from page 4,
An engineer was instructed to write the specification
for wheel brakes for the Arrow. The standard specification
at the time, if I remember correctly, required
brake capacity to have kinetic energy absorption
equal to 1.2 times stalling speed squared, multiplied
by the aircraft landing weight. Checking by phone,
he got his figures, but the stalling speed quoted
was completely unrealistic for use in estimating
landing speed. Wings of 60deg delta reach stalling
speed at an angle of attack of about 45 deg; during
landing the geometry of the undercarriage does
not allow the use of more than about 15deg.
The specification went to the subcontractor and
after the necessary design, development and proving
time, the brakes were found to be completely inadequate
for the aircraft when the wheels arrived, specially
since in the meantime the aircraft weight was increased.
A crash programme to develop new brakes was required
to prevent delay in the flight testing.
The Flight Test
Instrument Section was developing a system known
as telemetry, which would provide in-flight information
consisting of a large number of parameters transmitted
automatically to the ground. This system increased
safety of the flight, helped to warn the pilot
if he was approaching a limiting stress or other
limiting conditions, and could be of high value
if an aircraft crashed or disintegrated in
With the help of
an IBM 704 computer, a flight simulator was created
using as many parts and systems from the aircraft
as possible. Designers were very optimistic, promising
to teach the pilots to fly the Arrow. Unfortunately
aircraft was very difficult to fly; I lost control
of it in three seconds; Spud Potocki, who was much
better on instrument flying, managed to fly eleven
seconds before crashing.
I was completing
taxiing tests in preparation for the first flight
on an actual Arrow Mk. I. An unpleasant situation
was created: if the simulator is unflyable, is
the aircraft safe for flight? A specialist from
the U. S. was called to assess the situation, but
was not very optimistic.
What next? To develop this simulator to flyable
condition, or to fly the actual aircraft? I recommended
disregarding the simulator for the time being and
going ahead with the first flight. It turned out
later that there was much more to the art of simulating
flight than just feeding parameters into a computer
and transmitting the results into cockpit instruments.
The first flight
of the Arrow on 25 March 1958 was very simple.
Just check the response of controls, engines, undercarriage
and air brakes, handling at speeds up to 400 knots,
and low speed in a landing configuration. There
certainly was more excitement for the several thousand
Avro employees watching my first flight than for
myself seated in the cockpit trying to remember
hundreds of do's and don'ts.
The aircraft flying
characteristics were similar to that of other delta
wing aircraft like the Javelin or Convair F-102,
but the Arrow had a more positive response to control
movement. The unpleasant part of my first flight
was the feeling of responsibility, combined with
the realization that the success of this aircraft
depended on thousands of components, especially
electronic and hydraulic, with only a small percentage
under my direct control. But total responsibility
for the flight was mine.
Flight by flight,
with ground monitoring based on telemetry results,
I was going a bit faster and a bit higher. On flight
No. 7, climbing at 50,000 feet, I exceeded 1000
MPH, and that was the only performance released
at that time by Air Force headquarters.
Phase One of the Arrow flight test programme was
successfully completed, and F/L Jack Woodman made
a familiarization and initial assessment flight.
In August of the same year I started tests on a
second prototype (No. 202) and in September on
the first flight of the third prototype (No. 203),
1 exceeded the speed of sound.
Shortly after, Prime Minister John Diefenbaker
in a statement released to the press declared that
two Canadian bases for U. S. Bomarc missiles would
be established and the current development programme
of the Arrow and Orenda Iroquois engines would
continue, but would be reviewed in the next March.