The AVROCAR…Canada's Flying Saucer - the World's Only, Ever…
In 1953, US military officials visited AVRO Canada to view Canada’s new fighter-jet, the CF-100 Canuck.
“Jack” Frost, known formerly outside of AVRO Canada as John Frost, Chief Designer of the de Havilland Hornet (basically, a better Mosquito), and Swallow project, who had also worked on the famed Vampire, and had been working on “stuff” at Avro Canada since 1947 wanted to share his SPG work with the visiting USAF and defense “delegation”.
These US defense staff had only come up to see Canada’s newest fighter, but they walked away seeing a hellva’ lot more.
Frost took them over to the Schaeffer Building where the Special Projects Group of AVRO Canada was located.
Here security guards, numerous locked doors, and special pass cards were a way of life. And here the unsuspecting delegates were introduced to Project Y.
Project Y was a wooden mock-up of a flying saucer capable of flying 1,500 mph and climbing vertically.
VTOL (Vertical Take-off and Landing)!
The Americans were astounded.
Still, they musta' reasoned, the Canadians had accomplished a lot in recent years…Avro Canada had already produced North America’s first jetliner (five years before America’s first, the Boeing’s 707), they had just seen the brand new Canadian jet fighter, and now here, right before their eyes was Canada’s ultra-secretive Project Y.
It was all too much.
But wait Frost continued…there’s more!
So the now, the very interested Americans, were introduced to the Y-2 Project and the Avrocar venture as well.
Again, it was all too much.
But Frost’s gamble paid off…and out came the USAF (and later the US Army's) chequebook. "Jack" had shown the USAF, secret drawings and items, other Avro Canada executive, then in attendance, didn't even know about!
The USAF was so interested in these projects, they later took over all the funding of AVRO Canada’s Special Project Group, and consequently the Y Projects.
So, in February of 1959 when the Arrow related projects (the Avro Arrow I and II and the Orenda Iroquois engine) were cancelled, and all 13,000 AVRO Canada employees were terminated and thrown out of work, Avro’s Special Project Group soldiered on, alone. There the SPG worked now, in those big empty buildings, where the Arrow and the Iroquois were now only a whisper, until March of 1961 when their US funding was finally exhausted.
The USAF formally cancelled the Avrocar and the WS-606A Supersonic VTOL programs, as they were officially known in December 1961.
ABOVE, the Avrocar flies at YYZ, Malton Regional Airport then, sometime in 1960.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
The AVROCAR…Canada's Flying Saucer - the World's Only, Ever…
Saturday, August 30, 2008
THE RCAF LIVES ON…and the past carries forward into the future.
We shan't forget!
Why would we? These were the start of glory years for Canada! Think British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.
By 1939, Canada was a nation at war with Nazi Germany and beehive of military activity!
Of readying for war, and fighting in the war.
Until 1941, America was still a neutral nation…so on the open seas, U-boats bypassed American vessels and routinely engaged Canadian and British ones.
TENS OF THOUSANDS of Canadians and British subjects were being trained in Canada on all fronts, for the war.
Until 1941, everyone knew where the action was on the North American continent!
MANY AMERICANS couldn't take it…
Being on the sidelines that is.
And so they came north to Canada. In droves.
HUNDREDS Of AMERICAN FLYERS a month were joining the RCAF for various duties. And they donned the RCAF blue uniforms. 9,000 eventually. 800 eventually died in RCAF service.
There was one notable difference between American and Canadian joiners.
Americans in the RCAF remained under jurisdiction of the RCAF. They swore allegiance ONLY TO THE RCAF and not to the Crown. Swearing allegiance to the Crown, the British monarchy, resulted in forfeiture of citizenship for an American.
And when America joined the war, two years and three months later…these very Americans were free to go back home and join the USAAF. 1, 759 left right after Pearl Harbour. 2,000 more later on, and the rest? Well they stayed.
But those that left took with them one major advantage.
Many had already seen combat and/or had hundreds of hours of flying experience in various military aircraft.
And that's all I have to say on this little trip down memory lane…
Saturday, August 23, 2008
…and others…well…they’ll always be a little bit of a mystery…
Fortunately, you can see right through…OR right into…this Canadair SABRE.
