The CL-215 was the first model in a series of purpose-built firefighting aircraft
built by Canadair and later Bombardier. This amphibious aircraft serves a number
of roles in a number of countries ranging from forest fire fighting to oil spill
control on the open sea. Also known as the "Super Scooper", the aircraft can
skim a lake or reservoir to fill its tanks with water to drop on a wildfire or
occasionally structure fires.
The CL-215 was the result of a quest by forestry officials for a more effective
way of delivering water to forest fires. Over a period of 20 years beginning in
1969, 125 of these aircraft were built, and were sold to customers in nine
countries. The 'yellow duck', as it is affectionately known, is a versatile
aircraft which can be fitted as a water bomber, an air transport for either
goods or passengers, a search and rescue aircraft, or a patrol and reconnaissance
The CL215 is a twin-engine, wing-over aircraft designed with the requirements
that it operate well at low speed and in gust-loading circumstances as are found
over forest fires. It is also able to land and takeoff from short, unpaved
airstrips. It is powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial engines especially
designed to operate in forest fire conditions.
The aircraft has a 5,346 litre (1,275 US gal) fluid capacity, and is able to
fill its tanks from a source as shallow as two metres in a mere 12 seconds.
In 1987, the CL-215T was announced, with improvements in handling brought about
by design changes to the wings and empennage, and more powerful Pratt and
Whitney turboprop engines.
There is a popular urban legend about a SCUBA diver being sucked up and dropped
onto a forest fire, both by a CL-215 and other water bombers. This has not only
been shown to be false, but impossible, as the water is scooped through intakes
smaller than a man.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Canadair CL-215".