ADA-Arrow Pilots:Peter Cope
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Arrow Pilots:Peter Cope
shared anti-icing systems development and testing
duties on the Avro Jetliner, XC-102.  This
led to Canadian leadership in another flight
technology, and was successfully used on the
CF-100 with a corresponding leap in operational
capability and crew safety.  Like virtially
all those associated with the Jetliner, Cope
thought it was a fantastic aircraft, and is
flabbergasted at how such a promising design,
with military and civil sales interest, could
be sidelined.
was very impressed with the Arrow and recalls no
major problems in the flying of this type.  In
variance to assertions, Cope described the
Arrow as being exceptionally stable on approach
for landing.  He stated to the author in the
spring of 2002 that you could trim the Arrow up
for landing and practically “take your
hands off the stick and let it land itself!”  A
prominent “historian” and a controversial
writer (Larry Milberry and Peter Zuuring respectively]
publish sections of Arrow pilot’s notes,
compiled by Potocki (purportedly with the assistance
of Cope), claiming they show the Arrow to have
been a difficult aircraft to manage with potentially
serious defects. Cope himself, along with every
other test pilot insists the Arrow, compared to
anything flying then and for many years after,
was an exceptionally competent aircraft in flight,
and was, indeed, relatively “easy” to
fly.  In fact Peter wrote: “I saw these
so-called notes only a year ago and I have no idea
where they came from.  They had nothing to
do with me.  The aircraft was easy to
fly.” [underline in his note.]  Cope also is the only pilot
to land an Arrow away from Malton, having landed
RL-204 at
Trenton in late 1958. His
Trenton landing was the shortest known landing
accomplished in the Arrow with it touching down
at 140 knots –proving that with development
and pilot training landing speeds would have been
red uced to quite modest levels by any standard
for a fighter aircraft.  Today even civil
airliners land at considerably higher speeds.
In a CBC documentary Cope states that “It was a phenomenal performing aircraft… our
performance boys thought we might get Mach 1.6
out of it yet we flew it to nearly Mach 2.  With
the Iroquois engine we were talking about a 2.3
[or] 2.4 Mach number potential. There wasn’t
a single plane flying at the time that could come
anywhere near to touching that aeroplane.  Boy,
the day I saw them take the torches to those planes
was the nearest I’ve come to shedding a tear
over an aeroplane.  It was pathetic.”  He
has subsequently related to this writer that he
did, in fact, cry.  This writer also agrees
with his performance assessment in terms of the
Arrow’s potential, and research involved
in trying to form an informed opinion on this very
topic resulted in this writer’s book, Avro
Aircraft & Cold War Aviation, which discusses
this topic empirically and at length.  
Orenda-Lancaster engine test-bed.  The
Orenda engine was developed into the success
it became on this aircraft. It, and other
aircraft, were lost
in a hangar fire at Avro.
the Arrow cancellation, Cope remained at
Avro until 1961 and was involved in flight
testing John Frost’s “Avrocar” flying
saucer.  This led to advanced Canadian
knowledge in ‘jet-flap’ and ducted
methods of lift-augmentation.  This
led, for example, to Don Whittley’s ‘augmentor
wing’, developed for the de Havilland
Buffalo STOL aircraft.  He thus became the
only Avro test pilot to have test flown all
of Avro’s prototype aircraft.  These
included the Jetliner, the Lancaster Orenda
test-bed, the CF-100 prototypes, the Orenda
Sabre development plane, the Arrow and the
Avrocar.  Like all the others who experienced
the Avro Jetliner, he became an avid admirer,
and laments her passing and the circumstances
that caused it.
the Arrow cancellation he joined Boeing in
and worked in their customer support organization,
becoming a manager covering the introduction
of the Boeing 727, 737, 747, and 767 to service
in various airlines.
retired as recently as 1986 after what anyone
must agree is an outstanding career in aviation
and participated in some of the most historic
events in aviation for nearly half a century.  Until
his passing in April, 2005, Peter resided
quietly in
State with his beloved wife of many happy years, Anabel.
Copyright 2005, Randall Whitcomb.
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