Remember long before the SNOWBIRDS…there were the GOLDEN HAWKS!
Formed in 1959, the Golden Hawks were created to celebrate the 50th Year of powered flight in Canada.
They were disbanded in 1964 after 317 airshow demonstrations.
The GOLDEN HAWKS pioneered the “starburst” maneuver and the use of two solo pilots working together as part of the overall team demonstration. Pretty much all aerial demonstration teams have adapted this setup since–
The GOLDEN HAWKS were famous for wrapping up their demonstration by doing a low level flyby, with canopies open, and waving at the adoring crowds.
This Canadair Sabre was made in Montreal (under license from North American Aircraft) and the Orenda engine was made in Toronto. How’s that for an all-Canadian effort!
“CANADAIR SABRES were dominant in the two major conflicts in which they were employed: the Korean War where F-86 Sabres racked up an impressive 11-1 kill record and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. In January 1966, Germany sold 90 of its Canadian Mk 6 Sabres to Iran. These aircraft were quickly transferred to Pakistan and became the main day fighter of the Pakistan Air Force.
In 1952, Jacqueline Cochran, then aged 47, decided to challenge the world speed record for women, then held by Jacqueline Auriol. She tried to borrow an F-86 from the USAF, but was refused. She was introduced to an RCAF Air Vice-Marshal who, with the permission of the Canadian Minister of Defence, arranged for her to borrow 19200, the sole Sabre 3.
CANADAIR sent a 16-man support team to California for the attempt. On 18 May 1953, Ms. Cochran set a new 100 km speed record of 1050.15 km/h (652.5 mph). Later on 3 June, she set a new 15 km closed circuit record of 1078 km/h (670 mph). While she was in California, she exceeded 1270 km/h in a dive, and thus became the first woman to exceed the speed of sound.” (Wikipedia)
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
COURSE, THAT NEVER happened…(see quote within photo)
Had the AVRO ARROW, Number 106, flown with the newly completed and newly fitted “MIGHTY” IROQUOIS Orenda engines, the world speed record would have been shattered! Not just broken.
Unofficially, the Arrow had already broken the record with only the American Pratt and Whitney jet engines.
And Orenda’s “Mighty Iroquois” were just that, with a tested (at the Nobel, Ontario Orenda facility) and confirmed 27 % more engine thrust…than the Arrow’s then currently used Pratt and Whitneys.
The Federal Government of the day, led by Canada’s most inept Prime Minister of all-time, John G. Diefenbaker, that obtuse, small-town prairie lawyer, who gave the word to the RCAF that 106 was not to fly…
It was not, must not, be allowed to break the world speed record with those new Canadian engines.
If the record was smashed, the rationale went, how could “Dief” explain to the Canadian public, that in spite of that notable accomplishment, he was cancelling the Arrow and Iroquois Projects, and he would also be destroying all existing Arrow aircraft and Iroquois engines…blueprints, tooling, jigs etc., until not a trace was left.
Well, he couldn’t.
But despite John G.'s megalomaniac order, and decree of absolute destruction, some of Canada’s aviation love story did survive!
The nose, wings, and front undercarriage of Arrow 106 remain intact today. And are on display in Ottawa, at the Canadian Aviation Museum.
The Arrow presently gets hundreds of thousands of visitors a year.
So a nation that was supposed to forget…didn't.
Arrow 106 was a Mark II, meaning it came with Orenda Iroquois engines.
But how, HOW did these parts escape……when all the others didn’t?
Because someone in the RCAF, at great personal risk (criminal prosecution) had these top secret project artifacts hidden away…until such a time when “cooler heads would prevail.”
Course…that never happened either. Canada as a nation never did get over the debacle.
So, when it was safe to do so…when "Dief" was out of office, the remaining Arrow treasure was “discovered” at some RCAF Station and transported to the Canadian Aviation Museum in the early 60s.
And remember, if my party was in charge, under our “Right Those Wrongs” Policy we would commission an Arrow II Project that would aim to be all the present F-22 is and more…and its design would be based on an evolved Arrow.
