Canadair CL-215, unique amphibious aircraft designed to fight forest fires with water bombing and chemical fire retardants. It can scoop up a load of over 5000 litres of water in 10 seconds while skimming over a body of water, and jettison it over a fire in less than 1 second. It first flew October 1969 and is still in use, although it went out of production in 1989.
The turbo prop Canadair 415, whose production began in 1991, was designed and built specifically for fire fighting and replaced the piston engine Canadair CL-215. The 415 is a water bomber that can scoop up to 6137 litres of water from a nearby water source, mix it with foam suppressant if desired, and drop it on a fire without having to return to base to refill its tanks. It was developed to provide the capability to deliver massive quantities of suppressant to a fire in its initial stages, preventing it from getting out of control. With crews on alert, it can take off within 5 minutes of a fire call. The number of drops that can be achieved before refueling depends on many things, such as weather and terrain, but the aircraft can typically make 6 to 10 drops per hour, dropping 36 800 to 61 400 litres. That translates to 20 to 40 drops and 121 000 to 246 000 litres over 3 to 4 hours before refueling. The 415 makes its drops from 30 to 35 m above the treetops. It can operate under adverse weather conditions, fly over rough terrain and maneuver in mountainous regions. It can scoop water from the ocean with waves up to 1.2 m high. It has been purchased by Ontario, Québec, Greece, Croatia and Italy. Canadair aircraft are produced by Bombardier Aerospace.