Book Reviews of Avro Aircraft and Cold War Aviation
PLEASE NOTE: I AM MAINTAINING THESE PAGES IN MEMORY OF OUR FRIEND AND FELLOW ARC MEMBER, RANDALL WHITCOMB. WE NO LONGER SELL HIS ARTWORK, BUT ASK THAT RANDY BE REMEMBERED.
Scott McArthur Webmaster.
of Avro Aircraft & Cold War Aviation–––
Whitcomb’s Avro Aircraft and Cold War Aviation is far and
away the best and truest work on the subject to date. Having
been so much aware of the terrible and misguided politics of
the day, it is refreshing to read such a superb and unbiased
analysis. The research evident is fantastic and the artwork exceptional.”
Cope, WW II Mustang pilot, test pilot for Armstrong Whitworth
aircraft post-war, Avro Canada C-102 Jetliner, CF-100, CF-105
and Avrocar test pilot. (Later with Boeing.)
the past two decades we have had more than enough books on the
subject of the Avro Arrow, but this one is significantly different.
“The author, Randall Whitcomb, ex-CF pilot, brings to this remarkable story
a wealth of experience in the flying, engineering and political aspects of Canadian
Aviation, past and present.
“Whitcomb has brought together many “loose ends” in the whole
history of Canadian aviation in the Cold War period, including the global impact
on the demise of A.V. Roe Canada in 1959. He has marshalled h is arguments in
a unique “warts and all” documentation of the true facts about the
political climate in that incredible era and addressed the vexed question of “what
might have been” had common sense ruled the day, instead of the “infighting” that
“This is a book that should be mandatory reading for all students of Canadian
aviation history and every politician in Canada, the USA and the UK.”
(Jim) Floyd, former V.P. Engineering Avro Aircraft Ltd. and Director
Engineering A.V. Roe Canada Ltd.
Aircraft & Cold War Aviation is hands-down the best work
on Avro Canada to date. Well researched, well written and well
Waterton; WW II RAF Spitfire and Mustang and Air Fighting Development
Unit pilot, Post-war RAF High Speed Flight pilot, Gloster Aircraft
chief test pilot and the first pilot to fly the Avro Canada CF-100 “Canuck.”
Aircraft & Cold War Aviation is a superb volume, researched,
illustrated and written by Randall Whitcomb (some talent indeed!).
While with Spar Aerospace I had the distinct honour of accompanying
Jim Floyd and his wife Irene to North Dakota where he was honoured
with the Aerospace Pioneer of the Year award. Strange, is it
not, that the United States would bestow such an honour while
the silence in Canada is as deafening as the cut-up chunks
of those magnificent planes, the Jetliner and Arrows.”
“Whitcomb has done a signal service to Canadian aviation history.”
G. Trump; American-born former NASA instructor and former V.P.
“It has been my view for some time that aviation
historians have failed to recognize fully the significant contributions
to both military and civil aircraft design made by Avro Canada.
Whitcomb’s new book should help put this into accurate perspective.”
Rummel,, chief technical officer of Trans World Airlines & technical
advisor to Howard Hughes
Aircraft & Cold War Aviation certainly appears to be a “Magnum
Patrick, aeronautical engineer with Hawker Siddeley and J.C. Floyd & Associates
Whitcomb has combined his three passions -flying, aviation history
and aviation art, -and come up with the definitive history of
aviation during the Cold War, including the demise of A.V. Roe
Canada (Avro) in 1959.
“The author, a former air force pilot, displays a sound understanding of
the engineering principles involved in the design and construction of supersonic
aircraft, and uses charts, graphs, tables, photos and engineering drawings to
good advantage. Many of Whitcomb’s original paintings embellish the book.
According to Jim Floyd, former vice-president and director of engineering at
Avro Canada, “This is a book that should be mandatory reading for all students
of Canadian aviation history and every politician in Canada, the USA, and the
Vic Johnson; Editor Airforce Magazine
Whitcomb’s Avro Aircraft & Cold War Aviation is a tour
de force. It is absolutely packed with statistics, technical
data and analysis.
I am astounded by the enormous research that the author has done to put this
together in coherent form. It must have taken him years! [10 in fact!] The
depth of his technical analysis is most impressive. I particularly enjoyed
his dissertation on the unique features built into the Avro Arrow to make it
efficient at supersonic speeds. For a time I taught aerodynamics at the Royal
Air Force’s Central Flying School but in those days we were only scratching
the surface of transonic flight.
It gave me a feeling of grim satisfaction to read that events subsequent to
my resignation from the R.A.F. confirms that people much smarter than I agreed
with my disgust at the stupid policy whereby the Hon. Duncan Sandys (then the
British defence minister) proposed to abolish all U.K. manned fighter defences
and replace them only with ground to air missile defences. Fortunately wiser
heads later prevailed but by that time I had packed it in and returned to Canada.
It’s too bad someone could not get inside the minds of some of the principal
players in those eventful days when the Avro Arrow was being developed and
reveal to us now exactly why they took the decisions they did. I suspect we
are better off not knowing!
This book certainly confirms that Canada had a fabulous opportunity to be a
world leader in the development of modern fighter aircraft, but let that opportunity
slip from our grasp.
F.A. (Ted) Johnson
D.F.C., C.Eng., A.F.R.Ae.S
Biography of F.A. (Ted) Johnson
Johnson served as a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF)
during the Second World War, first as a flying instructor and
thereafter as an intruder pilot flying the famous de Havilland
Mosquito on operations over Europe and won the Distinguished
Flying Cross.Thereafter he attended Queen’s University
in Kingston Ontario, Canada and then returned to England to join
the Royal Air Force (RAF) and fly for the next 12 years. There,
at the Central Flying School (CFS) he trained qualified pilots
to become flying instructors and later commanded the CFS ground
school where he lectured in Principles of Flight (aerodynamics)
and Physiological Aspects of Instrument Flying, in addition to
his administrative duties. Thereafter, he graduated from the
RAF’s Staff College and commanded a jet fighter squadron
based in northern Germany at the height of the Cold War. Returning
to the U.K., he was assigned to the Ministry of Supply (MOS)
to supervise the development of some of the new fighter aircraft
(the Gloster Javelin and the English Electric Lightning) for
the RAF and was then posted to Air Plans, Headquarters Fighter
Command where he was a senior member of the team planning the
integration of manned fighter aircraft and surface-to-air missile
defences of the U.K. for the next decade. [This position is particularly
pertinent to items in Mr. Johnson’s review regarding Avro
Aircraft & Cold War Aviation.He returned to Canada and
was engaged by de Havilland Aircraft of Canada as a test pilot
on 1st January, 1959 where he would later fly and work with
Don Rogers, the former chief test pilot at Avro Canada. In
his 21 years with de Havilland he served as Military Sales
Manager, became Vice President of Contracts and Programme Administration
and later became Vice President of Customer Support and was
elected to the Board of Directors. He is an aeronautical engineer
and an Associate Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society in
Britain. He flew a total of 42 different aircraft types (not
including different Marks) during his career.He is chairman
of the 418 Squadron Association and spokesman for the Prince
Edward Counties chapter of the Organisation for Quality Education.
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Book Reviews of Avro Aircraft and Cold War Aviation