North Bay, On – The Bombardier 415 amphibious aircraft is unique to say the least. It is the benchmark by which other firefighting aircraft are judged. No other aircraft can stay on station fighting a forest fire longer than the ‘415’ – four hours on station to be exact. Cruising across the surface of a lake, river or large pond (sites as small as 2 metres deep and 90 meters wide) at 70 knots (130 kilometres per hour), the ‘415’ takes only 12 seconds and 410 meters to scoop up 6,137 litres or 1,621 US Gallons of water – hence the nickname – The Superscooper – and it’s 100 per cent Canadian designed and manufactured.
The fuselage and the wing sections are assembled at the Bombardier Mirabel plant near Montréal, Quebec by members of IAMAW Local Lodge 712. The sections are then transported to North Bay, Ontario where the engines are married the wing and the wing is married to the fuselage, avionics and flight controls are installed and then flight tested by members of IAMAW Local Lodge 2412. Since the program was launched in 1991 as a replacement to the piston-engine ‘215’ water bomber, the members at North Bay have produced 79 of the big birds with customer satisfaction growing with each delivery. The most recent aircraft, the second of two delivered to the province of Newfoundland, received a record 6.87 rating out of a possible 7 in customer satisfaction. The group’s normal satisfaction rating is an impressive 6.25. “A great deal of pride and dedication to excellence goes into every aircraft we produce here,” said IAMAW LL 2412 Chief Steward Allan Maitland. “The latest rating is a tribute to the workforce here in North Bay.”
Collin Nelson, a Structures Technician, is about to apply sealant to the nacelle access doors of the 2,380 hp Pratt and Whitney Canada PW123AF turboprop engines which power the ‘415’
Nathaniel Morrow, a pre-flight mechanic adjusts the elevator rigging on the ‘415’
A Birdseye view of the ‘415’ cockpit where Graham Sterrett, a pre-flight mechanic adjusts aileron rigging
It’s a big thumbs up from the members of IAMAW Local Lodge 2412 who established a record for customer satisfaction with the delivery of two ‘415’ water bombers to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.