A Viking CL-415EAF took its inaugural flight in Abbotsford, British Columbia March 10. It is the first Canadair CL-215 to undergo the major modification to CL-415EAF “Enhanced Aerial Firefighter” configuration by Longview Aviation Services in collaboration with Cascade Aerospace. Cascade was awarded a contract to assist with the CL-415EAF modification program in 2018 that included carrying out the first aircraft modification using Viking-supplied conversion kits.
This initial CL-415EAF is the first of six amphibious air tankers ordered by launch customer Bridger Aerospace of Bozeman, Montana and is scheduled for delivery in April in advance of the start of the 2020 North American wildfire season.
The CL-415EAF modification program was announced in 2018 as a collaboration between the two subsidiaries of Longview Aviation Capital. In the program CL-215 airframes are converted to turbines using Viking-supplied conversion kits and all obsolete components are replaced. It features a new Collins Pro Line Fusion® integrated digital avionics suite, Pratt & Whitney PW123AF turbine engines, increased water tank capacity, and improvements to numerous aircraft systems.
The CL-415EAF utilizes a higher delivery 2-door water drop system combined with a zero-timed maintenance program and a “new aircraft” factory-supported warranty program.
To initiate the program, LAAM will be hiring up to 150 technical and support staff members at its Calgary facilities, where eleven specially selected CL-215 aerial firefighting aircraft owned by LAAM will undergo the modification process utilizing Viking-supplied conversion kits.
To support development of the conversion kits, Viking has hired 50 employees to date and has launched a recruitment campaign to hire an additional 50 staff at its Victoria, BC location. Viking will also be reinstating its “Viking Academy” paid-training program to provide successful applicants with the targeted technical training required for these positions.
After acquiring the CL-215, CL-215T and CL-415 Type Certificates in late 2016, and based on feedback from the operator group, Viking elected to introduce an “Enhanced Aerial Firefighter” (EAF), mirroring the CL-215T conversion program and updating it with the addition of operator requested enhancements.
Both the CL-215T and CL-415EAF include the winglets, finlets, higher operating weights, increased capacity firebombing system, and foam injection system of the CL-415. In addition to these standards, other improvements introduced with the Viking CL-415EAF conversion upgrade include:
Full modern Avionics package,
Component modernization improvements to address all fleet obsolescence issues,
Corrosion protection enhancements based on operator feedback,
Flight deck air-conditioning system,
Customized external paint scheme, and
Humanitarian relief and special mission options (e.g. stretcher rack, large cargo door, spray boom system)
The Viking CL-415EAF Conversion Program forms part of a staged approach to utilize the advancements made with the LAAM converted aircraft as the basis for the proposed Viking CL-515 new-production amphibious aerial firefighting aircraft.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Roman. Typos or errors, report them HERE.
I’ve never seen anything like this. These CL-215/415 Bombardier scooper air tankers made nine drops in a minute and 5 seconds. The poster appears to be in Chile, but one of the comments said it occurred in France.
When a water-scooping CL-215 air tanker crashed in Greece on June 26, the pilots of two Aircrane helicopters who were working a fire diverted to the site, saw that the aircraft was on fire, and each helicopter dropped three loads of water on the flames. This helped make it possible for one of the CL-215 pilots to extract the other pilot who had a back injury.
[Erickson Aircrane pilots Mike Strasser and Jeff Shelton] and another Aircrane, operated by Jeff Brenhaug and Don McLeod, were fighting a fire about eight miles northwest of Athens, Greece, on June 26, when a Hellenic Air Force Canadair CL-215 waterbomber—known as a “duck”—crashed on a wooded hillside. Thick black smoke was rising into the air as the two Aircranes arrived above the wreckage. “It was pretty obvious that it had gone down and it was on fire,” Strasser told Skies. “We decided to switch to light coverage and began dropping water on the plane. As we came in behind the other Crane for our first drop, I was looking out the bubble window and I saw two people on the right side of the aircraft. It looked like one of them was dragging the other out.”
“Just seeing somebody outside [the aircraft] was a good feeling,” said Strasser. “It crashed close to a road, and soon I saw firefighters on the ground rescuing them. We finished up there and headed back to fight the fire.”
But the story didn’t end there for the Aircrane crews. The next day they received a special visitor. Taxiarchis Papamarkos, one of the CL-215 pilots, sought them out to say his thanks.
“He told us the other guy had a back injury and couldn’t walk,” recounted Strasser. “He was trying to help him, but it was getting very hot and his flight suit was singed. He thought he would be dead in 10 seconds. He expected the plane to blow up, so he started counting backwards from 10. But when he got to four, he felt cool rain falling on him. It helped him to pull his friend out.”
The other CL-215 pilot is in the hospital but is expected to recover.
Bombardier has agreed to sell their air tanker manufacturing business to Viking Air Ltd.
The transaction will see Viking acquire the Type Certificates (manufacturing rights) for all variants of Bombardier’s amphibious aircraft, and assume responsibility for product support, parts and service for the fleet of 170 air tankers in service with 21 operators in 11 countries around the world.
Below is an excerpt from an article at CTV News:
…Victoria-based Viking manufactures the Twin Otter as well as spare parts for several planes originally made by de Havilland. It also has manufacturing rights for all out-of-production de Havilland aircraft, including the DASH-7 regional airliner, a predecessor to Bombardier’s Q400 turboprop.
Viking employs just under 90 people in Calgary and more than 330 at its headquarters and facilities in Victoria. The company said it expects to add up to 40 people to its workforce in Victoria and Calgary with the new program.
Bombardier said Monday it plans to transfer 50 employees from the amphibious aircraft program based in North Bay, Ont., to other parts of its business.
The Montreal-based company hasn’t produced an amphibious plane since December 2015…
Canadair began manufacturing the amphibious CL-215 air tanker in 1967 and in 1986 sold the manufacturing rights for the aircraft to Bombardier. In 1993 Bombardier introduced the upgraded CL-415, replacing the piston engines with Pratt & Whitney Canada PW123AF turboprops as well as introducing an updated cockpit and aerodynamics enhancements.
At least seven air tankers are being sent from Canada to Alaska to help with the wildfire situation developing in that state. Here are the aircraft that we are aware of that stopped at Whitehorse, Yukon, for fuel:
Tanker 42, a Convair 580, from Slave Lake, Alberta, operated by Conair.
Four CL-215Ts from Slave Lake, Alberta, with two Bird Dogs, operated by Conair.
Two Convair 580s out of Williams Lake, B.C. passed through Whitehorse a couple of days ago on their way to Alaska.