|Role||Firefighting amphibious aircraft|
|First flight||23 October 1967|
The Canadair CL-215 (Scooper) was the first model in a series of firefighting flying boat amphibious aircraft built by Canadair and later Bombardier. The CL-215 is a twin-engine, high-wing aircraft designed to operate well at low speeds and in gust-loading circumstances, as are found over forest fires. It is also able to land and take off from short, unpaved airstrips.
Design and development
The CL-215 can be traced back to two early projects by Canadair, the CL-43 and CL-204. The CL-43 was conceived as a logistics aircraft and was based on the design of the Canadian Vickers-built 369 Canso (a variant of the Consolidated PBY Catalina). Arising from an earlier 1960s research study at the company, the original concept was for a twin-engined floatplane transport, that was altered into a "firefighter" as a result of a request by forestry officials in the Quebec Service Aérien (Quebec Government Air Service) for a more effective way of delivering water to forest fires. The 1962 preliminary design, the CL-204, was a purpose-designed water bomber that evolved into an amphibian flying boat configuration, powered by two shoulder-mounted 2,100 hp (1,566 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-2800 piston engines. The definitive design known as the CL-215 received a program go-ahead in February 1966 with its maiden flight on 23 October 1967. The first delivery was to the French civil protection agency (Sécurité Civile, then known as Protection Civile) in June 1969. Production of CL-215s progressed through five series ending in 1990.
In 1987, the CL-215T was announced, with improvements in handling brought about by design changes to the wings and empennage, and more powerful Pratt & Whitney turboprop engines. Originally the follow-up CL-215T was to be a simple turboprop-powered development of the CL-215, and Canadair converted two aircraft in 1989 to act as development aircraft. The first of these flew on 8 June 1989. Retrofit kits for CL-215s to the new standard are offered, but Canadair elected not to build new CL-215Ts and instead developed the CL-415.
Cascade Aerospace, Canada, offers CL-215 to CL-215T engine retrofits using the Bombardier kit and Pratt & Whitney Canada PW123AF engines and is currently the only conversion kit installer in the world.
Over a period of 21 years beginning in 1969, 125 of these aircraft were built and sold to customers in 11 countries.
- Conair Group, Abbotsford, British Columbia: four (CL-215P)
- Manitoba (Government) Air Service: seven CL-215P; five will be phased out and replaced with four CL-415 beginning in fall 2010.
- Government of Newfoundland and Labrador: four CL-215P; replaced with four CL-415
- Buffalo Airways, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories: six CL-215P
- Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario: nine CL-215, all replaced by CL-415s.
- Bombardier Inc., Montreal, Quebec: four CL-215T
- Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife, Quebec: six (four CL-215P, two CL-215T). They also operate a further eight CL-415 aircraft.
- Ministry of the Environment Aviation Operations, Saskatchewan: six CL-215P deployed to Airtanker Groups 3, 4 and 5
- Societa Ricerche Esperienze Meteorologiche (SoREM): five CL-215s leased abroad and operated on behalf of Protezione Civile
- Spanish Air Force, 43 Grupo:
- Ministry of Environment (INAER): five Ex-Spanish Air Force CL-215Ts
- Royal Thai Navy: one of the two CL-215s delivered in 1978 is used for search and rescue/patrol.
- Gokcen Aviation - Turkish Aeronautical Association: nine CL-215s and the current contractor for the Turkish Ministry of Forestry 
- 885th Firefighting Squadron of the Croatian Air Force and Air Defence operated CL-215s from 1991 to 2003. They have been replaced by CL-415s.
- CVG Ferrominera Orinoco: two CL-215s, one crashed on 1989, the other one has been parked ever since
- Yugoslav Air Force: five CL-215s in service with the 676th Fire Fighting Squadron from 1981, until four sold to Greece in 1995.
Accidents and incidents
CL-215s have been involved in 26 accidents, 21 fatal.
