ADA-Arrow Pilots:Jan Zurakowski
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Test Flying the Arrow. pg4
And Other High Speed Jet Aircraft.
republication has been made possible thanks to
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The Canadian Aviation
We hope you enjoy this piece of aviation history.
Scott McArthur. Webmaster, Arrow Recovery
TEST FLYING THE ARROW
other high speed jet aircraft.
continued from page 3,
I realized during my landing run that the undercarriage
was retracting. Since my speed was too low to get
airborne again, I switched off the engines and
the aircraft skidded to a stop, damaging the flaps
badly. After an investigation had been carried
out in the hangar, it was determined that everything
was in perfect order; lowering and raising of the
undercarriage functioned properly and the indicators
were correct. Conclusion: pilot error.
I was called to the hangar to see for myself.
I set all the controls and switches as I had during
landing, operated the undercarriage several times,
and, sure enough, everything was just fine.
I was just getting out of the cockpit when the
foreman said: "You see, that's a really good
old aircraft", and enthusiastically slapped
the fuselage with his hand. That started it. All
by itself, the undercarriage retracted.
It was later established that somehow the wiring
of the master auto-observer switch was mixed up
with the undercarriage selector wiring and
that a short caused by the vibration of the aircraft
as it touched down caused the undercarriage to
retract. "Too many gremlins." That was
how a case like this would generally be described
In the meantime,
production of the CF-100 and the Orenda engine
was going on at a good pace. The aircraft had a
good name in Canada and abroad, and the Avro company
decided to demonstrate it at the Farnborough show
in England, organized every second year by the
Society of British Aircraft Constructors.
I demonstrated the CF-100 Mk. IV at Farnborough
in 1955, and we made an attempt to sell the aircraft
in Holland and Belgium. The Dutch Air Force had
a rather poor fighter aircraft from the U. S. and
needed a replacement, but they didn't want to upset
their American friends. The Belgian Air Force had
had bad experience with American aircraft, so they
purchased the Hawker Hunter from England. The Hunter
was in its early development and the cost of essential
modifications in the first year was higher than
the cost of the original aircraft.
In night fighter
class the Meteor NF 14 in the Royal Air Force was
inferior to the CF-100 in range, speed and armament,
and the Gloster company was still solving lowspeed
instability of the Javelin by redesigning the wings,
but loss of two pilots and a few aircraft was delaying
development. We were in a favourable position,
and a contract for sale of fifty-three CF-100 Mk.
V's was signed with Belgium.
In the Canadian Aviation magazine dated March
1975, I noticed the statement that sales to other
countries were restricted for security reasons
because the CF-100 was equipped with the Hughes
radar produced in the United States.
A small comparison: Between the first flight of
the Javelin and the first Javelin in a squadron,
there elapsed over six years. The CF-100 Mk. II
took less than two years. For the Mk. IV it was
less than four years.
Looking back 25 years, I think that the CF-100
was a very good and reliable aircraft, which at
the time satisfied the operational requirement
of the Air Force. Taking into account that it was
the first military aircraft designed and built
in Canada by a very young company, I think it should
be considered a great success.
In August 1955 the U. S. Air Force announced
a contract with Avro Aircraft to explore "a
new design concept" - later known as a flying
saucer. "Spud" Potocki was the development
pilot of this project, whilst I was concentrating
on the development of the Arrow.
The idea of a supersonic interceptor, known later
as the Arrow, started in 1951 when the
A. V. Roe
team under Jim Floyd submitted a brochure to the
RCAF containing three proposals for supersonic
fighters. I would like to mention here that for
the first time a Canadian, Jim Floyd, was awarded
the Wright Brothers Medal for outstanding achievement
in aeronautical science. All previous winners had
In March 1952 an
operational requirement was received from the RCAF
for an all-weather interceptor. In June 1952 the
company presented two proposals: a single- and
twin-engine delta-wing interceptors with crews
In June 1953, after long consultations with the
Air Force and the National Aeronautical Establishment,
the company presented the CF-105 proposal
and obtained instructions to go ahead with design
A series of wind tunnel tests followed at NAE
(Ottawa), Cornell Aeronautical Laboratories (Buffalo)
and NACA (Cleveland and Langley Field). Simulation
of free flight at supersonic speeds was carried
out by rocket-propelled models.
Later in 1954 changes in the proposed powerplant
were made. Because Rolls-Royce RP-106 development
was delayed and the Curtiss-Wright J-67 was expected
to be too late as well, the installation of a Pratt & Whitney
J-75 as an interim measure was accepted with the
Orenda Iroquois engine intended for production
As design investigation progressed it became
apparent that there were new problems connected
with the increase in speed from Mach 0.87 of the
CF-100 to the more than Mach 2 of the new interceptor.
This increase of more than 750 MPH called for a
lot of electronic systems needed for successful
interception, automatic flight, weapon fire controls
and navigational systems. I would like to point
out that during the five years of the war, a time
of most intensive development, the speed of RAF
fighters increased by only about 100 MPH.
We in the Flight
Test Section hoped that we would be part of the
team, and participate in the solution of problems
which we would have to face sooner or later. There
was a rumour that the directional stability of
our new aircraft was poor, and at this time a number
of American fighters disintegrated in the air and
some designs were quickly modified to provide a
bigger fin area.
We asked the design office for aerodynamic reports.
We met with refusal because "there could be
a wrong interpretation of the reports by the
pilots". I asked my Chief Test Pilot, Don
Rogers, for help, but when his efforts were stalled,
I tendered my resignation as the Chief Development
Pilot. This title created an impression that I
am to some extent responsible for development -
but how could I be, if I was kept in the dark?
It came to the attention of Jim Floyd, Vice President
of Engineering, that the latest estimates of landing
speed of the Arrow were much higher than the initial
one, so a meeting of aerodynamic experts was called
and I was invited. After a short discussion he
asked me what I thought about it. My answer was
that I did not know, because my request for reports
had been refused. It was a bit of a shock to him,
because he had previously instructed that reports
be made available to the flight test section. After
this, one of the aerodynamicists refused once again
to supply reports. He was promptly fired, and the
next morning all required reports were in the flight
test section. Yes, there was a problem with aircraft
directional stability under some flight conditions.
was right? First, to increase stability by aerodynamic
changes which would involve a weight penalty without
any guarantee that all the flight conditions would
be satisfactory. Or second, introduce reliable
electronic stability augmentation needed anyway
for the weapons system.
The latter choice was made, but it involved the
risk of developing and proving the system on an
aircraft otherwise unsafe under some conditions
if the system failed. Loss of an aircraft in early
development could be a disaster for the company.
Cooperation of other sections with the flight
test section was good. Freshly introduced human
factors engineers helped in finalizing the cockpit
layout. The number of instruments, switches, etc.
was reduced in the Arrow to 70% of that in the
CF-100, and a master warning light was introduced,
with a panel indicating the trouble.
A Royal Canadian Air Force detachment was established
at the Company under S/L Ken Owen, with F/L Jack
Woodman, a highly experienced test pilot.
This detachment was most useful in an advisory
and cross-checking capacity. The problem we had
with wheel brakes can best illustrate the need
for a cross-checking system.
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