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Viking Buys CL-415 Business

Viking Air, of Victoria, has purchased the CL-415 program.

Viking Air, of Victoria, has purchased the CL-415 program.

Viking Aircraft, of Victoria, B.C. says there are no immediate plans to resume production of the CL-415 amphibious water bomber.

The company, which announced a deal to assume the type certificate for the iconic aircraft last week from Bombardier, told Canadian Aviator the focus of the deal is on supporting the existing fleet rather than resuming production.

Bombardier stopped making the turboprop amphib, which is one of only a few purpose-built aerial firefighting platforms built.

“Viking acquired the program because it sees a clear business opportunity in the parts and support side of the equation,” said Viking spokesman Trevor Zeck in an email. “Once the regulatory approvals are obtained and the transaction closes (estimated 60-90 days) Viking will be able to formally dig into the business and explore the opportunities which may be available.”

Most CL-415s are in use in Europe. They’re highly regarded but expensive (more than $40 million) and many firefighting jurisdictions are opting for smaller air tankers that are cheaper to buy and operate.

Bombardier said it gave up the waterbomber business to focus on its other product lines, most likely the CSeries airliner, which has strained the company coffers during its development.

A couple of big sales recently have provided a much-needed boost to the program but there will still be large investments required to spool up production.

Meanwhile, sales have dropped off for Viking’s new-production 400 Series Twin Otter and the CL-415 business is a diversification move by Viking.

Viking is getting 50,000 square feet of shop space at Calgary Airport ready for the CL-415 program and the company is anticipating adding 40 jobs, many of which will likely be filled by staff who were laid off the Twin Otter line.

99s Meet in Ottawa

Canada is hosting this year’s international conference of the 99s and representatives of the female pilots organization will be heading to Ottawa in early July. The Canadian wing of the historic group, which was founded by 99 pilots who named Amelia Earhart as their first president, will take place at the Delta Downtown hotel in
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Progressive Buys Brant

Progressive Air, which began as an engine builder in Kamloops, B.C., is continuing its aggressive expansion program with the acquisition of Brant Aero at Brantford Airport. The name will stay the same but Brant Aero will become the eastern Canada parts distribution centre for Progressive and build on the growth of the company in the
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NewLeaf Back in Business?

NewLeaf Travel is holding a “major” news conference on Thursday that likely will have something to do with its re-entry into the no-frills airline business. After a false start last fall because of some scrutiny by the Canadian Transportation Agency over its business model, the company announced that it had the approvals needed to book
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Twin Otters Headed to Antarctica

Two Twin Otters from Kenn Borek Air are on their way to the South Pole to evacuate someone with medical problems. The person has only been described as a seasonal employee with Lockheed Martin working at the Amundsen-Scott station at the Pole. Kenn Borek regularly flies in Antarctica in its summer but now is the
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Drone Awareness Program Announced

Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced a drone awareness program earlier this week aimed at re-enforcing the message that drones are not allowed near airports. Signs will be posted at airports across the country as a reminder that illegally flying the unmanned aircraft could result in major penalties. Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) VP of
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Lockheed On Offensive

Lockheed Martin is reiterating its often-made warning that Canadian businesses will lose out if Canada rejects the F-35. In yet another foray to Ottawa to try to keep Canada involved in the F-35 development program, the company sent Steve Over, the director of international business development north to press the company’s case for the fighter.
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$2,500 Fines in Hand-Prop Mishap

The owner of an Aeronca Chief that got away from him after he hand propped it in March of 2015 has apparently been fined $2,500 for three violations of the CARs. Transport Canada is only identifying the pilot as being from somewhere on the prairies but the incident it describes on March 27, 2015 is identical
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Glacier Crash Airplane “Too Low”

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good and three B.C. men are alive to pass along the lessons learned on a glacier near Whistler last Sunday. Vern Hannah, Zbigniew Jeynakiewicz and Alan Widelski were on a sight seeing flight from Pitt Meadows to Pemberton, near Whistler, when they got caught in a downdraft at low
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Northern Escape Event Celebrated

The 2016 Northern Escape event was held this past weekend in Toronto. This annual event included Friday night social, Saturday Expo and cocktail, Sunday brunch, and a visit to the Toronto Island Billy Bishop airport to view members’ aircraft. Notable attendees this year included the major airlines, flight centers, pilot associations, aviation colleges, authors, artists,
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99s Award Applications Available

Applications are now being accepted for the 99s Canadian Award in Aviation, which is given annually to organizations that “work to improve and preserve aviation in Canada.” The annual award of about $2,000 is presented annually by the national organization’s board of trustees on behalf of all Canadian 99s. “Since its inception, the award has
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