Canada’s Conair Group is partnering with Falko to develop an air tanker with a 3,000 US gallon capacity based on the Avro RJ85. Conair, based at Abbotsford, in British Columbia, has developed air tanker conversions of numerous aircraft types, and operates almost fifty of them. Rick Pedersen, Senior Vice President of Conair, described the Avro RJ85 as an ideal basis for a modern, affordable, Type 1 airtanker. “As a later variant of the BAe 146, the Avro RJ85 is a younger aircraft which will give longer life, and with its higher design weights and better ‘hot and high’ performance it will be a more suitable aircraft for these demanding missions,” he said. “With the improved performance of the RJ85 coupled with what we believe to be a game-changing tank design, the RJ85 Airtanker will offer a significant improved mission capability compared to existing, new and proposed aircraft including the BAe 146-200.” The two companies announced their agreement at the Aerial Firefighting Conference and Exhibition, in Sacramento, California. Conair has already acquired former Lufthansa RJ85 N839AC (msn E2270 ex D-AVRI) and has begun converting her. She is expected to be ready for the 2013 fire season.
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