In RCAF Today 2019, we examine personnel retention, fighter procurement, future aircrew training and more!
Longview Aviation Services of Calgary, Alta., is pleased to announce Bridger Aerospace Group of Bozeman, Mont., has now exercised all of its aircraft purchase options on its order of Viking CL-415EAF “Enhanced Aerial Firefighters” bringing their order total to six aircraft. The increase in Bridger Aerospace’s CL-415EAF order at list price would bring the contract value to $186 million for the aerial firefighting aircraft.
Bridger Aerospace became the launch customer for the Viking CL-415EAF conversion program after signing a multiple aircraft purchase agreement with Longview in 2018, with the first two Enhanced Aerial Firefighters scheduled for delivery early next year in advance of the 2020 North American wildfire season.
Tim Sheehy, founder and CEO of Bridger Aerospace Group, stated, “With the ever-increasing wildfire danger in the United States, it is becoming more important than ever to ensure we have the appropriate aircraft resources available to stay on the leading edge of next generation aerial firefighting techniques. We see the CL-415EAF ‘Enhanced Aerial Firefighter’ as the ideal platform, at the right time and price, for optimizing our ability to combat wildfires while growing our position as a leader in the aerial firefighter arena.”
“We believe the CL-415EAF Enhanced Aerial Firefighter is the best value firefighting aircraft readily-available on the market today, and when combined with Viking’s comprehensive customer support services and new aircraft warranty program, it’s a low-risk, high-reward resource for aerial firefighting operations,” said Robert Mauracher, chief operating officer for LAS.
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 fusion integrated digital avionics suite, Pratt & Whitney PW123AF turbine engines, increased fire-retardant capacity, and improvements to numerous aircraft systems.
The Viking CL-415EAF represents the evolution of the type, providing best-in-class water drop performance utilizing the higher delivery two-door water drop system combined with a zero-timed maintenance program and factory-supported warranty program. All obsolete components impacting the worldwide fleet of CL-215 and CL-415 aircraft are replaced in the CL-415EAF, and the upgraded aircraft is designed to fail-safe 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 aircraft is the only aerial firefighter with factory OEM support offered by Viking’s Customer Service and 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.
The 2019 Paris International Air Show marks the 50th anniversary of the first Canadair CL-215 aerial firefighter aircraft delivery to France’s Civil Protection Agency (Securite Civile) in 1969. Its successful introduction led to a total of fifteen Canadair CL-215 amphibious aircraft enter service in France in the following years and helping to make the term “le Canadair” synonymous with aerial firefighting throughout the country. Also affectionately referred to as “Les Pelicans”, the Canadair CL-215 formed the backbone of France’s aerial firefighting force until 1996 when they were replaced by the Canadair CL-415.
Today, there are over twenty-five CL-215 aircraft in operation around the world with more than 45 years of continuous service. For over 50 years, the CL-215 has proven the enduring capability of the purpose-built Canadair aerial firefighter design and setting the bar high for all subsequent CL models to follow.