ADA-Bringing Down The Arrow: A 30 Year Retrospective
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Bringing Down The Arrow: A 30 Year Retrospective
revision to this page:
Re: Guest Hake reference: Mail of Eric A
* Comments : http://www.avroarrow.org/factualarrow4.asp On this
page the information regarding Guest Hake is erroneous. My Father
was with AVRO until after the cancellation of the Arrow and he
never worked in the US. He was a project designer on the CF100,
the Jetliner and the CF105. By March 1958 he had been appointed
Quality Control and Inspection Manager. Following the cancellation
of the Arrow he returned to England for a little over a year. He
then returned to Canada and was the manager of Nuclear Safety Engineering
for AECL and later chair of the CNA Committee of the Standards
Council of Canada.
have also had to correct that other story on Guest
many times myself. I don't know where that erroneous
original info came from. Guest was a very senior
member in our Engineering Division and a great
Dimensions Jan/Feb 1989
September/October feature on the Avro Arrow attracted
more attention than we bargained for! It made the
front page of the Giobe & Mail on election
day and was then carried in newspapers coast to coast.
Several of the article's key characters were subsequently
interviewed on TV. February 20 marks the 30th anniversary
of the Arrow's cancellation. In this issue, we publish
some of your responses to our call for memories of
L Orr,P.Eng.,then director of engineering research
with the federal Defence Research Board, now retired, Victoria,B.C.
cancellation of the Avro Arrow airccraft and its challenging
development program had a profound impact on technological
innovation in Canada, the adverse effects of which persist
to present day.
The obvious solution to the funding dilemma was to seek U.S. support
for the Arrow program, based on our common concern with the air defence of North
America. This was a realistic possibility, since in 1955 the U.S. Air Force had
established a requirement for a 'long range interceptor" aircraft (LRI)
having similar characteristics to the RCAF specification for the Arrow issued
in 1953. The LRI program was never implemented; the proponents of ballistic missiles
wrongly insisted that manned fighter aircraft were obsolete.
Nevertheless, when the capabilities of the Arrow aircraft became
apparent, strong interest developed in both the operational and technical echelons
of USAF. This interest was tangibly demonstrated by the provision of access to
USAF technology and testing facilities. Unfortunately, this interest was not
consummated contractually before Prime Minister Diefenbaker prematurely terminated
the Arrow development.
At the same time, the U.S. aircraft industry had become alarmed by
the prospect that they might lose a major USAF procurement contract to Avro Canada.
U.S. aircraft firms lobbied against procurement of the Arrow for the USAF in
hopes that the LRI project would be revived.
Finally, when the Canadian government became concerned about the rising
development costs of the Arrow, a confidential evaluation by USAF of
its technical and operational capabilities was requested. It is my understanding
the that this task was assigned to a junior officer based in California
and subject to influence from U.S. aircraft rnanufacturers having a potential
interest in the the outcome. Consequently, his report was highly negative,
but nevertheless was accepted unquestioningly by the Diefenbaker government
without providing either Avro or the RCAF any opportunity to refute its
The demise of the Arrow had a traumatic impact on government policies
and public support for research and development. In particular, the possibility
of Canada undertaking any major technological initiative (especially in the defence
field) was foreclosed due to loss of confidence in Canadian capabilities. Moreover,
the government apparatus was unable to comprehend the key role of technological
innovation in economic development and therefore incapable of providing the neces-
sary leadership and stimulus.
In the course of the abortive negotiations to solicit USAF funding
for the Arrow, the U.S. Department of Defense offered to allow Canadian industry
to bid on U.S. military procurement contracts in compensation for the industrial
dislocation caused by cancellation of the Arrow program. As a result, the Canada-U.S.
Defence Production Sharing Agreement was instituted in 1959 with the objective
of achieving reciprocity in military equipment trade between the two countries.
This arrangement locked Canada into the U.S. defence system and guaranteed that
the Canadian Armed Forces would henceforth be equipped mainly with U.S.-developed
The fundamental error in the Canadian government's handling of the
Arrow affair was its failure to pursue the development program through to feasibility
demonstration, given that a major portion of the development costs had already
been incurred by February 1959. Only on the basis of such proof could the USAF
be expected to make any serious commitment to participate. In retrospect, the
decision to proceed with production concurrently with development substantially
increased initial program costs and was evidently ill-advised. Finally, the destruction
of all prototype aircraft and records was a vindictive act of vandalism which
precluded all possibility of salvaging anything from our heavy investment in
advanced aeronautical technology.
