ADA-Arrow Pilots:Jan Zurakowski
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Test Flying the Arrow. pg6
And Other High Speed Jet Aircraft
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TEST FLYING THE ARROW
other high speed jet aircraft.
from page 5,
"You shall cease all
work immediately, terminate subcontractors
or orders and instruct all your subcontractors
and suppliers to take similar action."
From this moment,
approximately 13, 000 workers were no longer employed.
The next day in Toronto's Royal York Hotel, representatives
of American companies were hiring our specialists
for work in United States industry, and thousands
of unemployed were looking for jobs.
of everything connected with the Arrow followed.
The five aircraft which had flown and others
on the production line were cut to pieces
for scrap. Blueprints, brochures, reports
and photographs were all reduced to ashes.
There was a common impression at the time
that politicians wanted all tangible evidence
rubbed out to prevent it returning to haunt
them in later years.
For many months
before the cancellation of the Arrow, a strong
anti-Arrow campaign was run by the press. Many
arguments were presented in a highly misleading
manner and to my surprise suddenly we had plenty
of experts on aviation. The press was full of articles
by high-ranking retired army officers about the
uselessness and obsolescence of the Arrow. The
Telegram on 24 September 1958 reported a statement
by Lt-Gen. Guy Simmonds: "The day of the airplane
is finished as a defence mechanism. It has been
replaced by the missile as the primary weapon." Gen.
Simmonds said that he had criticized from
the beginning any plan to spend large sums of money
on "the last of the fighters. The Arrow is
just that the last of its line and kind."
Canadian Air Force
officers were prohibited from discussing or even
asking questions about the Arrow.
The Globe and Mail,
dated 21 February 1959, reported the statement
by Air Marshal Roy Slemon, second in command in
North America Air Defence: "Regardless
of what the actual decision is, and it certainly
must be a proper one, I will be unable to comment
Reading 19 years later the text of the Prime Minister's
announcement of the decision to scrap the Arrow,
I have the impression that army and American experts
convinced Mr. Diefenbaker that the aircraft was
dead as a weapon and only missiles had any future.
I like best this statement: "Although the
range of the aircraft has been increased, it is
still limited." I suppose that the Voodoo
which the Prime Minister ordered shortly afterwards
had unlimited range?
The press was quick in catching the idea. In the
Toronto Telegram the next morning were the headlines: "Arrow
short range." - and later: "Operational
range of the Arrow (700 miles) was less than the
Government had hoped for." I do not know what
the Government had hoped for, but certainly the
Canadians were convinced of the short range of
The employees of Avro and Orenda were shocked
by the Prime Minister's statement: "And frankness
demands that I advise that at the present there
is no other work that the Government can assign
immediately to the companies that have been working
on the Arrow and its engine."
Going back for a
moment to the aircraft industry in England, I remember
that only a small percentage of new prototypes
flown ever reached the production stage, and probably
even a lower percentage reached operational use.
Cancellation of programmes in the initial stages
of development or during initial production was
quite common, but I had never heard of sudden cancellation
without preparations being made to use released
manpower and facilities. In England it was generally
accepted that the aircraft industry was a national
asset, one which helped so much in saving the country
in the most difficult times like the Battle of
Britain, and that destroying it would be against
the national interest.
It appears that the
Canadian government did not make any effort to save
the design teams or production facilities of Avro
and Orenda. As I mentioned before, everything about
the Arrow was destroyed, no attempt was made to save
the results of millions spent in research, results
which could have been used in other countries like
England and France, which were working on the design of a supersonic transport, or useful
to other industries in Canada where experience
of Avro and Orenda companies in electronics,
hydraulics and air conditioning manufacturing could
have been a tremendous asset.
For the cost of one or two percent of the money
already spent on research, the knowledge accumulated
could have been properly collected and documented
to be useful in the future. I am sure that the
designers of the Concorde or, even fifteen years
later, the designers of the Tornado built by the
joint effort of England, Italy and Germany could
have learned a lot from our experience, even from
our errors. It is strange how the same problems
are showing up in design and development of nearly
During the development of the Arrow and Iroquois
we were using the experience and knowledge of other
countries, mainly England and the United States,
but we destroyed the results of our work. Does
that make sense?
With the cancellation of the Arrow, and without
any programme for a large part of the aircraft
industry, Canada lost the opportunity to establish
an advanced industry, which had a very good chance
to become an economical means of satisfying a large
part of our demand in defence and to become an
Last year saw the
publication of a book by John Diefenbaker, called "One
In Volume III of this book a number of pages deal
with national defence and the Arrow. I quote from
"There is no doubt that from a construction
standpoint the Avro Arrow was an impressive aircraft,
superior to any other known contemporary all-weather
fighter - something all Canadians could be
proud of as their product. The Orenda Iroquois
engine boasted the highest thrust, the lowest specific
weight, the greatest mass flow and the greatest
growth potential of all known engines under development.
I said at the time it was a tribute to the high
standards of technological achievement and development
of the Canadian aircraft industry."
But on page 36 Mr. Diefenbaker wrote: -
"And (the Arrow) would be out of date by
the time it got into production..."
About the Bomarc he wrote:
"Our decision to introduce the Bomarc did
not work out well. To begin with, the Bomarc was
very soon proven to be virtually obsolete even
before it was set up."
From the same book we also learn that the proposal
by Defence Minister General Pearkes for procurement
of the F-101B interceptor aircraft was made during
June 1960, just over a year after the Arrow cancellation.
The F-104 purchase followed shortly. Canada purchased
over 400 fighter class aircraft after cancellation
of the Arrow.
This year the government is deciding which type
or types of aircraft it will buy to replace the
CF-101B, CF-104 and CF-5. And twenty years ago
they thought the Arrow was obsolete because it
was only an aircraft!
A special report in the Financial Post, dated
19 February of last year, shows some photographs
of aircraft likely to be in future Canadian service.
Apparently all these aircraft in the fighter attack
class carry external armament and fuel. There was
one feature of the Arrow which I liked very much,
and this was an armament bay. A really big armament
pack, sixteen feet long by eight feet wide and
three feet deep. It was attached to the aircraft
at four points and easily removable. An arrangement
like this allowed quick changes in the type of
armament (missiles) and a flexible role for the
aircraft. For example, longrange reconnaisance
or bomber. Internal carriage of armament and fuel
did not alter flying characteristics and performance
of the aircraft. Somehow on the latest aircraft
I cannot see good high-speed performance with all
these stores under the wings or fuselage.
It is a bit funny to see a graph in the Financial
Post showing that Canada will buy a fighter with
delivery dates between 1980 and 1988 - about thirty
years after the Arrow was declared obsolete because
it was an aircraft and not a missile. Where are
our Bomarc missiles today?
Other graphs are not that funny, One shows that
Canadian capital spending in defence in the last
twenty years dropped
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ADA-Arrow Pilots:Jan Zurakowski