ADA-Arrow Pilots:Peter Cope
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Arrow Pilots:Peter Cope
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WHITCOMB | PALMIRO
CAMPAGNA |
Peter
Cope
pg3
Cope also flew the Orenda
Sabre development aircraft. With A.V. Roe’s
Orenda engine, the Canadian Sabres became the
best day fighter in the West with its similarly-powered
night and bad-weather cousin, the CF-100, taking
similar honours in its more demanding role.
He made over 1,900 flights
accumulating over 1,600 hours in the CF-100—more
than any test pilot and perhaps more than any pilot
period.   He also flew 103 different
aircraft types in his career. Some notable experiences
included over-running a defective .50 caliber round
in the CF-100 with the bullet puncturing an engine
nacelle.  The sometimes erratic folding fin
rockets that were developed in a 58 rocket twin-pod arrangement, also
caused some excitement with one rocket emerging
from the pack quasi-normally, performed a loop
in front of his eyes, and returned to punch a hole
in his starboard aileron!  On another occasion
a rocket punctured the radome just in front of
the cockpit.  While this armament system was
developed successfully, an initial retracting belly-pack arrangement,
that lowered into the slipstream before launch, was
considerably more hazardous, and was abandoned
due to the dangers exposed by the test pilots at
Avro. 
Cope tested the then
experimental T-160 rotary breech  cannon on
the CF-100 in a four gun arrangement.  (This
effort led to the weapon used in
Canada
’s CF-104s and current CF-18 fighters.)
For Cope this would mean the increase in armament
being considerably more impressive than the jump
obtained from the Mustang 1 to 2 transition—because
a single T-160 had a rate of fire nearly equal
to all  four guns of his cannon-armed Mustang,
with projectiles of the same calibre.  This
CF-100 had four of these weapons and therefore
represented potential average weight of fire,
for a quarter of a minute, (requiring a huge
magazine for each weapon) approaching that of
a naval cruiser. 
In part because there
were jamming and potential misfire hazards, Avro
decided in mid-1954 that the weapon was not developed
enough for use in the CF-100.  In terms
of the CF-100 part of the equation, a probable
subtext existed regarding explosive gas collection
dangers, plus structural problems, inherent in
the adoption of this number of T-160s.  In
fact Cope relates the nearest he came to the “real
thing” was during the final test of the
T-160s, which called for a live continous firing
of all four cannon at near maximum speed at 5,000
feet, for seventeen seconds.  This
was punctuated by a massive explosion in the
centre section that blew off both port engine
cowls. This set off a near-instantaneous chain
reaction involving the  lower cowl
section damaging the wing leading edge, followed
by the upper canopy ricocheting off, and shattering,
the Perspex canopy.  Cope had difficulty
persuading the observer not to proceed with a
dangerous low-level ejection and following stall
and handling tests made a successful landing
at Malton.  Cope received several letters
of commendation and thanks from Smye and senior
management for his handling of dangerous situations.
In
reality, Cope is probably the pilot most responsible
for experimental missile development test flying
in
Canada
during the 1950s.  In
highly technical and classified missile firings
Peter launched the majority of the Sparrow
3 and 2D missiles, that epitomized
1950s CARDE, DeHavilland, Canadair, Westinghouse,
Douglas, Hughes, RCA and Avro
Canada
collaboration in missile
technology. 
The CF-100 Sparrow 2D
test aircraft. Chosen for the Arrow, this missile was a
failure. For it's CF-18 Hornets,
Canada
uses the less-sophisticated
Sparrow 3 missile, identical in concept
and capacity to Velvet Glove. The
USAF didn't field a successful
active-guidance Sparrow version (like
the 2D) until 1990.
           That,
by 1955, the European members of the NATO
pact had made a special request to Canada
to supply their needs for a competent high-performance
all-weather and night fighter, cannot but
be a testament to a phenomenal performance
on the part of this new Canadian company
in producing such a machine, its engines,
and it’s armament.  By building
on the engine and airframe programmes,
often moved by the requirement to find,
or develop adequate Canadian suppliers
of components and materials suited to the
CF-100 and Orenda engine, A.V. Roe Canada
Ltd. grew to be one of the largest employers
of Canadians during Peter’s time
flying this aircraft.  Avro produced
nearly 700 CF-100s while Orenda produced
nearly 4,000 of their TR-5 turbojet engines,
renaming their division (which was split
off into its own corporation) after this
engine.  By 1957 Avro
Canada
was the third largest corporate entity
in
Canada
and
Canada
’s top employer.  They also had
replacements for both the CF-100 and
the Orenda engines in the works, known
as the CF-105 Arrow interceptor and the
Orenda PS-13 Iroquois afterburning turbojet
engine.
Copyright 2005, Randall Whitcomb.
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