The AVRO Newsmagazine featured on an all-Canadian quilt, was an in-house Avro Canada production produced twice monthly for Avro personnel. It had the latest company news, featured entertainment reviews by legendary Canadian Elwy Yost!…and even had a classifieds section.
This edition, only three months away from infamous Black Friday (February 20th) noted that the Arrow pre-production projects would be cancelled in February of '59…because the federal Government had concluded fighter interceptors were obsolete! AVRO Canada was openly optimistic that line of reasoning could be countered noting various USAF commitments to similar US jet interceptor programmes that were contracted through to the mid 70s. If unmanned Bomarc missiles were the answer…why was the USAF so committed to these non-missile, fully manned, aircraft programmes?
ALSO IN THIS EDITION, in response to media requests, the general public was informed that the Mark II Arrow fitted with Iroquois engines would be able to set a new world speed record “anytime we wanted to” but such an achievement would be a secondary byproduct of aircraft testing and not a goal, in, and of itself–
(That's Avro test pilot, "Spud" Potocki, in that Mark I Arrow. Spud was the test pilot who flew one of the Arrows "unofficially" to Mach 2.1)
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
…but not a frequent one. Lest not on these WW II “beasties”.
AIR MILES while fabulous…don’t try them here.
At the Canadian Warplane Heritage.
“But I should be able to use them to fly on these planes!” slurs some malcontent behind me.
“Did you just say planes?”
“Listen you mealy-mouthed…(fairy). These aircraft are the royalty of the aviation world. Former RCAF, not commoner aircraft like Air Canard flies. Now, get lost before I forget I’m Canadian, and am supposed to be a nice guy!“
And you, walkaway babe in blue…dressed more for the Promenade, than a flight aboard a warbird…you have yourself a grand flight! And I’ll catch you on the flyover.
The CWH (Canadian Warplane Heritage) Bolingbroke restoration has been plodding along for 25 slow years with the nose, fuselage and wings now about 70% complete.
The present “Boly” (photo, far left) has been cannabalised from about six or seven different Bolingbrokes and will be restored to FLYING CONDITION.
But it has taken the legendary Canadian Warplane Heritage a quarter of a century to get even this far.
And the hunt for those rare, much needed parts, to complete the historic warbird has so often been fruitless. Sand through the hands.
Located parts have been found incomplete, or decimated through time, by exposure to the ravages of our harsh Canadian winters. Sometimes parts found were rendered useless simply by the owner's prolonged utilitarian use or abuse.
Many former RCAF Canadian bombers were actually sold to prairie farmers after the war. For use down on the farm. Chicken coups etc. And the farmers often didn’t even pay for said bomber, they really just paid for the gas that was still inside said bomber!
So when these forlorn, discarded bombers are found…well, sometimes, it just ain’t pretty!
But amid all those routine deadends… a miracle finally happened.
A rural rumor of a COMPLETE CANADIAN BOLINGBROKE turned out to be more than that.
A farmer in the province of Manitoba who was blessed with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) bought himself a “Boly” two years after the war. Mostly for its’ package deal of discounted gas that could be drained from its four fuel tanks.
He dutifully towed it home, put it up on blocks, drained that precious gas, and left it just like that…for the next 60 years!
During that voyage through time, not even a single part of his Boly" had been lost!
Some did fell off through those tortuous years for sure…but, no problem, they were promptly gathered, and carefully stored away in his barn.
Now we don’t want to say that this miraculous discovery made some CWH men cry, because we are talking about men here, and we are talking about crying…but when you’ve toiled so long and so hard, and suddenly you are given everything you need to complete that impossible, lingering project, well…you know.
The Canadian Warplane Heritage is keeping this whole discovery on the “downsy”.
The location of the “bird” has not been disclosed, nor will it be. There is only one known photograph of it, in its present state (see Manitoba Bolingbroke, above), as it waits for the IODE (Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire) to provide funding for its clandestine move from a field near Winnipeg, to Hamilton.
THIS GODSEND means that the CWH Bolingbroke should be flying inside of about three years!
And this was that secret, I promised to share about two months ago, but forgot to, amid house renos, car crash recovery and all.
Friday, August 1, 2008
…there was always that…in the RCAF.
During WW II. And during the Cold War.
Right up to the very end.
Of the services.
