The CBC in it's miniseries
brought some questions to mind that I'm unable to
find in any of the material I have read. Mainly,
what were the "firsts" this
aircraft achieved? Is it true as protrayed in the
series that it was the first tested airframe able
to achieve stability at speeds in excess of mach
aircraft were flying at Mach 1.3 and better.
I don't recall this reference in the film. You
may be referring to the wind tunel scene where
they are trying to determine the stability of the
Arrow's particular airframe but they keep getting
turbulent airflow at about Mach 1.3 untill they
notch the wings for better airflow. (see Jim Floyd's
paper) The Arrow broke ground in what was then
stability augmentation". If this feature
failed, the aircraft would lose control and crash
because it was designed as an inherently unstable
platform for greater manouverability. This electronic
stabilization was the fore-runner to what later
became known as fly-by-wire in aircraft like
The Arrow employed a 4,000 pound per square inch hydraulic system
which I believe did not show up again untill the stealth bomber. Other aircraft
of the day were at 3000 pounds. The intake was of a unique design. Arrow
employed special alloys for heat stress build up. The Iroquois was being developed
using titanium whereas other manufacturers in the US were trying to use a mix
of titanium and other metals. According to US sources, it was one reason they,
the US, felt the Iroquois would work whereas their folks were running into troubles.
The Arrow was supposed to be capable of a 2 g turn at Mach 1.5 at
50,000 feet without loss of altitude or speed. It was never tested to this
spec but other aircraft of the day were in the 1.3g category at much lower
altitude and speed; this again from American sources. All of the above is covered
in Chapter 3 of my book as well as in Jim Floyd's paper and some of the other
material on this very website. It is not so much that the Arrow had so many firsts
as it was pushing the state of the art in so many different areas of design all
at the same time on the same airframe. To appreciate the problems Avro had
solved have a look at Ben Rich's book on the development of the stealth fighter
and SR-71. They were hitting all the same obstacles from an engineering, manufacturing
perspective. I encourage all who come to this section to review the material
on this website first as it may answer your questions.
I seen the CBC miniseries and would like to know if avro really was
developing a space program to go to the moon.
This is the problem with fictionalized stories, even
though they had a disclaimer saying the movie was
fiction. There was some discussion that an advanced
version of the Arrow might be used as a platform
for launching missiles into space. The point of the
movie though was simply that a lot of Avro people
(about 33), went to NASA to work on the Space program.
Jim Chamberlain was the lead in the group that went.
Owen Maynard went on to become the individual responsible
for the design of the lunar lander and eventually
was put in charge of the Apollo program.
Since there are still some of the blue prints around for the arrow
would it not be poasible for the govement to restart the project
and build cf 105's for the air force as well as for export since
the feeling is that it would still be a top fighter today and i would
think that with the newer composite materials they could get evan
better proformance out of it
Even if a complete set of blueprints were found,
all of the calculations and testing that went in
to developing them was based on the materials and
equipment that existed in the fifties. Changing materials
and engines etc. would obviate those blueprints.
Everything would have to be re-done and the expense
would be enormous. Today we have stealth fighters
and we will soon see some new high performance aircraft.
Rebuilding the Arrow today would not make any sense.
What do you know about the rumours of a surviving Arrow as indicated
in the CBC movie? Or was that just part of the fictional aspect?
rumours that an Arrow got away started the day of
the cancellation. Some people reported hearing the
Arrow with Iroquois taking off. Others said that
one night Avro was cordoned off and several covered
flatbed trucks were seen leaving the plant. One source
of the rumors has to do with the photos of the destruction.
In my book I reproduce them. In one overhead shot,
you see five Arrows with one partially disassembled.
In the side view, you see the same partially disassembled
Arrow in the foreground. It is Arrow 205 but Arrow
202 is missing from the photo. Did it escape or was
it simply in the hangar, having some US components
like the Hughes/Falcon system being removed?
Three questions regarding the front pitot tube. What was its material
composition? How was it manufactured? How was it assembled to the
pitot-static system comprising a nose boom providing
one source of pitot pressure and two sources
of static pressure, and a fin probe providing pitotand
static pressure shall be installed. Pitot pressure
from the nose probe shall be supplied to the
indicated airspeed indicator and normal dampingsystem.
