Compiled by Willie Bodenstein
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The Viking CL-415EAF is an amphibious aerial firefighter aircraft designed specifically for aerial firefighting, originally built by Canadair and then Bombardier. When introduced in 1966 by Canadair, the original 215 was the first aircraft specifically designed to be a water bomber. 250 were built until 1990.
A Canadair the original 215, the first aircraft specifically designed to be a water bomber.
Based on the success of the CL-215, the company introduced the CL-415, a new-build production series beginning in 1993. The CL-415 first flew on 6 December 1993, with the first deliveries in November 1994. Orders from several countries soon followed. The CL-415 was assembled at the Bombardier Aerospace facility near North Bay/Jack Garland Airport in North Bay, Ontario and tested on Lake Nipissing. Ninety-five 415s had been built when Bombardier closed its production line in 2015.
Viking, then, was a much smaller company specialized in building parts, under license, to help maintain older discontinued planes built by Bombardier. In 2016 Bombardier had financial difficulties and on 20 June 2016 sold to Viking Air Limited of Victoria, British Columbia the CL-415 type certificate, along with the design documents and all intellectual property rights older CL-215 and CL-215T.
Three of the six CL-415EAF amphibious aerial firefighters ordered by launch customer Bridger Aerospace Group.
On 10 March 2020, Longview Aviation Services (LAS) of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, in cooperation with Viking Air Limited of Victoria, British Columbia, announced that the first Viking CL-415EAF "Enhanced Aerial Firefighter" had taken its inaugural flight at Cascade Aerospace's facility in Abbotsford, British Columbia.
This initial CL-415EAF is the first of six amphibious aerial firefighters ordered by launch customer Bridger Aerospace Group (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 very short scooping distance of the CL-415EAF aircraft is expected to outperform competitors. Photo © Horticultural marxist / commons.wikimedia.org.
The Viking CL-415EAF modification program forms part of a staged approach to utilize the advancements made with the LAS converted aircraft as the basis for the proposed next-generation Viking CL-515 new-production aerial firefighting and multi-purpose amphibious aircraft.
The Viking CL-415EAF "Enhanced Aerial Firefighter" is a specially selected CL-215 airframe converted to turbine configuration using Viking-supplied conversion kits. It features a new Collins Pro Line Fusionģ integrated digital avionics suite, Pratt & Whitney PW123AF turbine engines, increased fire-retardant capacity and improvements to numerous aircraft systems.
The CL-415EAF represents the evolution of the type, providing best-in-class water drop performance Photo © Maarten Visser / commons.wikimedia.org.
The Viking CL-415EAF represents the evolution of the type, providing best-in-class water drop performance utilizing the higher delivery 2-door water drop system combined with a zero-timed maintenance program and a "new aircraft" factory-supported warranty program. All obsolete components impacting the worldwide fleet of CL-215 & CL-415 aircraft are replaced in the CL-415EAF and the upgraded aircraft is designed to failsafe FAR 25 certification criteria with no preset life limit.
The very short scooping distance of the CL-415EAF aircraft is expected to outperform competitors from initial attack to sustained major fire suppression and the combination of safety and longevity represents exceptional value inherent in purpose-built aerial firefighting amphibious aircraft.
The CL-415EAF features Pratt & Whitney PW123AF turbine engines, increased fire-retardant capacity, and improvements to numerous aircraft systems.
The CL-415EAF aircraft is the only aerial firefighter with factory OEM support offered by Viking's Customer Service & Product Support division, including management of all Continuing Airworthiness, warranty items, in-service engineering, initial provisioning, as well as offering Viking's M+ all-inclusive maintenance support program.
All improvements and obsolescence issues addressed in the CL-415EAF aircraft will become the new aircraft production standard in the manufacture of an all new, next generation CL-515 multi-purpose amphibious aircraft.
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