Minnesota converting from CL-215s to Fire Bosses

CD-215 T266
Minnesota’s Air Tanker 266, a CL-215

After running CL-215 amphibious water scooping air tankers for years, the state of Minnesota is selling the two they have and will be converting to single-engine Air Tractor 802F Fire Boss scoopers. The CL-215s served the agency well, but Aero Flite, now owned by Conair, is no longer interested in maintaining and operating the piston engine aircraft for the state. A newer model, the CL-415, has the more reliable turbine engines. The 215’s will be sold at auction, and four turbine-engine-powered AT-802Fs will be hired on contract.

Tankers 263 and 266 are listed on the State of Minnesota’s online auction site. The planes are listed as Lots #12726 & #12727.

Air Tractor 802-F. Air Tractor photo.

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18 thoughts on “Minnesota converting from CL-215s to Fire Bosses”

  1. “Aero Flite, now owned by Conair”

    That’s been the case for years now.

    Any bets on Buffalo Joe picking up these 215s? With the NWT going towards FireBoss as well, and Buffalo investing in P3s, I’m not certain that’s as sure a bet as it used to be. If Turkey or anybody wants more hulls, why go through a middleman?

  2. Maybe ask North Carolina how their CL 215 met its fate

    Rumor had it in aviation circles it was like many DoD projects …..parted out or scrapped….another rumor …… It had the “Big Knife” put to it somewhat like what happens at AMARG when airframes are beyond “economic viability.”

    In civilian terms……too cost prohibitive

    50K USD each……whoever buys may be getting the better end of the deal parting them out and tagging them according to FAA standards.

    Ever look at prices at Aviall, Aviation Spruce, and other aviation parts vendors……you will gain a very new appreciation in the cost of aircraft parts and accessories.

    CL 215 being as specialized as it is……well one could get a very good idea…..

    1. North Carolina gave their 215 away at public auction as well as the tools and spare parts to support it. From the lease of a hangar at about $5000.00 per month which the fire marshal would not approve for storage, to the hiring of outside pilots to fly it(they decided that out pilots were not qualified), the program was doomed from the beginning. Why……….because of POLITICS. North Carolina’s Fire Fighting Aviation wing has gone from the top of the mountain to the heap because of mismanagement and Politics. Sound familiar? Just my 2 cents worth!

  3. good luck with your wannabe tanker. 6 hundreds gallon at the end of a mission. Keep on sinking instead of a 415 at 1650 and and a Crane at 2650

    1. Eric, the carrying capacity of four FireBoss is better than a single CL-415 and better then the Crane. And that group of four costs less to acquire and operate than a single example of either alternative. Maybe you believe the folks in Minnesota are making a poor decision? The folks in Australia, Spain, Argentina, Washington, BC, Alberta, NWT and a slew of Balkan countries all seem to be drinking from the same pitcher of Kool-Aid.

      Don’t forget, the cost of 1 new CL-415 = 11 new FireBoss aircraft.

    2. Wannabe tanker? Why is the 802 selling in decent numbers? Could it be a fleet of 8 can be bought for less than the price of ONE 415.

  4. I’m going to miss seeing those 215’s… Those pilots and mechanics too of course. What a great group of people flying and supporting them!

  5. Mike
    on February 3, 2015 at 8:57 am said:

    1 of the 215’s is going to Argentina and the other was sold to someone in Alaska.

  6. Any word on the CL-215 that the BIA usually Contracts for to cover the Red Lake Reservation and have stationed at the Bemidji Tankerbase? Are they still going to have that one; or did the BIA jump ship on the 215’s as well.

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