One nose static pressure source shall supply the
front cockpit altimeter, normal damping system,
and aileron deflection aneroid switch. The second
nose static pressure source shall supply the rate
of climb indicator, indicated airspeed indicator,
cockpit pressure regulators, and cockpit safety
valve controller. Pitot static pressure from the
fin probe shall be supplied to the emergency damping
doesn't give you material make-up or fastening
procedures but you may be able to discern those
by examining the cockpit of RL 206 in the Aviation
Museum in Ottawa. I don't imagine it was much
different from other aircraft of the day.
Would you agree that the "Arrow" of its time would still
be a competitive and standard maker in the aircraft industry today?
And is there a dollar break down of what it would cost today to build
an up to date version of the"Arrow" using modern composite
and blended materials?
I would not agree. The Arrow was ahead of its contemporaries
because it embodied many state of the art features
at the time. Those features exist in today's aircraft
with the added bonus of stealth. Fly-by-wire is common
and now there is fly-by-light and vectored thrust.
The Arrow was designed for specific mission scenarios
and so it had a speed and capability to match those.
If one of today's aircraft is slower or has a lower
ceiling, it isn't because they don't know how to
build a faster aircraft capable of greater altitudes,
it is because the mission it was designed for does
not require it. The Arrow was a great plane and might
still be in use today, depending on the mission.
But, even Avro had advanced Arrow's on the drawing
boards because they knew you could not keep a design
stagnant. The Arrow of 1959 was just the beginning
of what could have been a great line of aircraft.
is no cost break out that I am aware.
were the turbine blades comprised of a titanium alloy? if so, what
alloy? if not what where they made of?
blades started out as titanium but then International
Nickel company developed an alloy that was used.
I am not sure what the alloy was.
Was it a possibility that the United States Government made the Canadian
governtment destroy the avro arrow and all the plans to it because
United States was frustrated because they were being beat out by
a small country like Canada?
The entire paper trail as to why the Arrow and plans
were destroyed is in Storms, first Edition and all
following editions. The reasons given to me by Air
Vice Marshal Jack Easton was that plans and planes
were destroyed for security reasons. This is consistent
with what was reported in Aviation Week magazine
back in 1959. Yes, security or not, the US has kept
copies of their aircraft but they have maintained
security nets around some of them, like the SR 71.
We had a chance to get an SR 71 for the museum in
Ottawa. We didn't. According to a fellow working
there, the US wanted the museum to maintain a 24
hour guard around the aircraft, something the museum
was not prepared to do. Was the Arrow destroyed over
security reasons? That is the answer we have so far
and in the days of the cold war, as crazy as it may
seems today, it makes sense. This is implied in the
paper trail of the destruction.
I've heard conflicting reports about US interest in procuring some
Arrows for USAF use. Some have said that the defense attaches in
Ottawa and Aerospace Defense Command officers were quite impressed
with the CF-105 and recommended ordering a batch, while others have
claimed that the USAF was dead-set against buying any Arrows. What's
the true story here?
like General Donald Leander Putt of the Air Force
Research and Development Command (AFRDC) wanted to
see the Arrow in the US inventory. On the other side,
Secretary of the Air Force, James H. Douglas said
the US would likely never get the Arrow. He was backed
up on this by Secretary of State John Foster Douglas
who said they could not justify buying the Arrow,
when their own aircraft industry was in a slump.
So, several factors are at play here. It looks like US industry was
putting pressure on Washington not to buy the Arrow. Others in the
US military were pro missiles. Secretary Douglas and others felt
they had a better aircraft in the F 108, eventhough it had not yet
been built and would be cancelled before getting off the drawing
So, there were some who wanted the Arrow but they were drowned out
by those who didn't and who could make that decision. It did not
help matters that our own government failed to market the Arrow properly.
