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THE AVROCAR
Canada's Flying Saucer

by Palmiro Campagna, P. Eng

  The U.S. Air Force Flight Test Centre at Edwards Air Force Base in California examined the design and concluded with the following comment: "Performance, stability and control of the Avrocar in its present configuration prevents accelerating in ground effect to a free air flight speed. Full-scale wind tunnel results indicate that sufficient control is available to conduct a transition into high speed flight... provided that 35 to 40 knots can be obtained with the focusing ring control system..." The report went on to list the areas that would require modification in order to fly.
  Avro completed several of the modifications by 1961. According to Frost, technical solutions to the instability problems were also at hand but, the U.S. decided not to renew Avro's contract. One of the prototypes ended up in a warehouse at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, while the other is mounted on a pedestal in Fort Eustis, Virginia. With the demise of this project hot on the heels of the Avro Arrow cancellation, and with no further funding for the Avrocar from the Canadian Government, other than the money provided early on by DRB, Avro Canada closed its doors for good.

  Was the Avrocar a failure? The answer is debatable. When one reads the technical reports on the aircraft, it is stated quite clearly that this was a research effort intended for the study of vertical take-off and landing principles. Indeed, the project was watched closely by the British and it has been said that some of the knowledge gained migrated years later into the British Harrier fighter. Still, the fact remains that the Avrocar did not fly as originally expected.

All that remains of the once-vaunted avrocar programme is this forlorn display at the U. S. Army Transportation Museum at Fort Eustis, Virginia, and a second prototype " gathering dust" in a Smithsonian Institute warehouse in Washington, DC.

  Following termination of the Avrocar project, John Frost moved to New Zealand. He worked on a variety of projects for Air New Zealand before his death in 1979, having never realized his dream of the circular wing aircraft and its military potential.

(Ed note: Palmiro Campagna of Ottawa is author of 'The UFO Files. The Canadian Connection Exposed, ' which includes a detailed discussion of the Avrocar. He also wrote the best-selling "Storms of Controversy. The Secret Avro Arrow Files Revealed.'
The author seeks information about Projects Y and Y2, and UFO incident reports by military personnel, including NORAD. He may be contacted through Airforce magazine.)

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