A native of Saskatoon, Jack Woodman was the
only RCAF pilot and one of only four pilots to
fly the Avro CF105 Arrow. With more than 60
different types of aircraft in his logbook, he
probably holds a record of sorts for the longest
spin. At about 118,000 ft.
in an F-104, the airplane pitched up and spun
for between 60,000 and 70,000 ft. before he was
able to get it under control. He is currently
Director of Flying Operations at Lockheed-California
Corp. Palmdale, Calif. The article below is an
abridged version of his paper "Flying The
Avro Arrow," presented at the Canadian Aeronautics
and Space Institute symposium at Winnipeg in May
It has been more than 19 years since the Arrow
program was cancelled. The Avro Arrow is still,
however, a subject of great interest among Canadian
aviators, and the program is still being talked
about. I'm sure that many people are still wondering
whether the decision to cancel the Arrow program
was the right decision. The Bomarc missile, which
was purchased in lieu of producing
the Arrow, turned out to be probably the biggest flop in missile history.
The F-101, which the RCAF later received, was only half the airplane the CF-105
would have been. Most of Canada's high-performance
design talent migrated to the U.K. and the U.S.
and apart from the fact that the Canadian aerospace
industry suffered a major setback, it was perhaps
a "swell" decision.
Personally, I thought it was a poor decision. However,
I'm not here to discuss politics, but rather,
I would like to describe for you as best I can remember
and from the limited material available, the design
of the Arrow, the flight test program, handling and
The go ahead for the design and development of
the Arrow was first authorized by the Canadian
Government in July of 1953 and was assigned the project
Preliminary design was complete the summer of 1954;
the first engine-runs Dec. 4, 1957; first taxi trials
Christmas Eve, 1957; and the first flight March 25,
Jan Zurakowski, Project
Pilot and Chief Development Pilot for A. V. Roe,
made the first flight, which lasted 35 minutes. Zurakowski,
the best test pilot I've ever known, reported good
flying qualities, no surprises, no trouble, and made
the general comment, "it
handled very nicely." John Plante, Executive
vice-president and general manager, said, "The
first flight on any aircraft is a tremendous achievement,
but we've got a lot of work to do yet." It was
a proud moment in Canadian aviation.
Unfortunately, less than one year
later, on Feb. 20, 1959, the Arrow program was cancelled.
The Canadian government elected to go with
the Bomarc missle rather than to develop and
produce the Arrow. Five airplanes had been built
and flown; the 6th, and the first to have a production
Orenda engine, was on the
line and ready to go. The aircraft, the reports,
and the paper work were all destroyed.
Approximately 68 hours of flight time
had been accumulated, and 95% of the flight envelope
partially explored. How ever, the capability and
potential of the aircraft and its weapons system
was never realized. When it was all over and done
with, only four pilots could say they had flown the
Avro Arrow, Jan Zurakowski, Spud Potocki, Pete Cope,
and myself. (One observer, on one flight, flew in
The Avro Arrow Mk.
1 was a twin-engine, two-seat, delta-winged, allweather
interceptor designed specifically to meet the peculiar
Canadian defense requirements.