On 18 June 2019, the first of six Dash 8-Q400MRs ordered by France landed at the Sécurité Civile base Nimes-Garons, after a long flight from British Columbia. This Dash 8, built by Bombardier and modified by Conair and initially registered as C-FXFK, was slightly delayed from the planned schedule but just in time for the fire season.
This new aircraft (F-ZBMH/75, msn 4577), will join the two former Scandinavian Airlines Bombardier Dash 8-Q400s, modified by Cascade Aerospace, acquired in 2005. The next in line, C-GFKW (msn 4579 and code 76) was already seen at Toronto-Downsview (Ont) in May this year.
The new aircraft can fly 1,800 km at a speed of 600 km/h, and carry up to ten tons of retarding products. The aircraft is equipped with the AN Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS), providing an image in the visible or infrared spectrum, and a ventral 10,000 liters tank.
The six new Dash 8-Q400MRs will replace the ageing Firecats by 2024. For now the aircraft will be handled by the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) for acceptance procedures prior to active duty. It should show its new colours over Paris on Bastille Day parade.
Credit: Auran Jean Francois
Picture from the side: Bob Sauvary (while passing through Jersey on delivery).