continued from page 3,
I realized during my landing run that the undercarriage
was retracting. Since my speed was too low to get
airborne again, I switched off the engines and
the aircraft skidded to a stop, damaging the flaps
badly. After an investigation had been carried
out in the hangar, it was determined that everything
was in perfect order; lowering and raising of the
undercarriage functioned properly and the indicators
were correct. Conclusion: pilot error.
I was called to the hangar to see for myself.
I set all the controls and switches as I had during
landing, operated the undercarriage several times,
and, sure enough, everything was just fine.
I was just getting out of the cockpit when the
foreman said: "You see, that's a really good
old aircraft", and enthusiastically slapped
the fuselage with his hand. That started it. All
by itself, the undercarriage retracted.
It was later established that somehow the wiring
of the master auto-observer switch was mixed up
with the undercarriage selector wiring and
that a short caused by the vibration of the aircraft
as it touched down caused the undercarriage to
retract. "Too many gremlins." That was
how a case like this would generally be described
In the meantime,
production of the CF-100 and the Orenda engine
was going on at a good pace. The aircraft had a
good name in Canada and abroad, and the Avro company
decided to demonstrate it at the Farnborough show
in England, organized every second year by the
Society of British Aircraft Constructors.
I demonstrated the CF-100 Mk. IV at Farnborough
in 1955, and we made an attempt to sell the aircraft
in Holland and Belgium. The Dutch Air Force had
a rather poor fighter aircraft from the U. S. and
needed a replacement, but they didn't want to upset
their American friends. The Belgian Air Force had
had bad experience with American aircraft, so they
purchased the Hawker Hunter from England. The Hunter
was in its early development and the cost of essential
modifications in the first year was higher than
the cost of the original aircraft.
In night fighter
class the Meteor NF 14 in the Royal Air Force was
inferior to the CF-100 in range, speed and armament,
and the Gloster company was still solving lowspeed
instability of the Javelin by redesigning the wings,
but loss of two pilots and a few aircraft was delaying
development. We were in a favourable position,
and a contract for sale of fifty-three CF-100 Mk.
V's was signed with Belgium.
In the Canadian Aviation magazine dated March
1975, I noticed the statement that sales to other
countries were restricted for security reasons
because the CF-100 was equipped with the Hughes
radar produced in the United States.
A small comparison: Between the first flight of
the Javelin and the first Javelin in a squadron,
there elapsed over six years. The CF-100 Mk. II
took less than two years. For the Mk. IV it was
less than four years.
Looking back 25 years, I think that the CF-100
was a very good and reliable aircraft, which at
the time satisfied the operational requirement
of the Air Force. Taking into account that it was
the first military aircraft designed and built
in Canada by a very young company, I think it should
be considered a great success.
In August 1955 the U. S. Air Force announced
a contract with Avro Aircraft to explore "a
new design concept" - later known as a flying
saucer. "Spud" Potocki was the development
pilot of this project, whilst I was concentrating
on the development of the Arrow.
The idea of a supersonic interceptor, known later
as the Arrow, started in 1951 when the
A. V. Roe
team under Jim Floyd submitted a brochure to the
RCAF containing three proposals for supersonic
fighters. I would like to mention here that for
the first time a Canadian, Jim Floyd, was awarded
the Wright Brothers Medal for outstanding achievement
in aeronautical science. All previous winners had
In March 1952 an
operational requirement was received from the RCAF
for an all-weather interceptor. In June 1952 the
company presented two proposals: a single- and
twin-engine delta-wing interceptors with crews