Line drawing of the 6th Arrow.
Desmond Morton, Principal, Erindale Campus, University
of Toronto, and contributor, The Illustrated History
think that Professor Granatstein (Engineering Dimensions,
November/ December 1988, P. 6) is a little sanguine in
saying that all the material is in the public domain.
My own approach, through our friends in D. Hist, was
for technical information which I certainly could not
understand but which one of my students with a background
in engineering thought he could manage.
Probably he could not because that was how I was misled on the Arrow
weapons system but there were many other technical documents which were not available.
If you believe the Arrow promoters that their technology would still be "state
of the art," I suppose the classification is understandable.
Jim Floyd, P.Eng., then vice president, engineering,
AV. Roe, Canada, now retired, Etobicoke, Ont
congratulate Mr. Campagna and yourself for undertaking
to address this controversial and important issue and
for rnaking such a good job of it (Engineering Dimensions,
September/October 1988, pp. 46-53).
There are, however, one or two points that I would like to make.
1. The coloured drawing on p. 49 is not of the Arrow! It is one of our
early design studies carried out in 1953. The wing area is shown as 1,300
sq ft, whereas the Arrow wing was 1,225 sq ft. None of the dimensions
in the sketch or the positioning of the avionics, equipment or fuel relate
to the final configuration of the CF105 Arrow, which was also distinguished
by the notch at the leading edge at mid-span and the extension of the
leading edge on the outer wing.
2. On p. 52, under the heading "The Consequences," third paragraph,
the article reads: "Back at Avro, the remaining 2,000 engineers
continued . . .." In fact, we never had 2,000 engineers even at
the peak and I think that fewer than 200 engineers were left after the
3. Page 53: In the first of my suggested reasons for why Diefenbaker
might have backed off from the Arrow project I mentioned the rising costs,
but I also qualified that by saying that Avro's final fixed price of
$3.5 million for the aircraft, engines and all technical support was
the "bargain of the century." I wish to make that point very
4. A couple of the titles of the Avro executives are misquoted. Joe Morley
was Vice President-Sales and Service and Fred Smye was the Chairman of
the Board at Avro at the time of the Arrow cancellation (not general
Having pointed to these discrepancies, I hasten to add that I think
that Paul Campagna has produced a well-balanced and exceptionally well researched
summary of the Arrow story and deserves great credit for taking time out to put
the record straight on this controversial issue.
Dr. Desmond Morton, however, having admitted his monumental error
concerning the function of the weapon pack, now states that "since the plane's
weapon and avionics systems were being bought off the American shelf and had
not been tested in flight , their incorporation would have caused major problems
that would have involved considerable redesign."
As in his earlier statements, due to lack of adequate research,
(surely unforgivable for a professor of history) he is apparantly unaware that
the weapon system for the Arrow was originally designed was a derivative of the
Hughes MX1179 fire control coupled with the Hughes Falcon missiles. This was
also the final configuration offered to the RCAF before cancellation of the Arrow.
The Astra/Sparrow combination had been cancelled earlier. Far from " not
being flight tested," the Hughes system and the Falcons had been standard
equipment n the Convair F102 and F106 series of supersonic fighters for some
time before the Arrow had even flown and thousands of Falcon missiles had been
delivered by the time the Arrow was cancelled!
As a Canadian, a distinction I chose almost 40 years ago, I feel
privileged, humble and very lucky to have been chosen to lead one of the finest
teams of engineers ever assembled in our country. Their loss to Canada can never
justified or reversed.
Credit Where Due
Rose, unofficial historial for 'The Canadians," ex-Avro
employees who joined NASA now with Rockwell Shuttle
Operations Company, Houston
his article, Mr. Campagna is in error when he says on
page 48 that ". . . At the tune the combination
of notch, droop, and leading edge extensions made the
Arrow unique . . .."
