Viking CL-415EAF “Enhanced Aerial Firefighter” Conversion Program Launches
Longview Aviation Asset Management (LAAM), a sister company of Viking Air Limited which builds the CL-415 Aerial Firefighter has launched the Viking CL-415EAF (“Enhanced Aerial Firefighter”) Conversion Program. Slated to generate up to 150 new jobs in Calgary, the company will convert and modify 11 acquired CL-215 firefighters to the upgraded turbine version.
Finding qualified staff for the project is a critical and difficult undertaking, hence the company says it is reinstating its “Viking Academy” paid-training program to provide successful job applicants with the targeted technical training required for the open positions. Both Longview Aviation Asset Management (LAAM) who own the planes and Viking are working with local post-secondary institutions to develop innovative technologies and provide training assistance for the program. The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) has been engaged for personnel training in Alberta, and Viking is actively developing partnerships with companies participating in the British Columbia Technology Super Cluster initiative.
The Viking CL-415EAF Conversion Program forms part of a staged approach to utilize the advancements made with the LAAM converted aircraft as the basis for the proposed Viking CL-515 new-production amphibious aerial firefighting aircraft which will feature updated avionics. To facilitate the launch of the new aircrafts manufacturing program, Viking has applied to the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) from the federal Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) for funding support.
The CL-415 was developed from the piston powered CL-215 Series 5 aircraft in combination with the advances from the “T” conversion program. Some improvements over the CL-215, which first appeared on the CL-215T, include winglets and finlets, higher operating weights, an increased capacity firebombing system, (1621 US gal from 1440 US gal) and the addition of a foam injection system. The aircraft is powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW 100 engines.