The only report out there is from the German travel magazines FVW and BizTravel. It seems a bit odd that Airbus didn't make any announcement and even odder that they have an agreement with the Russians for additional airframes via UAC. Current embargoes also would preclude them acquiring western airframes.
FAR 25-777 requires that seat belts be fastened at all times. It doesn't specify that the shoulder harness be fastened except during landing t/o and turbulence. The Canadian regs are similar. CAR 2012-1 605-24/27 specify both lap and shoulder harnesses be fastened at all times. There are exceptions to both. The Canadian one mentions that one crew member must have his or her full harness fastened at all times during flight.
Nowadays it's called Transport Canada. Formerly known as DOT. Those of us who had to deal with them still call it DOT. Old habits die hard. Including Joe MacBride at Buffalo. He also has another name for them which I wont repeat.
Current cost is 31 million total. That would include the engines. The 415 has PWF 123AF turbo's installed. There are other differences compared to the CL 215. The wing was modified and the addition of winglets. The empennage was slightly modified which means it can carry more water/fire retardant. The biggest makeover though was the glass cockpit. A huge gain over the older model.
I don't know if Bombardier ever converted any CL215's though.
We did try to get the idle down to around 600 rpm on the R2800, but the aircraft still managed to creep ahead in the water. The normal factory idle was between 850/900 rpm.
Can't say how the 415 handles in the water.
Finally someone with sense at the US Forestry Service. The CL 415 will be a great addition to their firefighting capabilities. I worked for Canadair and was one of the crew chiefs assigned to CL-FEUX the first of the water bombers. Simple aircraft to work on provided you didn't mind getting covered in dirty oil from the PW R2800 Double Wasps.
Incidentally, the engines were virtually brand new, having been in storage since the second world war.
The latest 700/900 series are quite comfortable to fly in. I'll grant the earlier series starting with the CL65 was a tad cramped. But, as these were not intended as long haul aircraft some compromises were made.
As for strange sounds when the gear is selected, this aircraft is not unique in that area. Having been flying since 1950 I can show you any number of aircraft with that characteristic.
Looking forward to the maiden flight. And, yes, it will be a game changer. Bombardier and its forerunner, Canadair, have been making excellent aircraft for many years.
I worked as an engineer for Canadair when it was owned by General Dynamics and took part in the launch of C-FEUX. The CL 215. But that's another story.
This is not a new phenomena. What is unusual is that this occurred at altitude. Normally idiots with laser pointers try to use them on aircraft either taking off or landing. Either way, only morons would use them. The article does say he was blinded only temporarily.