Aircraft on display
- Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre CL-215 F-ZBBT, formerly of the French Sécurité Civile
- Musée de l'Air CL-215 F-ZBAY, formerly of the French Sécurité Civile
- Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum CL-215 F-ZBBH, formerly of the French Sécurité Civile
- Technik Museum Speyer CL-215 F-ZBAR, formerly of the French Sécurité Civile
- Crew: two pilots
- Capacity: 18 passengers (utility version)
- 5,346 litres (1,176 Imp gal) of water or
- 5,444 kg (12,000 lb) of chemicals
- Length: 19.82 m (65 ft 0½ in)
- Wingspan: 28.60 m (93 ft 10 in)
- Height: 8.98 m (29 ft 6 in)
- Wing area: 100.3 m² (1,080 ft²)
- Empty weight: 12,065 kg (26,600 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight:
- From water: 17,100 kg (37,700 lb)
- From land: 19,730 kg (43,500 lb)
- Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-2800-83AM 18-cylinder radial engines, 2,100 hp (1,566 kW) each
- Cruise speed: 291 km/h (157 knots, 181 mph) (max recommended power)
- Stall speed: 123 km/h (66 knots, 76 mph)
- Range: 2,260 km (1,220 nm, 1,405 mi)
- Service ceiling: 14,600 ft (4,450 m)
- Rate of climb: 5 m/s (1,000 ft/min)
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- "Canadair C.L.204." Secretprojects.co.uk. Retrieved: 26 April 2012.
- Taylor 1976, p.17.
- "Aerial Fire Control." Cascade Aerospace. Retrieved: 23 May 2012.
- "Canadian Civil Aircraft Register: Canadair CL-215". Transport Canada. Retrieved: 23 May 2012.
- "Canadair CL-215 - Environment". Government of Saskatchewan (=Environment.gov.sk.ca ). Retrieved: 14 July 2014.
- Hoyle Flight International 13–19 December 2011, p. 39.
- Keijsper 2008, p. 42.
- "Canadair CL-215 T (UD.13T)." Ejército del aire. Retrieved: 8 January 2012.
- Keijsper 2008, p. 43.
- Hoyle Flight International 13–19 December 2011, p. 49.
- Air InternationalOctober 1978, p. 188.
- "Turkey's Single Airborne Fire Fighting Fleet". Gokcen Aviation, 2013. Retrieved: 14 July 2014.>
- "Our Equipment | Aero-Flite,Inc.Aero-Flite,Inc." Aerofliteinc.com. Retrieved: 14 July 2014.
- "Canadair 215." worldmilitair.com. Retrieved: 25 August 2013.
- Keijsper 2008, pp. 40–41.
- "ASN Aircraft accident: Canadair CL-215-1A10, YV-O-INC-2, Puerto Ordaz." Aviation-safety.net. Retrieved: 26 April 2012.
- Keijsper 2008, p. 44.
- "Canadair CL-215 Accident database". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved: 23 May 2012.
- Gabriel, Olivier. "Canadair CL-215 Bombardier d'eau" (in French). Netpompiers.fr. Retrieved: 23 May 2012.
- "Canadair CL-215". Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, 2012. Retrieved: 23 May 2012.
- Taylor 1976, pp. 17—18.
- (on land)
- Hoyle, Craig. "World Air Forces Directory". Flight International, Vol. 180, No. 5231, 13–19 December 2011, pp. 26–52. ISSN 0015-3710.
- Keijsper, Gerard. "Water-Bombers Required!" Air Forces Monthly, London: Key Publishing, July 2008.
- Marsaly, Frederic and Samuel Pretat. "Bombardiers d'eau/ Canadair Scoopers." Editions Minimonde76, May 2012. ISBN 9-782954-181806.
- Pickler, Ron and Larry Milberry. Canadair: The First 50 Years. Toronto: CANAV Books, 1995. ISBN 0-921022-07-7.
- Taylor, John W. R. (editor). Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1976–77. London: Jane's Yearbooks, 1976. ISBN 0-354-00538-3.
- "Thai Boats". Air International, Vol. 15, No 4, October 1978, pp. 188–189.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Canadair CL-215.|
- Gokcen Aviation
- Panhellenic Association of Families Lost in Action Aviators
- Snopes.com on the urban legend
- Airliners.net The Canadair CL-215 & 415
- North Carolina Division of Forest Resources Aviation Resources