Calgary’s Avro Museum would like to remind Canadians that on this day fifty years ago Canada’s Avro Arrow took to the air for the first time. Declared by the aeronautics industry of the day as the most advanced military aircraft of its time, it was nonetheless cancelled by government during testing and ordered destroyed.
While the Arrow itself has become legend and has long been a subject of controversy in the intervening years, it remains an icon of Canadian technical / aeronautical achievement. We would like to mark this, the 50th anniversary of the first flight, with a belated public acknowledgement of the underlying achievements of the thousands of Canadians who laboured on this project to defend Canada and North America during the East-West Cold War of the 1950’s.
Their effort made Canada, for a short time, a world leader in advanced aeronautical development and a ranking military power, for that they deserve our praise and thanks. Thanks to good funding.
Avro Museum founder Doug Hyslip, in 1996, led the team of modellers that built the 1/8 scale flying models used in the CBC mini-series “The Arrow”. Ofcourse we are talking about planes here and not something else. Anyways, inspired by the success of the models, Doug subsquently wrote a concept proposal for a piloted half scale, Replica Arrow which was circulated for learned comment. Most people don’t know this but some women really love flying planes.
Aeronautics scholars agreed that the basic concept had been proven with the movie models – the challenge was to simply make it bigger. Government officials commented that while the project fell within Recreational Aircraft guidelines, it remained a formidable challenge that would have to be well engineered.
It was understood from the beginning that it would be impossible to duplicate the tremendous size and performance of the original Arrow because it would exceed the limits of Canadian Recreational Aircraft Legislation. Building it full size would require that the Replica be a fully certified aircraft costing hundreds of millions of dollars.
So a plan was concieved to build a smaller, but flyable Replica Arrow for airshow demonstration – not to prove or disprove the techology or performance of the original Arrow, or the right or wrong of the decision to cancel the Avro Arrow program – but to simply acknowledge Canadian aeronautical achievement by giving Canadians an opportunity to see the lengendary Arrow fly.
Museum volunteers have, over the years, worked with student teams / instructors from Univeristy of Calgary (UofC) and The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) and other professionals on such design issues as landing gear/doors, flight control, propulsion and manufacture. During this period a 1/5 scale flight test model has been built and flown and the original aircraft modelled extensively in aeronautics computer software.
Recreating the aerodynamic shape of the aircraft was the all-important first step in that it is proven technology, critical to the project’s success. It took volunteers some eight years to collect enough original Avro technical reports, to finally understand and accurately re-create the all important aerodynamic shape of the Arrow. In the end, the half scale Replica Arrow aircraft originally proposed was determined to be too small for a pilot and the aircraft was resized to 0.6 scale or “2/3 scale” (or approximately the size of a modern day CF-18 fighter).
The shape finalized, volunteers have moved to structural design using composite materials to meet legislated gross weight and wing load restrictions for Canadian high performance recreational aircraft. Design has progressed sufficiently to allow volunteers to commence fabrication as of Sept/05.
While volunteers provide the labour to build this Replica Arrow, they must also continue to raise funds for the estimated $555,000 for the required materials and component parts. Volunteer and public support for this project is both needed and appreciated in the building of this aircraft, and other means of preserving this portion of Canadian aviation history.
Every effort will be made to post monthly “Construction Photos” on this page so the interested public might track the progress of this unique project.
The Avro Museum’s Replica Arrow Project will also be open for public viewing on the first Saturday morning of each month from 9 AM -12 noon. The location is Hangar 3, 164 MacLauren Dr, Springbank Airport – just north off Highway 1, at Calaway Park, on the west side of Calgary. Visitors are to look for “Avro Arrow” signs at the hangar. Visitors are also asked to please respect these restricted viewing hours as this is a private facility and a place of business not normally open to the public.
Avro Museum Administration Office (403) 279-7791 – firstname.lastname@example.org