Viking Aerial Firefighter aircraft dropping water on a fire

Manufactured specifically for firefighting, Viking Aerial Firefighting aircraft are capable of employing a range of firefighting techniques as determined by mission requirements. These include scooping large volumes of water from nearby sources such as lakes, and the ability to combine retrieved water with a foam suppressant. 

The CL-415 and CL-415EAF can minimize loss due to forest fires by making repeat and frequent drops without having to reload or return to base.

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Water Scooping

Water scooping is a highly effective firefighting technique that requires an aircraft to scoop a large volume of water from a source, such as a river or lake, and dropping a mix of water and fire suppressant over the fire. The CL-415EAF can scoop water from a site that is as small as two metres (6.5 feet) deep and 90 metres (300 feet) wide. If the designated water site doesn’t have the capacity for a full water load, a partial load will be used and the CL-415EAF aircraft will make multiple trips, returning to the fire.

This highly-maneuverable aircraft allows pilots to navigate around obstacles such as river bends, still in flying mode, while scooping water.

To scoop up a 5,447-litre (1,439-US gallon) load of water, it takes the CL-415EAF aircraft only 12 seconds, travelling at 130 km/h (70 knots) and covering 410 metres (1,350 feet).

Water Scooping Specifications

Scooping Time12 seconds
Water Volume Scooped5,447 litres
(1,439 US gallons)
Water Mass Scooped6,137 kilograms
(13,500 pounds)
Water Pickup Distance410 metres
(1,350 feet)
Total Distance*1,340 metres
(4,400 feet)

*includes descent from 15 metres (50 feet) and climb-out to 15 metres (50 feet)

Scooping Sequence

The principle of initial attack is to reach wildfires as quickly as possible once detected. The CL-415 departs from the base to make the first drop on the first pass, then reloads for subsequent drops. The CL-415 can reload up to 6,137 litres in 12 seconds.

Aerial firefighting scooping sequence diagram

Aerial Direct Attack helps contain wildfires by continuously distributing massive volumes of water and fire suppressant liquid to the “hot spot” of the fire.

Aerial direct attack diagram

Firefighting Foam

Firefighting foam is a highly effective technology used for fire suppression in both urban and rural settings. The foam itself is mixed with water to increase its heat absorption capability, enabling the cessation of flames and allowing for crews to complete the fire extinguishing mission.


  • Improve drop coverage: The foam and water concoction expands and doubles the drop area. For pilots, the firefighting foam can easily be seen from the air, allowing better viability to maximize coverage.
  • Protect vegetation and structures: The foam increases moisture penetration, creates an air barrier and reflecting radiant heat. The firefighting foam also clings to structure surfaces, such as trees, to provide additional protection.
  • Suppress flames: Used directly on the fire, the foam suppressant reduces flame height, fire intensity and smoke, creating improved safety for ground crews and pilots as well as better visibility for firefighting aircraft to operate. 
  • Increase firefighting mission cost effectiveness: Using a typical 0.4% concentration of foam, a 6000-litre (1585-gallon) water load requires only 24 litres (6.4 gallons) of foam concentrate.

Drop Patterns

Aerial firefighting drop patterns diagram


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