Saturday, February 9, 2013

Thai navy's sole flying boat back in skies

After being grounded for about a decade, the Thai navy's only operational flying boat has returned to action.

The navy decided to bring its Canadair CL-215 twin-engined aircraft back into service to take part in a maritime exercise which began yesterday after engineers confirmed its air worthiness.
The navy obtained two of the planes in 1978, but grounded both more than 10 years ago because of a lack of spare parts.
The navy lacks the budget to buy the new version of the aircraft, the CL-415 (later renamed the Bombardier 415 Superscooper), which has a price tag of 10 billion baht.
Instead, the navy decided to keep one of its CL-215s flying and use the other for spare parts, navy chief Adm Surasak Rounroengrom said while observing the drill at the naval base in Chon Buri's Sattahip district.
The CL-215 is taking part in a two-month exercise as a search and rescue plane, he said.

The naval exercise this year involves more than 3,000 navy servicemen, and 15 warships led by HMTS Ang Thong.

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