Hmmm, is there a news story waiting to be told about the CL 415?

Alberta-air-tanker-202

CL 415 (PHOTO CREDIT: Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, via FIRE AVIATION)

Editor’s report:  It’s all news to me, but apparently Bombardier’s (a Canadian aircraft company) CL 415 has been around since the 1990s.  It’s the only aircraft, according to what I read this morning, “built from the ground up” as a firefighting instrument.  One of its chief firefighting virtues is that it can refuel from a suitable lake or river without landing — that is, by skimming above and scooping in gallons of water.  Here’s a recent home video of the plane performing this singular and pretty remarkable feat at the Arkansas River in Oklahoma.  Wikipedia’s article on the CL 415 craft says a total of 95 of these tankers have been built.  I haven’t been able to unearth exactly how many the U.S. Forest Service owns or leases.  But the number may be no more than two or three, with a leased CL 415 based at Lake Tahoe.  But here’s the thing, and the aspect of this plane’s story that caught my eye this morning.  Last year was of course a record year for wildfire in the U.S.; moreover, upcoming years, unfortunately, also suggest a “new normal” in the nation’s wildfire threat.  Yet, an Oct. 2015 article in FIRE AVIATION reported that Bombardier was forced to shut down the CL 415’s production because of lack of demand.  Really?  Seems odd, doesn’t it — given the new and worrisome scourge that wildfire now represents for wooded North America?  Is there a news story buried in the CL 415’s untimely demise that deserves more exploration at depth?  Gotta wonder.

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One Response to Hmmm, is there a news story waiting to be told about the CL 415?

  1. Leslee Stanley says:

    Sure makes you wonder. They must be too efficient.

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