Scoopers operating on a fire near Berango, Spain

Luis Calabor shot this video of Bombardier 215/415 air tankers scooping water and dropping on a fire near Berango in the Spanish province of Biscay. It was uploaded to YouTube on December 28, 2015.

We believe we identified the bay where the aircraft were scooping the water.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Bean.

Super Scoopers drop on media briefing

Two water-scooping air tankers dropping water on the Princeton Fire in Ventura County, California interrupted a media briefing on November 7. The first air tanker appeared to just miss the crowd of reporters and cameras, but the aim of the second was better 😉 .

The fun starts at 1:35 in the video.

Bombardier closes CL-415 air tanker plant in Ontario, Canada

Alberta air tanker 202
Alberta air tanker 202. Photo by Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development.

Bombardier has shut down their plant in North Bay, Ontario where they have been finishing the work of building CL-415 air tankers after the aircraft have been assembled in Montreal. The CL-415 and its predecessor, the CL-215, are among the very few purpose-built air tankers, designed from the wheels up to very specifically drop water on fires. Most air tankers used today have been converted after being discarded by the military and passenger airlines.

Below is an excerpt from an article in the Bay Today:

…Isabelle Gauthier, the Director of Communications for Bombardier Commercial Aircraft confirmed to BayToday that, “We will not be renewing our lease going forward” at North Bay’s Jack Garland Airport.
The lease ends in April 2016, but Bombardier was required to give at least 90 days notice Gauthier said.

“There are currently no aircraft in production,” explained Gauthier,”It didn’t make any business sense to continue.”

North Bay’s facility was for finishing the aircraft after assembly in Montreal, and three had been completed this year but no more were on the horizon.

“We need sales,” said Gauthier. “We need commitment to continue production.”

She said if sales are made, they may attempt to reopen the North Bay facility but “it’s not like turning on a light switch”.

“Activities are continuing for more sales”, she said, and Bombardier is “keeping the door open” to further involvement in North Bay if there are significant sales of the aircraft in future.

The video below was shot at Santa Fe Dam in January, 2014 where two CL-415s under contract with Los Angeles County were scooping water while working the Colby Fire at Glendora, California, east of Los Angeles.

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)

Firefighting aircraft at Dryden, Ontario

Air Tankers at Dryden
Air Tankers at Dryden (Ontario) Regional Airport last week before they were dispersed to deal with the rising number of wildfires. Photo by Chris Sherwin. Click to enlarge.

Mike sent us this photo taken by Chris Sherwin of firefighting aircraft based at Dryden Regional Airport in Ontario, Canada. He said, “There are 7 CL-415, 1 DHC-6, 2 DHC-2T and 1 EC-130 and owned by the Province of Ontario”.

Scoopers drop on a fire near Santa Clarita, California

The two CL-415s, under contract to Los Angeles County, actually dropped water, not fire retardant.