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6th of December 1993

The Canadair CL-415 water bomber made its first flight on this day in 1993. Now produced by Viking Air who bought the program from Bombardier in 2016 the amphibious water bomber is the successor of the successful Canadair CL-215, of which 125 were produced.

(Viking Air had previously bought the DHC-1 Chipmunk up t and including the DASH-7 out of production programs from Bombardier)

A CL-415 water bomber (©Maarten Visser)

In 1987 the program of upgrading of the CL-215 to CL-215T (re-engining the CL-215 with turboprops replacing the Pratt & Whitney R-2800-83AM 18-cyl air-cooled radial piston engines, by P&W Canada PW123AF) got underway. This program was started in 1987 driven by the market wanting more efficient, reliable and powerful turboprop engines Besides the engine upgrade other (airframe) improvements were incorporated;

  • Powered flight controls

  • Air conditioning

  • Upgrade electrical system

  • Upgraded avionics

  • Aerodynamic improvements to wings and tail

the CL-415 program got underway in the early '90s of the last century as a further improved version of the CL-215T. The CL-415 would be a new-build aircraft. Besides the water bomber version, Bombardier was planning a six point improvement plan for the aircraft to diversify its use into a SAR (Search And Rescue) or utility role. Additional to the CL-215T improvements the CL-415 had some more improvements/changes;

  • Water release system

  • More aerodynamic improvements

  • Increased operating weight

  • Higher speed limits

  • Engines moved closer to the fuselage

  • Winglets

Italian CL-415 refilling, spilling excess water through underwing overflow ports Horticultural marxist)

Besides the water tanks, the CL-415 can carry a load of fire fighting foam which can be mixed with the water. The water tank of the CL-415 holds 6140 litres (1620 US Gallon0 of water, which can be filled in 12 seconds over a distance of 410 meters (1350 feet) at a sped of 70 knots (130 kph - 81 mph). Release of the water is selected via the water status panel which allows the crew to select different water drop patterns, As a safety, a manual emergency dump lever is installed. There are different variants in use, an overview;

  • CL-415 (86 built) Original (baseline) model

  • CL-415MP (three built) Maritime Patrol version

  • CL-415GR (6 built) Special version for the Greek Airforce. The main difference from CL-415 are higher operating weights

  • CL-415EAF (6 ordered in 2019) EAF stands for Enhanced Aerial FIrefighter.

  • CL-515 (6 on order) A further updated version of the CL-415, under development by Viking Air. This is a multi-role version.

Specifications for the CL-415;


  • Crew: 2

  • Capacity: - 6,137 l (1,350 imp gal; 1,621 US gal) (waterbombing) or - up to 18 paratroops or - up to 2,903 kg (6,400 lb) of cargo Three view perspective of the CL-415

  • Length: 20.4 m (66 ft 11 in) (© Saggittarius A)

  • 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+20 °C 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: +3.25−1.0 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)

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