Longview Aviation Asset Management (LAAM) of Calgary announced Bridger Aerospace Group of Bozeman, Montana, as the first multiple-aircraft launch customer for the Viking CL-415EAF “Enhanced Aerial Firefighter” conversion program.
Bridger Aerospace has signed a firm aircraft purchase agreement with LAAM for up to five Viking CL-415EAF aircraft, with the first two aircraft scheduled for delivery in early 2020 timed to support the 2020 aerial firefighting season in the United States, and the remaining three aircraft delivered in subsequent years.
To initiate the CL-415EAF program, eleven specially selected CL-215 candidate aircraft will be supplied by LAAM and undergo the modification process at LAAM’s Calgary facilities utilizing Viking supplied conversion kits. LAAM expects to employ nearly two-hundred technical and support staff members in the coming months and is currently working with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) to develop innovative technologies and provide assistance in support of this program.
With the execution of the aircraft purchase agreement, Bridger’s Founder & President Tim Sheehy stated, “We are pleased to be the launch customer for LAAM and Viking’s new Enhanced Aerial Firefighter aircraft program. Bridger has continually positioned itself on the forefront of next-generation aerial firefighting techniques and this is yet another step in that direction. We look forward to receiving these aircraft to combat the ever-increasing wildfire danger in the United States, and we believe that the CL-415EAF aircraft is an ideal platform for that mission.”
Robert Mauracher, Chief Operating Officer for LAAM, commented, “We are very excited to be partnering with Bridger Aerospace as the first international launch customer for the CL-415EAF program. Bridger’s recognition of the benefits offered by an amphibious aircraft to protect the environment and local communities throughout the United States is a key indicator of the suitability of the CL-415EAF for the US firefighting market, and we look forward to working together in the development of these aircraft.”
LAAM converted CL-215 aircraft will form the basis of the Viking CL-415EAF aircraft, complete with a new 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 2-door water drop system combined with a zero-timed maintenance program and factory-supported warranty program. All obsolete components impacting the worldwide fleet of CL-215 & CL-415 aircraft will be replaced in the CL-415EAF, and the upgraded aircraft will be designed to failsafe FAR 25 certification criteria with no preset life limit.
The very short scooping distance of the CL-415EAF aircraft will 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 completed CL-415EAF aircraft is the only aerial firefighter with factory OEM support offered by Viking’s Customer Service & 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 by Viking for the CL-415EAF aircraft will become the new aircraft production standard should Viking elect to launch the manufacture of an all-new, next-generation CL-515 multi-purpose amphibious aircraft.