March 5, 2007 When Bombardier Aerospace received the Batefuegos de oro award from the Asociacion para la Promocion de Actividades Socioculturales (APAS) for the "Greatest technological advancement in firefighting" last December, the jury described the company’s range-topping SuperScooper 415 as the “most efficient tool for the aerial combat of forest fires.” The 415 is the latest in a line of Bombardier amphibious aircraft which began with the CL-215 in the 1960s, though its capabilities are awesome compared to its predecessors. Though it only has a top speed of 359 km/h (224 mph), in an average mission of 11 kilometres (six nautical miles) distance from water to fire, it can complete nine drops within an hour, delivering 55,233 litres (14,589 U.S. gallons). Also known as the Superscooper aicraft, is a high-wing, all-metal amphibious aircraft designed specifically for aerial firefighting. It features a four-compartment, four-door water tank system that can hold 6137 litres (1621 US gallons) of water/foam mixture and refills its tanks by skimming the surface of any suitable body of water.
The Bombardier 415, although externally similar to its predecessor the CL-215, is quite a new machine. It features Pratt & Whitney Canada turboprops, an air-conditioned glass cockpit, and powered flight controls. Compared to the CL-215, it has increased operating weight and speed yielding improved productivity. Aircraft systems have been updated for easier maintainability.
In its firefighting configuration, the Bombardier 415 is ideal for initial attack on forest fires; getting to the fire at the earliest stages and repeatedly dropping large amounts of fire suppressing foam.
Since the first delivery of its latest model Bombardier 415 aircraft in 1994, Bombardier Aerospace has delivered 64 Bombardier 415 aircraft to firefighting agencies in Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Ontario, Quebec and Spain. In the Mediterranean region, France, Croatia, Greece, Italy and Spain currently operate 42 Bombardier 415 amphibious aircraft and Spain operates 14 CL-215T turboprop aircraft and recently acquired a Bombardier 415. In addition, 26 CL-215 piston aircraft remain in service fighting fires in Europe.
The Bombardier 415 amphibian is also well suited to other missions such as law enforcement, search and rescue, utility transport and environmental control.
The Bombardier 415 production program was launched in October of 1991 and first flew in December 1993. The first aircraft was delivered in November 1994.
The following text was read as part of the Batefuegos de oro award presentation:
"In the 60s the company designed the amphibious aircraft Canadair CL-215, which has evolved in the 90s into the CL-215T and later into the Bombardier 415. 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."