Avro Arrow-An Aviation Chapter In Canadian History
following article was originally published in the September/October
issue of Engineering Dimensions, 1988.
It has been republished with permission from Palmiro Campagna, P.Eng., and the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario. (PEO).
The follow up Article "Bringing Down the Arrow: A 30-Year Retrospective" Jan/Feb1989, is included.
Thank You for the many requests for accurate information, which is what made this republication possible.
Arrow Recovery Canada Inc.
"The biggest, most powerful, most expensive and potentially the fastest fighter that the world has yet seen. . . " -Flight Magazine, 1958
In 1958, the heroes of every Canadian boy (and probably quite a few girls) were the test pilots flying the CF-105, known as the Avro Arrow. Behind the test pilots were the engineers, creating what was to be the fastest, most powerful aircraft yet conceived. 1988 marks the 30th anniversary of its first flight, 1989 the last. Many articles have been written about the Arrow, some true, many false. Here, for the first time, are the engineering facts, painstakingly researched by a young Canadian engineer as a testament to the integrity of the team which created the Arrow.
|Wing||Fly-by-Wire||Why was the Arrow Cancelled?|
|Setting the Record Straight: The Designer's View by Margaret McCaffery||"A
Flawed Plane and an Inept Corporation"?
The Historian's View by Margaret McCaffery
Four years of excellence in Canadian engineering, research and design culminated in the maiden flight of the CF-105 Avro Arrow all-weather, supersonic jet interceptor from Malton, Ontario, on March 25, 1958. The world watched Canada's major contribution to aerospace engineering but not for long. On Friday, February 20,1959, the Canadian government ordered all work on the Arrow cancelled.
Some 14,000 employees were fired immediately. Within two months, five superb flying machines and a more powerful sixth, which had been within days of takeoff, were ordered reduced to scrap. Also, 31 others in various stages of assembly, along with all parts, drawings, accessories, blueprints and photographs were ordered destroyed.
Even today, some Canadians are unaware of the aircraft's existence, yet it still ranks as one of the most technically challenging projects ever undertaken in this country. Design of a supersonic interceptor with the parameters of the Avro Arrow presented colossal engineering problems which were systematically overcome. However, less than 30 years later, much misinformation exists about the Arrow, such as the number of aircraft that actually flew, what speeds were reached and technologically just how far ahead it really was.
A.V. Roe Canada Limited was established as a subsidiary of the British Hawker-Siddeley Group in 1945. On purchasing the Malton based Victory Aircraft Ltd, which was producing Lancaster bombers for the war effort, A.V. Roe turned its attention to commercial jet transports and military jet aircraft. On August 10, 1949, some two weeks after the British Comet made a short hop from its runway, Avro flew the C-102 Jetliner on its maiden flight to 13,000 feet, becoming the first commercial jet transport to fly in North America.
Unlike the Comet, the jetliner was not plagued with catastrophic fatigue failure. Despite meeting the Trans-Canada Airlines specifications to which it was designed, the jetliner never went into production. Instead, the company was told to focus on producing the CF-100 all-weather fighter, partly to support the Korean war effort. After flying for seven years, the lone jetliner, a milestone in aviation, was cut to scrap, forcing Canada to depend on foreign markets for jet transport aircraft.
Although the CF-100 project was a success, it was decided that a new all-weather, supersonic jet interceptor would be required to meet Canada's expanding defense needs. In May, 1953, in response to an RCAF specification, A.V. Roe Canada submitted its report which examined five possible delta winged configurations, with varying wing sizes and engine types. In July, 1953, the Department of Defence Production chose the 1,200 square foot version, thus launching the CF-105 program.
To set the record straight, the first production CF-105 aircraft, dubbed the Arrow, was rolled out on October 4, 1957, only four years after the start of the program a major achievement in itself. Its first flight was March 25, 1958. On its third flight, the aircraft was flown supersonically at Mach 1.1. On its seventh flight, it exceeded 1,000 mph while climbing. Four more production aircraft were flown. Eventually, the Arrows would fly to Mach 1.98 (approximately 1,300 mph), although they were never pushed to their performance limit.
five aircraft were equipped with two Pratt and Whitney
J75 engines, each with approximately 18,000-Ib static
thrust and 26,000-Ib with afterburner. A sixth aircraft
was produced and ready for roll-out at the time of
cancellation on February 20, 1959. This aircraft
was equipped with the more powerful Iroquois engine,
at 23,000-ib static thrust and 30,000-Ib with afterburner.'
Arrow number six was expected to break all speed
No "prototype" Arrow was ever built, only production aircraft. To move from drawing board to produc- tion line, one of the most extensive programs of wind tunnel, structural and systems testing ever undertaken on any aircraft was conducted. In addition, detailed mockups were built for checking system installation.
Part of the test program involved the use of fully instrumented one-eighth scale free-flight models launched on Nike rocket boosters. These models would telemeter information concerning various flight parameters including drag and stability. Today, those stainless steel models rest in Lake Ontario, ap- proximately 13 miles off Point Petrie, waiting for some enterprising underwater enthusiasts to retrieve them.
A striking feature of the Arrow was its large delta wing. It was determined that the delta was the most aerodynamically efficient platform for high speed and high altitude performance, while providing a large internal fuel capacity for the required range. To permit higher angles of attack and greater stability, the leading edge of the wing was extended, drooped and slotted, creating more favourable airflow conditions over the wing. These features had been used singly on other aircraft, such as the notch on the English Electric F-23, the leading edge on the Grumman F-9 and the droop on the F-102, forerunner of the F-106 Delta Dart. To- day, combinations of these are used on most fighters, including the Russian MIG series and the F/A-18 Hornet. An early prototype of the F/A 18 incorporated the notch. At the time, the combination of notch, droop and leading edge extensions made the Arrow unique and aerodynamically superior.
Another addition was negative camber, a slight concavity in the upper surface of the wing that helps to reduce the amount of elevator deflection required for stability and control (trim) during supersonic flight. This, in turn, reduces the amount of drag that would otherwise be created with greater elevator deflections.
Campagna is an Engineer with the Department of National
Defence. He has been researching the Arrow story
since the early eighties and has been responsible
for the declassification of many of the Arrow files
thought to have been destroyed back in 1959. His
books are based on those files. He is also the author
of The UFO Files: The Canadian Connection Exposed,
which has a detailed chapter on the Avrocar, Avro's
flying saucer for the USAF/US ARMY.
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