The Canadair CL-215 was the first aircraft ever designed specifically for Water Bombing. While the PBY Canso was modified from it's role as a military submarine patrol aircraft, the CL-215 was created as an actual Water Bomber.
After departing the airport, the CL-215 crew of two heads directly for a suitable "scooping" lake as close to the forest fire as possible. An inspection run is made on the lake to insure that it is of suitable length and has no obstructions which could hamper the safety of the aircraft and flight crew. The aircraft then touches down on the lake and scoops 12000 lbs of water into the internal tanks within ten seconds. At this point the water pickup probes are retracted and the aircraft leaps into the air, heading towards the fire.
The Air Attack Officer on board the birddog aircraft instructs the water bomber flight crew where and how to drop the load. He may ask that the crew inject a harmless soap-like solution into the water tanks through an onboard computer. This will give the water a foam-like consistency to help increase it's holding time at the fire. As there are two water tanks onboard the aircraft, both loads of water may either be dropped together or separately as the fire conditions dictate.
With the ability to scoop in close proximity to the fire, the CL-215 is able to deliver an enormous amount of water within a very short time. This provides excellent Initial Attack and Sustained Action support for ground crews on the fire line.