Canadair CL-415

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I-DPCN at work 03 (cropped).jpg
Role Amphibious water bomber
Manufacturer Canadair
Bombardier Aerospace
First flight December 6, 1993
Introduction 1994
Status Active service
Primary users Vigili del Fuoco (Italy)
Sécurité Civile (France)
Hellenic Air Force (Greece)
Government of Quebec, Service aérien gouvernemental (Quebec, Canada)
Produced 1993–2015
Number built 95[1]
Unit cost
$37 million CAD[2]
Developed from Canadair CL-215

The Canadair CL-415 (Superscooper, later Bombardier 415) is an amphibious aircraft based on the Canadair CL-215 and designed specifically for aerial firefighting, built by Canadair then Bombardier.


In 1987, following market trends towards more efficient, powerful and reliable turboprop powerplants, Canadair undertook the task of retrofitting 17 CL-215 airframes with the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW123AF engines, providing a 15% power increase over the original piston engines, as well as enhanced reliability and safety. The retrofitted aircraft were designated CL-215T and also featured many aerodynamic and systems improvements including powered flight controls, cockpit air conditioning, as well as upgraded electrical and avionics systems. The most notable external features of the CL-215T retrofit were the aerodynamic additions to the wings and empennage.

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 December 6, 1993, with the first deliveries in November 1994.[3] 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.

On June 20, 2016, Viking Air purchased the CL-415 type certificate from Bombardier along with the older CL-215 and CL-215T.[4][5][6] The acquisition was finalised on 3 October.[7]

In December 2018, a full-flight CL-415 simulator, capable of simulating water scoop and bombing operations, received European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification. Until now, training has typically involved live flying of the aircraft.[8]


A Spanish Air Force CL-415, showing its 4 underbelly doors opened.
Italian Vigili del Fuoco refilling near Alghero, spilling excess water through underwing overflow ports

The CL-415 has an updated cockpit, aerodynamics enhancements and changes to the water-release system as well, creating a modern firefighting amphibious flying boat for use in detecting and suppressing forest fires. Compared to the CL-215, the CL-415 has increased operating weight and speed, yielding improved productivity and performance. The 415 can scoop up to 6,140 l (1,350 imp gal; 1,620 US gal) of water from a nearby water source, mix it with a chemical foam if desired, and drop it on a fire without having to return to base to refill its tanks. The CL-415 was specifically developed to provide the capability to deliver large quantities of suppressant in quick response to fires. The aircraft is built for reliability and longevity, with use of corrosion-resistant materials. The new 415GR has higher operating weights, while the CL-415 multi-role is available for use in a paramilitary search and rescue role and utility transport.

The aircraft requires 1,340 m (4,400 ft) of flyable area to descend from 15 m (49 ft) altitude, scoop 6,137 l (1,350 imp gal; 1,621 US gal) of water during a twelve-second 410-metre-long (1,350 ft) run on the water at 70 knots (130 km/h; 81 mph), then climb back to 15 m (49 ft) altitude. The aircraft can also pick up partial loads in smaller areas and can turn while scooping, if necessary.[9]

Operational history[edit]

World operators of the CL-415

Derived from its predecessor's nickname, it acquired the name, "Super Scooper" in light of its greatly enhanced performance as a water bomber and fire suppresser. In recognition of its abilities, the aircraft was awarded the Batefuegos de oro (gold fire extinguisher) by the Asociacion para la Promocion de Actividades Socioculturales. The award citation in part read "This is the most efficient tool for the aerial combat of forest fires, key to the organization of firefighting in a large number of countries. The continuous improvements to meet the needs of forest firefighting have made these aircraft the aerial means most in demand over more than 30 years."[10]

Of the 95 built, seven have been removed from service due to accidents.[11]


The original model, 86 built.
Maritime patrol version, 3 built.[12]
Improved version for the Hellenic Air Force, 6 built.
Enhanced Aerial Firefighter[13]


Croatian airforce CL-415 right before refilling in Živogošće
Two Hellenic Air Force CL-415 refilling off the coast of Atlit to fight the 2010 Mount Carmel forest fire
French Sécurité Civile CL-415 dropping water

In 2016/2019, there were 164 in-service CL-215 and CL-415s in 11 countries.[14]

