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Longview Aviation Services (LAS) of Calgary, Alta., in co-operation with Viking Air Limited of Victoria, B.C., announced the first Viking CL-415EAF “Enhanced Aerial Firefighter” has made its inaugural flight at Cascade Aerospace’s facility in Abbotsford, B.C.
Manufacturer’s serial number (MSN) 1081 is the first Canadair CL-215 to undergo the major modification to CL-415EAF “Enhanced Aerial Firefighter” configuration by LAS in collaboration with Cascade Aerospace. Cascade was awarded a contract to assist with the CL-415EAF “Enhanced Aerial Firefighter” modification program in 2018 that included carrying out the first aircraft modification using Viking-supplied conversion kits and providing on-site process training to LAS personnel.
This initial CL-415EAF is the first of six amphibious aerial firefighters ordered by launch customer Bridger Aerospace Group (Bridger Aerospace) of Bozeman, Mont., and is scheduled for delivery in April in advance of the start of the 2020 North American wildfire season.
Don Boitson, chief operating officer for Longview Aviation Western Operations, commented, “This is a significant milestone for the CL-415EAF Enhanced Aerial Firefighter program that wouldn’t have been possible without the focus, hard work and dedication of the entire team. With the conversion kit manufacturing support from Viking, the technical production expertise of Cascade, and the project management team at LAS, we have collaborated to produce the best-value amphibious firefighting aircraft available on the market today. I’m extremely proud of everyone who has contributed to make this program a success.”
The CL-415EAF “Enhanced Aerial Firefighter” modification program, originally announced in 2018 as a collaboration between the two subsidiaries of Longview Aviation Capital, provides an economic boost throughout Western Canada derived from job creation, aerospace manufacturing innovation, supply chain development, academic partnerships, and global export opportunities.
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 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 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 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.