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Requiem for a
Giant Reviews
Requiem For A Giant: A.V. Roe Canada and
the Avro Arrow
By Palmiro Campagna
Reviewed by Marty Murray
At
the end of the second world war the Canadian aircraft industry
found itself in a unique position. Many plants had been built
to fill the needs of the war effort, and entire companies had
switched from making things such as railway cars to building
aircraft for the military. When the war ended the contracts also
dried up, but the expertise, the facilities and the workforce
still remained. Some companies decided to remain in the airplane
building business, to supply civilian needs as well as to fill
peacetime military contracts, and one of the biggest companies
to take up the challenge was A.V. Roe Canada, located in Malton,
Ontario.
With a visionary outlook towards the future, and with some of
the best aeronautical designers in Canada, A.V. Roe set out to
ride the cutting edge of what was technologically possible in
the late 1940's, taking advantage of new aircraft design techniques
and utilizing the latest jet engine technology. In the company's
short but brilliant career they would build North America's first
jetliner and one of the finest jet interceptor aircraft ever
to come off the drawing board, the Arrow, both years ahead of
their time, and yet in both instances the company would find
the rug pulled out from under it by bad business decisions, government
and military meddling, and outright sabotage. What should have
been a series of proud national triumphs for our country, at
a time when we were world leaders in the aerospace industry,
turned into some of the biggest letdowns and debacles in Canadian
history.
Author Palmiro Campagna, himself an employee of the Department
of National Defence, has previously written about the Arrow in
his 1992 book, "Storms Of Controversy - The Secret Avro
Arrow Files Revealed." In this latest volume he gives an
extensive history of the A.V. Roe company, and utilizing a large
number of recently uncovered government and military documents,
many of which are reproduced in appendix form, shows who and
what was ulitimately responsible for the company's demise. Those
who think Prime Minister John Diefenbaker was behind the cancellation
of these projects may be surprised where this paper trail leads.
The Avro Arrow and the fall of A.V. Roe are still hotly debated
topics to this day, and anyone with an enthusiasm for aircraft
and their history will find this book a fascinating read. The
series of events which transpired saw some our country's greatest
talents heading south to work for NASA and other American interests,
and changed the face of Canada forever. Sadly, we can only imagine
what might have been, had things turned out differently.
 
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