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Avro Arrow

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  • Avro Arrow

    I'm sure that I, like many here feel that we know, at least, a little about a lot of military history and it comes as a great, and pleasant, surprise to learn something new. Such is the case with the Avro Arrow. I stayed up until 3:30 am watching a movie about this wonderful aircraft and am curious to learn more for those in the know.

    If you don't know about this plane, visit .

    Did the PM survive this debacle? Are all the plans lost? Do the people of Canada still talk about it?

    It's a fascinating story.

  • #2
    The plans might still be around, I know that Hobbycraft, a Canadian model company, released a 1/72 scale model of the aircraft a few years ago and that they would have used the blueprint of the aircraft to design their kit.

    The rest of the planes was destroyed though but parts of it like the cockpit and engine are still around and occasionally presented at air shows.

    Not quite sure how it affected Prime Minister Diefenbaker's career though but many do see the government's scrapping of the program as a major loss, especially after so much time and money has been spent and so much accomplished.
    Sings we a song of wolves.
    Who smells fear and slays the coward.
    Sings we a song of man.
    Who smells gold and slays his brother


    • #3
      Originally posted by SkyVon
      Did the PM survive this debacle? Are all the plans lost? Do the people of Canada still talk about it?

      It's a fascinating story.
      Yes it is quite a fascinating story. I don't know how it affected the Canadian PM at the time. Two PMs were in office during this period, so it's hard to say. The first (St. Laurent) set the stage for the cancellation, the second (Diefenbaker) followed through on it. All plans and technical drawings were supposed to be destroyed, but some survived by the 'covert' actions of a few former Avro employees. And yes, we do still talk about it quite a bit. Many books have been written, a TV movie was released a few years ago, and a general feeling of "what could have happened" still hangs around.

      I have a book about the Arrow, that has many techincal specifications, some of the drawings, logbook information, and a history of the design, production, and test flight programs. It was an amazing aircraft, with so much potential. The intended engine (Orenda Iroquois) wasn't ready for the flight test program, so they had to use standard US (at the time Pratt and Whitney J-75) engines. Even these 'half-measure' engines allowed the Arrow to achieve excellent preformances. The Iroqious would have taken the aircraft even further, however perhaps the greatest tragedy is that the program was cancelled the very day the Arrow was to make it's first flight with the Iroquois.

      Over many years, a man was building a full size wooden mock-up of the Arrow in his barn, and when people found out about it, they used it in the TV movie. The mock-up was at an airshow I attended once, and it was truely amazing. It sent chills down my spine to be able to see something like that.

      The cancellation of the Arrow virtually destroyed the aircraft design and production industry in Canada. Most of the top Arrow people went on to become chief designers and program managers in US space and aircraft programs.


      • #4

        Why was the Anvo program cancelled in the first place? Too expensive or what?

        Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

        "Aim small, miss small."


        • #5
          I think that is the big debate. Was the PM an idiot duped by Eisenhower into buying a dud of an ABM program, Internal politics, personality conflicts between the PM and Avro's chief or all of the above...or more?!?


          • #6
            Originally posted by Cheetah772

            Why was the Anvo program cancelled in the first place? Too expensive or what?

            My understanding is that the Canadian designed Avro was superior to anything else at the time. Eisenhower didn't like it (not invented here) and told the Canadians to shut it down.

            We did.
            Last edited by Johnny Canuck; 12 Oct 03, 15:31.
            "I'm all ears." - Dolph Lundgren


            • #7
              I'm sure my information is suspect at best, but did the U-2 and it's denial by Eisenhowser have more to do with it than it not being made in the U.S.?

              Also, our nuke ABM shield would of made a nice fallout over Canada if the PM didn't buy them since we would of placed the ABM's along our northern border...another reason to scrap the program (read $'s)?

              Still a big mistake by the PM, IMO.


              • #8
                There were alot of factors involved in the cancellation.

                US influence to purchase US ABM systems was part of it. In the end however, the ABM system actually purchased was found to be suspect, and eventually a number of F-101s purchased from the USA (which were far inferior to the Arrow). IMO, the USA may not have wanted a serious competitor (within the allied camp) to its own fighter aircraft, further placing pressure to cancel the Arrow. Cost overruns of the actual program were another factor, although a few foreign contracts had already been secured for exporting the Arrow. Once the Arrow had proven itself, more export contracts could have largely offset the massive initial expenditures (many other nations expressed interest, but wanted to wait until later into the testing program).

                However, the greatest mystery remains, as to why the Canadian government was so eager to destroy all the flying aircraft, all the semi-assembled aircraft, all the designs, all the sub-components, everything.

                The Arrow was more than just an aircraft program. Engines, weapons and guidance systems, communications, fly-by-wire, etc. were all years ahead of their time, and I think the trickle down effect of all these sub-systems and sub-components would have had a far greater impact than the aircraft itself.


                • #9
                  Canadians are still trying to save the old Avro Arrow plant as an historical site. Unfortunately I don't think that it is going to happen. The last time that I spoke to the president of the foundation trying to save the Avro Arrow plant he said that it was up to the PM now.


                  • #10
                    Oh Gawd.. All is lost, then...
                    "When I am abroad I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the Government of my country. I make up for lost time when I am at home."

                    Winston Churchill


                    • #11
                      Rumours abound that there is still an example of the Arrow in existance at a locked, guarded hangar in Mountain View; Canada's aircraft graveyard.
                      Personally, I think that is all bulls*it.
                      Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!


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