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Canadair CL-415

Bombardier 415
A Bombardier 415 operating out of Dryden, Ontario on fire dispatch, September 2007
Role Amphibious water bomber
Manufacturer Canadair (Canada One Plant - Saint-Laurent, Quebec (1960s-1980s)
Bombardier Aerospace - Dorval, Quebec (1980s-present) and North Bay, Ontario (final assembly 1999-present)
First flight 6 December 1993
Introduction 1994
Status Active service
Primary users Canada
Number built 88[2]
Unit cost
$32 million CAD [3]
Developed from Canadair CL-215

The Bombardier 415 Superscooper (formerly Canadair CL-415 SuperScooper) is a Canadian amphibious aircraft purpose-built as a water bomber. It is an aircraft designed and built specifically for aerial firefighting and is based on the company's CL-215 flying boat. It is marketed in the United States as the "Superscooper."

Design and development

In 1987, following market trends towards more efficient, powerful and reliable turboprop powerplants, Canadair undertook the task of retrofitting 17 CL-215 airframes with the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW123AF engines, providing a 15% power increase over the original piston engines as well as enhanced reliability and safety. The retrofitted aircraft were designated CL-215T and also featured many aerodynamic and systems improvements including powered flight controls, cockpit air conditioning, as well as upgraded electrical and avionics systems. The most notable external features of the CL-215T retrofit were the aerodynamic additions to the wings and empennage.

Based on the success of the CL-215, the company introduced the CL-415, a new-build production series beginning in 1993. The 415 has an updated cockpit, aerodynamics enhancements and changes to the water-release system as well, creating a modern firefighting amphibious flying boat for use in detecting and suppressing forest fires.

Compared to the CL-215, the 415 has increased operating weight and speed, yielding improved productivity and performance. The 415 can scoop up to 6,140 litres (1350 Imperial gal or 1,620 US gal) of water from a nearby water source, mix it with a chemical foam if desired, and drop it on a fire without having to return to base to refill its tanks. The 415 was specifically developed to provide the capability to deliver massive quantities of suppressant in quick response to fires. The aircraft is built for reliability and longevity, with use of corrosion-resistant materials. The new 415GR has higher operating weights while the Bombardier 415 multi-role is available for use in a paramilitary search and rescue role and utility transport.

The 415 is currently assembled at the Bombardier Aerospace facility near North Bay/Jack Garland Airport in North Bay, Ontario, where the planes can occasionally be seen testing on Lake Nipissing.

Operational history

The 415 first flew on December 6, 1993, with the first deliveries in November 1994.[4] Orders from several countries soon followed. Derived from its predecessor's nickname, it acquired the name, "Super Scooper" in light of its greatly enhanced performance as a water bomber and fire suppresser. In recognition of its abilities, the aircraft was awarded the prestigious Batefuegos de oro (gold fire extinguisher). The award citation in part read "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."[5]

Of the 76 built, seven have been removed from service due to accidents.[6]

The aircraft requires 1,340 metres (4,400 ft) of flyable area to descend from 15 metres (49 ft) altitude, scoop 6,137 litres of water during a 12-second 410 metres (1,350 ft) long run on the water at 70 knots (130 km/h; 81 mph), then climb back to 15 m altitude. The aircraft can also pick up partial loads in smaller areas and can turn while scooping, if necessary.[7]


415 MP
415 GR


 United States


  • November 17, 1997 - Sécurité Civile CL-415 crashed in Marseilles, France with one fatality
  • August 16, 2003 - Società Ricerche Esperienze Meteorologiche CL-415 crashed in Esine, Italy with no fatalities
  • March 8, 2004 - Sécurité Civile CL-415 crashed in Lac Sainte-Croix, France with two fatalities
  • March 18, 2005 - Società Ricerche Esperienze Meteorologiche CL-415 crashed in Forte dei Marmi, Italy with two fatalities
  • August 1, 2005 - Sécurité Civile CL-415 crashed in Calenzana with two fatalities
  • July 23, 2007 - Hellenic Air Force CL-415 crashed in Dilesos, Greece with two fatalities
  • July 23, 2007 - Società Ricerche Esperienze Meteorologiche CL-415 crashed in Sant'Erasmo, Italy with one fatality
  • July 3, 2013 - Province of Newfoundland and Labrador CL-415 lost power while scooping water to fight fires in Wabush, Labrador. Plane submerged in shallow waters of Moosehead Lake and crew was rescued from wing.

Specifications (415)

Data from Bombardier Aerospace Website

General characteristics
  • Crew: 2 pilots
  • Additional Seating: one on jump seat, eight on bench seats
    • Payload: 6,400lb (2,900 kg)
    • Length: 65 ft (19.82 m)
    • Wingspan: 93 ft 11 in (28.6 m)
    • Height: 29 ft 3 in (8.9 m)
    • Wing area: 1,080 sq ft (100 sq m)
    • Airfoil: NACA 4417
  • Empty weight: 28,400 lb (12,880 kg)
  • Maximum fuel weight: 10,250 lb (4650 kg)
  • Maximum takeoff weight (from land, disposable load): 43,850 lb (19,890 kg)
  • Maximum takeoff weight (from land, non-disposable load): 41,000 lb (18,600 kg)
  • Maximum takeoff weight (from water): 37,850 lb (17,170 kg)
  • Max Capacity (Water or Retardant): 13,536 lb (6,140 kg)
  • Maximum weight after scooping: 47,000 lb (21,360 kg)
  • Maximum landing weight: 37,000 lb (16,780 kg)
  • Performance

    • Maximum speed: 223 mph (359 km/h (194 kt))
    • Cruise speed: 207 mph (333 km/h (180 kt))
    • Stall speed: 78 mph (126 km/h (68 kt))
    • Range: 1,518 miles (2,443 km)
    • Service ceiling: 14,700 ft (4,500 m)
    • Rate of climb: 1,600 ft/min (8.1 m/s)
    • Takeoff distance (ISA, land): 2,750 ft (840 m)
    • Takeoff distance (ISA, water): 2,670 ft (815 m)
    • Landing distance (ISA, land): 2,210 ft (675 m)
    • Landing distance (ISA, water): 2,180 ft (665 m)
    • Minimum water depth: 6 ft (1.8 m)


    • Honeywell Primus 2 Radio Navigation
    • RNZ-850 with ADF, VOR/ILS/Marker Beacon and DME
    • Litef/Honeywell LCR93, Attitude and Heading Reference System
    • Honeywell EDZ-605 EFIS with Dual EADI and EHSI
    • Radio Altimeter (Honeywell AA-300)
    • Parker-Gull Three-tube Active Matrix LCD Integrated Instrument Display System
    • Dual CIC/Aerosonics Air Data Computers
    • Dorne & Margolin ELT-8 Emergency Beacon

    See also

    Aviation portal
    Canada portal

    Related development
    Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era




    • Pickler, Ron and Larry Milberry. Canadair: The First 50 Years. Toronto: CANAV Books, 1995. ISBN 0-921022-07-7.
    • Keijsper, Gerard. "Water-Bombers Required!" Air Forces Monthly, London: Key Publishing, July 2008 Issue.
    • Marsaly, Frederic and Samuel Pretat. ISBN 978-2-95418-180-6.

    External links

    • The Canadair CL-215 & 415
    • Bombardier's homepage of the SuperScooper
    • Canadair CL-415 MP
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