Mind you, it is also a fact that aircraft tend not to be purchased
outright by governments other than Canada, until they have proven
themselves in their own government's air force. An example is the
Harrier. It flew for years in Britain, before being picked up by
the US after proving it's worth in the Falkland's War. The Arrow
never got that chance being cancelled before entering service in
I have found no proof to the story that at cancellation, the US was
prepared to buy the ones that were built. No offers were made. This
is not unusual because there is not much you could do with so few
aircraft. There is also the fact that because there was tremendous
exchange of technical information between the US and Canada on this
project (we used American wind tunnels for testing for example) the
US had the technical information they needed and could use in designing
their own aircraft.
Full details are in Storms, any edition.
Where did the AvroArrow Scraps go to (where did they dump the scraps.)?
scrap dealer called Lax Brothers in Hamilton Ontario
was charged with scrapping the aircraft. they paid
about the government about $300,000 for these multi-million
dollar aircraft. They sent the pieces to the smelters
to melt them down. There are rumors that they buried
large chunks but these remain unconfirmed.
Do you believe that there is any truth to the alleged "conspiracy
theory" behind the destruction of the Avro Arrow? This theory
suggest that Diefenbaker was convinced by Eisenhower to terminate
the project, because this way the U.S.A. would benefit more in
the long run...?
CBC film 'The Arrow' proposes that Eisenhower convinced
Diefenbaker to terminate the Arrow. In fact the Minister
of National Defence at the time, George Pearkes,
stated in an interview in 1967 that he was told by
an American Official to cancel the Arrow because
Canada could always purchase cheaper aircraft from
them. Pearkes states that at this point he became
convinced and recommended killing the project. All
the documents I discovered show that in fact Pearkes
and Charles Foulkes, the Chairman Chiefs of Staff
Committee, were the two who recommend termination
as early as August 1958. Those same documents show
that Diefenbaker supported the project until the
end, when he claims in documents, that he was persuaded
by 'others'. Certainly Pearkes and Foulkes were two
of those 'others' but we don't know if Eisenhower
was. The documents do indicate though that there
was considerable American influence over the Canadian
decision to terminate and this is what I deal with
at length in Storms. The Third Edition of Storms
also contains the transcript of the interview in
which Pearkes states he was told by the US official
that we should cancel in and purchase their aircraft.
I was just wondering does the Canadian Government or anybody know
if there is an avro arrow out there, say the government is hiding
it somewhere and perhaps even manufacturing more just in case of
a world war?
but there have been rumors of one. See the other
parts of this site. None are being manufactured.
Sir, is it true that all information surrounding the Arrow and the
Iroquios engine are still classified? If so, when will it be de-classified?
What happends if someone possesses any materials that came from the
is not at all true that all information surrounding
the Arrow and Iroquois is still classified. I and
others have had many volumes of information declassified.
Depending on the nature of the information, such
as that involving another country, it is possible
that it will never be declassified. Several years
ago President Bill Clinton requested the declassification
of numerous documents. It was almost a blanket declassification
but files dealing with NORAD for example were not
subject to his order. Even under this order, files
had to be carefully read and excised if the information
they contained could damage national security. Similar
rules apply in Canada. Just because 30 or 50 years
have passed, certain rules govern if the information
will ever get declassified. With the Arrow, I don't
believe there is much more to obtain though there
are stories that some sensitive government files
still exist. Much of the declassified material is
discussed in my book. One other important point here
is that much of the material is at the National Archives
in Ottawa. The Archives do not have the staff to
go through files at will and so they wait for people
to file requests. then they look at them and decide.
To learn more about this go to the National Archives
home page at http://www.archives.ca/01/01_e.html and
have fun looking up information using the online
search tool. Unfortunately you will have to visit
the archives to see the actual documents.
Over the years, many pieces of the Arrow and Iroquois have surfaced.
If someone owns such pieces, it is highly unlikely they would be
in any kind of trouble. After all, everything was sold off by the
government for scrap back in 1959.
Campagna is an Engineer with the Department of National
Defence. He has been researching the Arrow story since
the early eighties and has been responsible for the declassification
of many of the Arrow files thought to have been destroyed
back in 1959. His books are based on those files. He is
also the author of The UFO Files: The Canadian Connection
Exposed, which has a detailed chapter on the Avrocar, Avro's
flying saucer for the USAF/US ARMY.