Viking names Cascade Aerospace as 2nd partner for aerial firefighter avionics upgrade

Viking Air Limited of Victoria, B.C. has signed a contract with Cascade Aerospace of Abbotsford, B.C., naming it as integrator for Viking’s avionics upgrade program (AUP) on Canadair CL-215T and CL-415 aerial firefighting aircraft. The announcement makes Cascade the second contributor to join the avionics upgrade program.

The proposed layout of the Collins aerospace pro line fusion integrated avionics suite to be featured in the Viking avionics upgrade program. Viking Air Photo
The proposed layout of the Collins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics suite to be featured in the Viking avionics upgrade program. Viking Air Photo
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The contract calls for Cascade to complete the design, installation, testing and certification of the AUP on two prototypes, a CL-415 and a CL-215T, and the completion of 10 post-STC AUP installations at Cascade’s facilities. The contract also includes Cascade’s production of 40 “A-Kits” consisting of structural components, wiring harnesses and other permanently-installed items that link together the new flight controls, navigation and communication systems being provided by Collins Aerospace as “B-Kits.”

As part of the certification, Cascade will develop the detailed production process, including drawings, task cards and kitting activity that will marry the A-Kit with the B-Kit through clearly defined and efficient sequenced instructions for subsequent installations.

“Based on Viking’s longstanding relationship working with Cascade on the Series 400 Twin Otter program, combined with their extensive experience upgrading Canadair CL-215s to turbine configuration, Cascade was a natural choice to welcome as a key contributor to the Viking AUP,” said Dan Seroussi, director of the program for Viking. “Their specialization in aircraft modification, particularly with avionics upgrades, and their experience with Canadair aerial firefighters gave them a clear advantage.”

“We are thrilled to be conducting this new program for Viking, a key long-term OEM partner of ours,” said Kevin Lemke, Cascade executive vice-president and COO. “This exciting program is a fantastic opportunity for us to demonstrate our strengths as a company with highly skilled and experienced people and to continue to forge relationships with Viking, Longview Aviation, and Collins Aerospace.”

In 2018, through Viking’s sister-company Longview Aviation Services, Cascade was awarded a contract to assist with the CL-415EAF “Enhanced Aerial Firefighter” update and conversion program, including conducting the first aircraft modification using Viking-supplied conversion kits and providing on-site process training to Longview personnel.

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To face challenges with supportability and end-of-life components inherent with aging technology, the AUP utilizes modern and reliable commercial-off-the-shelf systems that will easily interface with specialized mission equipment. The system is designed as a complete integrated solution for a harmonized cockpit that will not only meet current regulatory requirements, it will also address future operational and technical requirements over a 25-plus year horizon.

A key component of the AUP is the introduction of the Collins Pro Line Fusion digital avionics suite, a FAR/Part 25 certified scalable software-based system. The avionics suite’s core configuration includes flight director and flight management system (FMS) coupled with SBAS-GPS and LPV capability, terrain awareness warning system (TAWS), ADS-B Out, Synthetic Vision, crew alerting system display indicators, and a multi-functional keyboard panel with dual cursor controls providing an alternative to touch screen commands. A SATCOM system, multiband radio, weather radar, datalink, and autopilot are few of the available options to further enhance and customize the avionics system based on operator requirements.

The AUP will initially be offered as an upgrade to operators of CL-215T or CL-415 who can select either a complete modification including the supply and installation of the avionics suite, or as a parts kit for installation by an approved maintenance repair organization.

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