Aero-Flite Expands Fleet with Additional Large Airtanker

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON (May 9, 2024) – Aero-Flite Inc. has increased its aerial firefighting capacity to suppress wildfires with the addition of another Dash 8-400AT airtanker. This is the third Dash 8-400AT airtanker added to Aero-Flite’s fleet.

The organization’s Next Generation fleet now includes four CL415 amphibious airtankers; seven RJ85 Type 1 airtankers and three Dash 8-400AT Type 2 airtankers. As a Type 2 large airtanker, the Dash 8-400AT has a tank capacity of 2,462 US gallons. “The Dash offers a large payload, just shy of the 3,000 US gallon tank capacity of a Type 1 large airtanker, while using significantly less fuel than a similarly sized Type 1.

It can land at bases with shorter runways, and at higher elevations, allowing firefighting support access to more locations, basing closer to remote communities that are more prone to wildfire activity.” shares Chris Niemann, Aero-Flite General Manager. “The Dash 8-400AT’s versatility is a benefit to government agencies looking to enhance their fleet response.”

The current generation of land-based airtankers are converted from used military or commercial aircraft. Many of these airtankers are reaching the end of their operational life, and are faced with limited, or no, available parts. This increases airworthiness concerns, especially in the face of the demanding flight environment they are exposed to on missions. With hundreds of Dash 8-400 airliners still in operation around the world, the Dash is one of the most modern airtankers available in the market today. Supply, parts, and maintenance expertise will be available for decades to come.

The manufacturer of the airtanker, Conair Aerial Firefighting in Canada, recently completed their 20th Dash 8-400 airtanker, which was delivered to Aero-Flite. Conair converts the airliner into both the airtanker-only variant and the multi-role variant. Saskatchewan, Canada also recently announced an order of four aircraft, 2 Dash 8-400ATs (airtanker-only) and 2 Dash 8-400MREs (multi-role airtanker), with the first to be delivered in 2025. The multi-role version of the aircraft can be operated year-round to transport personnel, cargo and can also be used for medical transport.

“This addition to our fleet marks another achievement towards expanding our services to meet the increased demand across the US for large modernized airtankers,” continues Chris. “Our Dash 8-400AT aircraft are the newest additions to our fleet. Two of the Dash 8-400AT arrived in 2022 and are contracted to Washington State. Our third Dash 8-400AT arrived at the end of April and will be available to other agencies to support firefighters throughout the country. We plan to continue expanding our fleet with additional aircraft in the future to help state and federal agencies as they work to increase their capacity to respond to wildfires.” Aero-Flite will perform heavy maintenance on their expanded fleet during the winter months in their Spokane, Washington hangars and at their newly acquired facility in Chico, California.

About Aero-Flite Inc. Aero-Flite is the largest, and one of the most experienced, aerial firefighting companies in the US, delivering a comprehensive range of purpose-engineered aircraft designed to fight wildfires. Founded in the United States over 60 years ago, Aero-Flite’s operations support missions in North America and beyond, providing an extensive range of Next Generation fire control aircraft. The team of 170 professionals operate over a dozen aircraft including Type 1 RJ85 airtankers; Type 2 Dash 8-400AT airtankers; and one of the largest fleets of newer-model CL415 amphibious aircraft in the world. Aero-Flite can provide aircraft under contract across the US, and around the world, providing specialized services including flight operations and aircraft maintenance related to emergency response missions. Learn more at

AerialFire Staff
AerialFire Staff
AerialFire Magazine strives to provide you with breaking aerial firefighting industry news and information.

Latest Print Edition

Latest Articles

Related articles