Jeremy Shaw’s Canadair CL-215


The CL-215 was initially developed to meet the need for an aircraft designed expressly to fight forest fires. In the early 1960s, Canadair produced several designs using floats. Further studies, however, established that rough water would restrict floatplane operations. The design was therefore changed first to a flying boat with a strut-braced, pylon-mounted parasol wing, then to an amphibian with a full fuselage, shoulder wing configuration. The CL-215 was powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines. It work for over four hours and drop loads of 5,400 litres of water scooped as the aircraft skimmed over the surface of a lake, river or sheltered bay, at approximately 130 km/h.

In February 1966 a 30-aircraft production program was started. Twenty were built for the Province of Quebec and ten for France. The CL-215 made its first flight on October 23, 1967. Canadian type approval was granted in March 1969 and deliveries started in June of that year.

When a newly-elected Quebec government cut the province’s order to 15, the five surplus aircraft were quickly snapped up by France, Spain and Greece. After the 30-aircraft program was completed and no with no other orders, the production line was dismantled and the jigs put into storage. After operating their CL-215s for a season or two Spain and Greece asked for additional aircraft and Canadair went back into production with another series of 20 aircraft. This continued batch by batch over a period of 23 years until five series and 125 aircraft had been produced. These were supplied to six Canadian Provinces and two Territories, plus France, Spain, Greece, Italy, Yugoslavia, Thailand and Venezuela. CL-215 production ended in 1990.

Model Details

Jeremy produced his own drawings from three view drawings supplied by Canadair. They also gave him some other excellent drawings and construction details.

Work on the model started in 1989 and took one year to complete. A lot of the construction was done by John Newberry. The construction was of a traditional nature using ply and balsa wood. Flying surfaces were made from foam and glass covered. The complicated scale folding undercarriage was built by Ray Slack. The model was covered in large sheets of thin card of about postcard thickness.



The model was originally flown on Zenoah 62cc engines fitted with reduction gears. This was underpowered so alternative engines were sought. The replacement engines were 124cc 5-cylinder ‘Saturn’ radial glow engines based on the cylinder, piston and crankshafts of Laser engines. The building of the engines was done by Ray Slack who modified the crankshafts and built the cases. Neil Tidy of Laser engines also gave a lot of help during this project. The end result was adequate power and a very realistic sound.

As you can see, the model was fully amphibious and enjoyed many flights from water. The model flew well over three years and had approximately 50 flights before it spun-in after an engine cut and an attempted landing circuit.

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