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Spanish Water Bombers Feelin' The Heat

Another video has been produced about the 43rd Grupo (Group) Firefighting Squadron of the Spanish Air Force highlighting some incredible missions from the Spanish based firefighting squadron operating Canadair CL215s. ( More...

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I've watched both these planes and the older land bound water bombers that had to land to refill in action in Minnesota. This film makes it look like a combat mission, formation flying, high speed runs on the target, all that.

This target doesn't shoot back. The ones I've seen working a fire take their time lining up and working with the ground controller and aerial spotter to try to make the drop count. They are very impressive coming in low and slow and the CL215/415 are designed from the ground up for this mission.

The biggest advantage over the older WWII B25's and B 17's that used to do this is that they don't have to land at a tanker base to refill and can thus put a lot more water and retardant ahead of the flames.

Still, it was a neat way to see and hear some WWII planes flying back in the day.

Are they effective? In the right fire, yes. They can put way more water on the ground than a helicopter and can get into places like the middle of a peat bog that ground based equipment just can't get to.

Our fire season is in late April and May, after the snow is gone and before things have greened up. Helicopters have the advantage that they can work small open spots in lakes and streams to get water. The CL 215's aren't much use until the ice is off the lakes. Minnesota uses both.
WOW...GREAT Video...BUFFALO AIRLINES delivered 2 similar planes to TURKEY(PLEASE someone correct me if I'm wrong) on one episode....INCREDIBLE PLANES...Awesome video and the OFFSPRING soundtrack works great !

thank you
96flstc 1
incredible teamwork and airmanship
Rob Harrison 1
A loss of 25% of the fleet, 9 fatal accidents, and 15 casualties, even in 40 years, is totally unacceptable. What is it that these aviators, good sticks all, are saving that is worth such a human cost? This easily predictable tragedy is one of the reasons I was such a vociferous opponent of this airplane during my career with the U S Forest Service. Large helicopters can do a better, safer job, probably more economically. The scoopers are a wonderful publicity tool, for the uneducated public and naïve politician, but a very inefficient firefighting tool. Rob Harrison, Program Leader for Aviation, U. S. Forest Service Technology and Development Center (ret.)
Jim Swift 1
I see the CL215s in this picture have both the piston engines and the new ones have the P&W Canada turbos. The Province of BC in Canada is using the new Fire Boss bombers. They have six of them and they do a tremendous job.
Mark Holm 1
Rob Harrison, I am curious. Are you opposed to the CL-215/415 series in particular? To piston powered fire bombers vs. turbine powered? To all fixed wing fire bombers? To larger vs. smaller fixed wing fire bombers? Perhaps your problem is with the low altitude attack and skimming refill flight profile?

I have to say that I am perplexed by the conversions of jetliners to fire bombers. It seems that wings and engines optimized for high speed, high altitude flight are, even with slats and flaps deployed, a poor match for the low speed, low altitude mission. The BAE-146 conversions appear to be somewhere in the middle, since the 146 has less wing sweep and was designed from the start for getting in and out of shorter runways and for lower and slower flight than most jetliners.
btweston 1


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