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Videos: Up Close Refilling of a Bombardier 415 Superscooper

More than 800 firefighters have been battling the Colby wildfire in southern California for several days. In addition to the firefighters on the ground, a few brave pilots have been fighting the fire from the sky. At Santa Fe Dam Recreational Area in Irwindale, CA, the pilots of a Bombardier 415 Superscooper owned by the Government of Québec have been touching down to refill their 1,620 gallon tank on the go. ( More...

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I've been to Irwindale once watching these aircarft operate, and I just cant leave! :)
Bror Monberg 3
Amazing flying and nice photography. Quebec 1 and Quebec 2. They were invaluable containing the Colby fire. These pilots are simply the best.
joel wiley 3
Always good to see them, and glad they could bring them in. Bad news- California is in a drought, fire season has opened in January, not June, lake levels are down everywhere. where will these planes be drawing water in August?
Now THAT is flying....what a blast!
BTW the "runs " by these aircarft are not marked by spotters and smoke drops , as stated below.
joel wiley 1
My bad. It is my understanding that when air assets are called in an Air Boss is assigned to coordinate them. Whenever CDF (Now CalFire) is managing the fire that usually means someone is in the air over the fire directing the drops. The spotters marking with smoke was an observation of the videos on the Rim fire.
oowmmr 2
I'd be out there to see those 415s.
Mark Lansdell 1
I've been unable to view what ever is on the other side of "more" Can someone please post the link to the video or article. Thanks much
"More" will only bring you back to the same page. To see the article with the embedded videos simply click on the title or on the in brackets before the "more".
Mark Lansdell 1
Thanks. One day I'll learn me to work one o them things. All this time I though I'd been clicking on more.
I appreciate the help, but feel dumb as a paint can.
No problem. I suppose "More" should working, but sometimes it just brings you back to the same page like a dog chasing it's tail.
Mark Lansdell 1
That's exactly what it did throughout this issue of the news letter
Adam York 1
I think he hits a bird in the first video
Yeah, I saw that - but I downloaded the video and watched it in "frame-by-frame" - the bird got out of the way, but I bet he is still nervous abut it!
oowmmr 1
Sure looked like it.
Ray Fencl 1
Just like flying my Lake Buccaneer LA-400. Well, almost LOL!
Rob Harrison 0
The Bombardiers are good for publicity, but not a lot more. They drop water, not retardant, so they can't build fire line. They are not as accurate nor as quick-responding as the big helicopters, and much more expensive to operate. The thing that makes a good tanker is the tank. A good tank is tall, narrow, and long. The Canadair tank is squat, wide, and short. Compare the photos of the beautiful, contained, and precise drops by the S2s, for instance, with the random disgorging from the CLs. But I am the first to admit they are a hoot to fly!
ColonelHoagie 3
Having been inside a CL-415 and living right by where they are built, I can confirm that the they do mix the water with a retardant foam inside the tanks. Also, the tanks are vertical along the sides of the aircraft, not flat. Yes, they do not carry much, but it is more that a helicopter with a bucket scoop. They are also much faster than the CL-215 before it, faster than any helicopter, and can refill on any body of water at least 5,000 ft long within seconds.
joel wiley 3
When your only tool is a hammer, everything tends to look like a nail. The Bombardier is a Canadian tool better suited to wetter climates where an abundance of lakes makes reloads more convenient. Western wildfires tend to be a different animal. That said, an extra bucket in the bucket brigade is welcome.
Of course the CL-415 are perfectly suited to fight fires in the boreal forest of Canada with the abundance of lakes. You are never more than a few minutes away from a place to scoop up another load, but from what I see on maps, this is also the case for the Colby fire. Therefore the turn-around time for a CL-415 for this fire can not be equalled by any other type of aircraft, be it a helicopter or a S2. The same cannot be said about many of the brush fires in southwestern USA, I agree.

The CL-415 does have an on-board tank for retardants to be mixed in with the water they scoop up. This tank is big enough to allow them 13 runs at the fire before going back to base. I have no idea if this retardant is the same that Rob is talking about, maybe you can clarify it?

As for precision dropping, I know our Canadian pilots, like the ones in the video that are from Quebec, do a pretty good job. I remember seeing a video where they put out a truck fire on Trans-Labrador gravel road before it start a forest fire.
joel wiley 3
Not to mention that the runs are led by a spotter plane. If you go back to the videos of the C130's on the Rim fire last year, you can listen to the radios where the spotter's directions include " I want you to start your drop here.... and end here" and marking the spots with smoke.
That sort of helps accuracy.


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