BOMBARDIER HANDED over the first Canadair CL-415 amphibious fire fighting aircraft to France's Securite Civile on 13 June following modification to cure water-tank leakage problems. Operations are scheduled to begin by the end of June.

Launch-customer France had refused to take delivery of the CL-415 until problems of tank leakage and foaming had been cured, although the aircraft had already entered service successfully in Italy.

Leaks were reduced by tightening the drop-door closure mechanism, while flight tests demonstrated that the loss of capacity caused by the foaming of seawater in the tanks during scooping was no worse than that experienced with the earlier CL-215s already operated by France.

The Canadian Company, meanwhile, delivered two used examples of the piston-powered CL-215 to Croatia in May and has signed agreements to lease three CL-215s to Portugal and Sweden.

Portugal will operate two CL-215 firefighters from July to September, while Sweden's rescue service and coast guard will operate one CL-215 from June to August as part of an evaluation which could lead to a CL-415 order.

Bombardier plans a six-month sales tour of the Middle East, Asia and Australia with the turboprop-powered CL-415, from October.

Source: Flight International