Croatia transforms its sole land-based AT-802A into an amphibian Fire Boss

The Croatian Air Force (Hrvatsko Ratno Zrakoplovstvo – HRZ) has recently increased its amphibian firefighting fleet by one aircraft. This was achieved by the conversion of a land-based Air Tractor AT-802A (military serial number 896) into an amphibian Air Tractor AT-802A Fire Boss.
The extensive conversion work was performed during April and May 2010 by Avialsa T-35 S.L., a Spanish, Valencia-based Part 145 maintenance organization specializing in Air Tractor, Dromader and Cessna aircraft.
Engineering drawings and parts for the conversion were supplied by south St. Paul, Minnesota-based Wipaire, the manufacturer of the 10000 series amphibious floats custom-designed for the AT-802A and AT-802. The transformation of M/S/N 896 provided the Croatian Air Force with a single-cockpit, single-engine amphibian firefighting fleet composed of five AT-802A Fire Boss turboprops and a dual cockpit Air Tractor AT-802 (M/S/N 896) with the classical landing gear.
The dual cockpit Air Tractor AT-802 is one of two land-based dual cockpit AT-802s that became part of the Croatian Air Force in 2001. The Croatian Government’s decision to expand its Air Tractor fleet was executed in November 2007 when Croatian Ministry of Defense signed a $7.6 million Euro contract with Spanish company Air Tractor Europe S.L. for the acquisition of three Air Tractor AT-802A Fire Boss single-cockpit turboprop amphibians, appropriate training and equipment.
The first Fire Boss (M/S/N 894) was delivered to Croatia March 2, 2008. The second and third aircraft (M/S/Ns 892 and 893) arrived May 3, 2008. Being extremely satisfied with the fast delivery of the Fire Bosses and also impressed with their performance and capabilities, the Ministry of Defense signed a $5 million Euro follow-up contract with Air Tractor Europe, S.L. salesman Hugo Arceo in July 2008 for the acquisition of two additional AT-802A single-cockpit aircraft – one amphibian (M/S/N 895) and one land-based (M/S/N 896) that was recently converted into a Fire Boss.
The Croatian Air Force fleet of six Air Tractor firefighting aircraft is now operational within the 855 Firefighting Squadron, a dedicated firefighting unit that is based at Zadar-Zamunik Air Force Base.

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