CL-215(T)/415 in service as of mid-2016
Country Fleet[15] Operators
Canada 64 2019 figures, all others 2016. Air Spray, Buffalo Airways, Conair Group, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Service aérien gouvernemental (Quebec), Longview Aviation Asset Management Corp., Longview Aviation Services Inc., Province of Manitoba, Ministry of Natural Resources (Ontario), Ministry of Environment (Saskatchewan)
Croatia 6 Croatian Air Force, 885th Firefighting Squadron
France 12 Sécurité Civile
Greece 18 Hellenic Air Force
Italy 19 Protezione Civile
South Korea 1
Malaysia 2 Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (firefighting)[16]
Morocco 5
Spain 21 Spanish Air Force, Unidad Militar de Emergencias
Turkey 9
United States 4 Los Angeles County FD, San Diego County, United States Forest Service
Undisclosed 3
Total 164

Specifications (CL-415)[edit]

Data from Viking[17]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Capacity: 6,137 l (1,350 imp gal; 1,621 US gal) (waterbombing), up to 18 paratroops, up to 2,903 kg (6,400 lb) of cargo
  • Length: 20.4 m (66 ft 11 in)
  • Wingspan: 28.38 m (93.11 ft)
  • Height: 9.01 m (29.55 ft)
  • Wing area: 100 m2 (1,080 sq ft)
  • Aspect ratio: 8.03
  • Empty weight: 13,608 kg (30,000 lb)
  • Gross weight: 21,319 kg (47,000 lb) Maximum After-scooping Weight
  • Max takeoff weight: 19,890 kg (43,850 lb) Firefighting, Land
  • Fuel capacity: 4,650 kg (10,250 lb)
  • Cabin volume: 35.6 m3 (1,260 cu ft)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PW123AF turboprop, 1,775 kW (2,380 hp) each ISA+20ºC Flat rated
  • Propellers: 4-bladed Hamilton Sunstrand 14SF-19, 3.97 m (13 ft 0 in) diameter Fully reversible, feathering blades


  • Maximum speed: 359 km/h (223 mph, 194 kn) Max Cruise
  • Cruise speed: 333 km/h (207 mph, 180 kn) Normal Cruise
  • Stall speed: 126 km/h (78 mph, 68 kn) MLW, Landing Configuration
  • Ferry range: 2,427 km (1,508 mi, 1,310 nmi) 278 km/h (150 kn) Long Range Cruise
  • Endurance: 3 hours at 200 nmi (370 km) from base
  • g limits: +3.25 g to -1.0 g
  • Rate of climb: 5.9 m/s (1,170 ft/min) (ISA, MTOW)
  • Wing loading: 212.5 kg/m2 (43.52 lb/sq ft) Maximum After-scooping
  • Takeoff (ISA): 783 m (2,569 ft) (land), 814 m (2,671 ft) (water)
  • Landing (ISA): 674 m (2,211 ft) (land), 665 m (2,182 ft) (water)


See also[edit]

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era



  1. ^ "Amphibious aircraft – Status report – Bombardier". Archived from the original on 2013-11-08.
  2. ^ Bombardier CL 415 cost Archived March 28, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Bombardier 415." Retrieved: April 13, 2010.
  4. ^ "Viking Air to buy type certificates for Bombardier amphibians". Flight International. June 21, 2016.
  5. ^ "Bombardier Announces a Definitive Agreement for the Sale of its Amphibious Aircraft Program to Viking Air Limited" (Press release). Bombardier. June 20, 2016.
  6. ^ "Viking Air Limited Acquires Worldwide CL-415 Waterbomber Program from Bombardier" (Press release). Viking Air. June 20, 2016. Archived from the original on June 23, 2016.
  7. ^ "Viking completes acquisition of Bombardier's amphibious aircraft programme". Flight Global. 3 October 2016.
  8. ^ "TRU Simulation provides CL-415 FFS training". Civil Aviation Training. 12 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Firefighting Techniques and Technologies: Water scooping." Retrieved: April 13, 2010.
  10. ^ "Bombardier 415 SuperScooper Amphibious Aircraft." Retrieved: June 11, 2017.
  11. ^ "Canadair CL-415." Archived December 5, 2007, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved: July 29, 2011.
  12. ^ "CL-415 MP Aircraft | Viking's Aerial Firefighter". Retrieved 2018-11-21.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Amy Laboda (October 12, 2018). "Viking Air Preps for Fire Season, Updates Water Scooper Line". AIN online.
  15. ^ "In Service Aircraft". Viking.
  16. ^ "MMEA uses 198,000 litres of water to fight forest fire in Miri". Bernama. The Malay Mail. 16 August 2019. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  17. ^ "Firefighting > Specifications". Viking.


External links[edit]