F IRST Prime Minister Norodom Ranariddh, Princess Marie, a host of dignitaries and
several hundred air force personnel were treated to a high-tech aviation extravaganza
on Mar 19 when a Canadian-made, amphibious fire fighting plane demonstrated its capabilities
at the military side of Pochentong airport.
The 13,000 kg, $20 million, state-of-the-art plane undertook a mock fire fighting
sortee, scooping water from the Mekong and dumping a foam-laden snow storm on some
The exhibition closed with the pilots showing off some of the crafts capabilities
by roaring over the runway and engaging in semi-barrel rolls, almost-vertical 1500
foot ascents and pinweel turns, all of which left the attendant crowd with jaws agape.
A joint venture of Bombardier Inc and Canadair of Canada, the CL-415 marvel of modern
technology stopped in Cambodia as part of a 25 nation globetrotting promotional tour.
While the plane is primarily designed for fire-fighting, it can also be used for
mass transport, cargo and other general aviation purposes.
The RGC's Economic Advisor for Canadian Relations Tep Rithivit, who coordinated the
visit, envisions a time when the plane might be flying tourists from Phnom Penh to
Siem Reap with landings made on the Tonle Sap.