 2013 Aero-Flite received a contract from the U.S. Forest Service for two Avro RJ85 “next generation” air tankers.

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(UPDATE July 24, 2015)

11 thoughts on “CL-415 Super Scooper to be based at Lake Tahoe”

      1. Faa reg search shows: N386AC, N389AC, and N392AC. All owned by Wells Fargo but with aero-flite tail number (AC).

  1. I believe this to be true…There was one been seen at YXX on occasion …perhaps being prepared for aeroflite…

  2. Bill,
    Aero-Flite Inc does in fact have three CL-415’s… Which I am sure they would not have acquired without some degree of certainty of a EU contract for at least 2… This is real progress as the 415’s are far superior to the 215’s in the Western US mountainous terrain…

  3. I wonder how effective this tanker could be on the wragg fire in LNU? Since lake berryessa is a long, wide lake and is within a mile of the incident?

  4. Flying the Kyburz Fire off Hwy 50 right now. Sounds like it’s reloading out of Union Valley Reservoir to the north of the fire. Working some spots with copters.

  5. Very good. having spent time grinding out of Minden and Stead in DC-6/7’s this should be effective..

  6. before it was sent to the Kyberz fire,the wragg air attack was talking alot about the CL-415 being on that fire,as i heard it as it was 12 miles out..but i dot know what fire it was…i assumed it was the wragg fire ..the reason i am curious,is that i was hearing T88/T89 working a fire which i thought was up I80 on the TFN.i sooo confused

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