Longview Aviation Services (LAS) of Calgary, Alta., in co-operation with Viking Air Limited of Victoria, B.C., announced the first Viking CL-415EAF “Enhanced Aerial Firefighter” has been delivered to launch customer Bridger Aerospace Group of Bozeman, Mont., U.S.A.
Bridger Aerospace became the launch customer for the Viking CL-415EAF “Enhanced Aerial Firefighter” program after signing a multiple aircraft purchase agreement in May of 2018. The contract with all options exercised is valued at $204 million and covers the sale of six CL-415EAF amphibious aerial firefighting aircraft.
Manufacturer’s serial number (MSN) 1081, the first Canadair CL-215 to undergo the major
modification to the EAF “Enhanced Aerial Firefighter” configuration, took its inaugural flight on March 9, 2020 outside of program-collaborator Cascade Aerospace’s facility in Abbotsford, B.C.
After application of Bridger’s livery at International Aerospace Coatings’ facility in Spokane, Wash., MSN 1081 flew over the central Rocky Mountain range to Bozeman, Mont., for delivery to Bridger Aerospace in advance of the 2020 North American wildfire season.
Tim Sheehy, founder and CEO of Bridger Aerospace Group, stated, “Aggressive initial attack and advanced technology in support of the wildland firefighter are the core of Bridger’s ethos. The Viking CL-415EAF is the most capable initial attack asset on the planet and we are proud to be the launch customer for this incredible capability.”
Robert Mauracher, executive vice-president of Sales and Marketing for Viking, commented, “We are very excited and proud to be delivering our first Viking CL-415EAF Enhanced Aerial Firefighter to Bridger Aerospace in time for the 2020 North American wildfire season. The delivery of our first Enhanced Aerial Firefighter is the culmination of a multi-faceted collaborative project originally launched in 2018 and represents the solid partnership that has developed between Viking, LAS, and Bridger over the past 24 months. We are now looking forward to adding a second aircraft to their fleet in the coming months.”
The CL-415EAF “Enhanced Aerial Firefighter” modification program, announced in 2018 as a collaboration between the two subsidiaries of Longview Aviation Capital, provides an economic boost throughout Western Canada derived from job creation, aerospace manufacturing innovation, supply chain development, academic partnerships, and global export opportunities.
The Viking CL-415EAF modification program forms part of a staged approach to utilize the advancements made with the LAS converted aircraft as the basis for the proposed next-generation Viking CL-515 new-production aerial firefighting and multi-purpose amphibious aircraft.
The Viking CL-415EAF “Enhanced Aerial Firefighter” is a specially selected CL-215
airframe converted to turbine configuration using Viking-supplied conversion kits. It features a new Collins Pro Line Fusion integrated digital avionics suite, Pratt & Whitney PW123AF turbine engines, increased fire-retardant capacity, and improvements to numerous aircraft systems.
The Viking CL-415EAF represents the evolution of the type, providing best-in-class water drop performance utilizing the higher delivery two-door water drop system combined with a zero-timed maintenance program and a “new aircraft” factory-supported warranty program. All obsolete components impacting the worldwide fleet of CL-215 & CL-415 aircraft are replaced in the CL- 415EAF, and the upgraded aircraft is designed to failsafe FAR 25 certification criteria with no preset life limit.
The very short scooping distance of the CL-415EAF aircraft is expected to outperform competitors from initial attack to sustained major fire suppression, and the combination of safety and longevity represents exceptional value inherent in purpose-built aerial firefighting amphibious aircraft.
The CL-415EAF aircraft is the only aerial firefighter with factory OEM support offered by Viking’s Customer Service and Product Support division, including management of all Continuing Airworthiness, warranty items, in-service engineering, initial provisioning, as well as offering Viking’s M+ all-inclusive maintenance support program. All improvements and obsolescence issues addressed in the CL-415EAF aircraft will become the new aircraft production standard in the manufacture of an all new, next generation CL-515 multi-purpose amphibious aircraft.