In fact, this combination was developed by Vickers-Armstrongs Supermarine
for their "Sift" interceptor in the early 1950s-a fact I am very conversant
with as I was Chief of Performance in the Superrnarine Aerodynamics Department
at the time! We also incorporated the best of these developments on the Supermarine
N113 "Scimitar" which went into service with the Royal Navy. Incidentally,
I left Supermarine to join Avro Canada, also in the Aerodynamics Department,
in April, 1957.
When Mr. Campagna talks about the drag reduction on the Arrow, I'm
surprised he doesn't mention the integrated intake/engine by-pass/aerodynamic
ejector system used on the Arrow--again, well ahead of it's time. This system
placed the shock wave on the leading edge of the intake at all Mach numbers,
giving maximum intake efficiency and therefore performance, while the aerodynamic
ejector reduced the base drag at the back end significantly. It was really quite
Telemetry- A First
E. Fielder, P.Eng., then a member of the Flight Test
Department, AV. Roe, now a consultant, Houston, Texas
think Mr. Carnpagna's article is as good a story as
can be told in four pages and, as my memory serves,
is correct. I worked at Avro in the Flight Test Department
from 1955 until the infamous "Black Friday" on
February 20, 1959. Then, I became part of the "brain
drain reversed " and went with Jim Chamberlin
to join NASA along with 23 other ex-Avro employees.
It is some times difficult to accept that that was
29 years ago. I believe, with one possible exception,
that none of those people remain with NASA, being either
deceased (as is Jim Chamberlin), relocated within the
industry or retired.
One item not mentioned, except in passing was the telemetry system
used to bring the flight instrument measurements to the ground test control area
where the information was available in what today is often called "real
Other than the sensors that were distributed all over the initial
aircraft, the instrumentation system, including the recorders and telemetry equipment,
was located in the so-called armament bay. As I recall, two of these instrumentation
bays served as the "pay- loads" for all the flight aircraft. To my
knowledge, the test program had not progressed to the point of carrying any active
armament. However, the ground development and testing of the armament pack and
the deployment systems for the Sparrow IID was ongoing. In addition to these
conventional weapons there was provision for deploying. a weapon system then
known as Genie which, I believe, had nuclear characteristics. All these systems
were scheduled for flight development and qualification in the flight test program.
Whatever Dr. Morton's definition of "flawed," it seems
to me that an in-production, all-weather aircraft, which in March of 1958 flew
supersonic on its third test flight, and grew to a fleet of five operating aircraft
with 66 test flights by February of 1959, and suffered only two landing gear
problems, has to be classified as a success-even if it never carried any armament,
The irony here is that the nuclear warheads for the Bomark, the then-cited
NORAD missile to be deployed in Canada which (according to the in-famous Honourable
George C. Pearkes, Minister of National Defense at that time) pre-empted any
need for such as the Arrow, were never made available in Canada.
A Westall, P.Eng., then project supervisor, control
surfaces and rear fuselage, on the Arrow, now retired,
on an excellent article, with correct facts as I recall,
except for one minor point.
In your photograph (p. 52) you give Guest Hake a title that is misleading.
Guest was head of production engineering with several project supervisors
reporting to him, I was one of them.
Each supervisor was assigned sections of the aircraft, mine was control
surfaces and rear fuselage. With my group of about 20 people, mainly manufacturing
engineers, in those days called planners, we worked with the designers to ensure
what was designed could be manufactured.
When design was finalized, we then designated equipment, tooling
and methods to be used in the manufacture of components, sub-assemblies and final
assembly of the sections.
Another group under Buz Could was responsible for final assembly,
the marrying-up of the sections into the complete aircraft.
The photograph must have been taken in the very early days of the
project because Guest was only with the company for, maybe, two years before
resigning and returning to the United States; his replacement was a Canadian,
Ron Drake, who still held the position at the cancellation.
While not in any way detracting from the credit given Jim Floyd,
I have always thought there should be mention of the contribution to the design
by a young Canadian, Jim Chamberlin.
In your credits you do not mention the Canadian Aeronautical and
Space Institute, Ottawa. Founded in 1954 as the Canadian Aeronautical Institute,
membership was only accepted from people with proven knowledge and experience
in aeronautics, many Avro people were members. I was accepted in 1955, and remained
a member until I retired in 1985.
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ADA-Bringing Down The Arrow: A 30 Year Retrospective