Trudeaupean years, of course ~
Pierre Elliot Trudeau. Great, grand visions of Canada. Horrendous execution…
THE SPITFIRE, of course, was/is an icon in the world of aviation.
BUT THE SPITFIRE was always more than just an airplane…it became the simultaneous symbol of the Allies' defiance, relentlessness, and victory.
The Hawker Hurricane was the "workhorse" of the Battle of Britain, and the arrival of the American fighterplanes later in the war ensured our eventual win, but the Spitfire gave a country hope in its' darkest hour.
When THE SPITFIRE joined the fray in the skies, it lead everyone to believe THREE THINGS: that "we can do it (we can win this war)", " we will do it", AND "we are going to look good, when we do it!"
And we did.
Posted by Never Was An Arrow II at 11:55 AM
Monday, July 7, 2008
…about 4 1/2 miles???”
“Yeh, 621 has ah, crashed–“
So there it was. The pilot of an inbound Air Canada Vickers Viscount, Flight 254, who was next in the (landing) slot, right behind the ill-fated Flight 621 “Stretch” 8 (DC-8-63) confirmed that 621 had indeed crashed.
And it was in this chatter between the YYZ Tower, Departures, AC 621, and AC 254 that it all unraveled for Flight 621. And while all blame for the eventual outcome for the accident seems to fall on the First and Second Officers…that IS NOT my opinion.
If you read the almost 200 page report (half a page, of which, is pictured above), and you have attention to detail, the truth indeed rises above all the “chatter” surrounding the accident.
The truth is in the talkback.
Both then, and 33 years later when I discovered it. Additionally, a little legwork as the police say…and well…
Wait for the book, when I lay it all out, in true irrefutable fashion ~
I will give one clue, however.
Captain Peter Hamilton, a former decorated WW II RCAF Halifax bomber pilot and hero, who was shot down and captured by the Nazis, and even spent time as an POW for his country, for the duration of the war, certainly, certainly, had the deck loaded against him on that day.
Mr. Hamilton who has my deepest and heartfelt respect, tried desperately, and in vain, to save his “ship” on that horrific day and that is what makes it so much a tragedy, and not just an accident.
I am cut to the heart, and enraged, every time I evision that highly skilled, and experienced aircrew, all of them, frantically trying, trying, to turn it all around…and they could have!
They could have!
That is the bitter and tragic truth!
Yes, even after losing an engine, and even though the starboard wing was on fire. They could have. They had both the experience, and skill. These were Air Canada jetliner pilots for gosh sakes! Not just Cessna 172 weekend warrior wannabees!!
Except for one thing…critical information was denied them at the fateful (turn-it-all-around) moment, when had they most assuredly needed it.
And that made all the difference, folks……between safely landing and crashing.
When the compromised Air Canada DC-8 finally plunged earthward, the SO Rowland apologized one last time to his captain, Peter Hamilton for his error with prematurely deploying the spoilers. But Peter was already gone. It was determined that he suffered a massive heart attack just after entering the descent.
And while there is more…that too will have to wait for the book.
RIP Flight 621.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
THERE IT IS…a sad, sad, symbol and reminder of the unfinished business of Flight 621.
Bone bits and aircraft bits are still found in the Flight 621 crash “arena “ to this day!
This farmer's field is littered with thousands of them.
Here lies a blue, broken, Air Canada stir stick, normally finished off on the top with a prominent star. Now only a broken and battered star. And the stir part…long gone. Or buried still.
Once used for cocktails on those premium 1960-70s flights, “Galaxy” referred to Air Canada’s connosieur flight class. The passenger cabin’s ceiling on those specially themed DC-8s were actually molded in blue plastic. Reflective flecks of silver were added to them, and these sparkled (stars) when you gazed upwards at the DC-8's ceiling from the safety of your seat.
BUT ON July 5, 1970…thirty-eight years ago today, the stars fell from the sky.
And crashed, in Castlemore (Brampton), Ontario.
All 109 passengers and crew of Air Canada Flight 621 lost their lives that day.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Flight 621 In Memorium
Adams, Celine Fradette
Adams, Pierre J
Cedilot, Robert J
Charent, Jean Maurice
Clarke, Devona Olivia
Dicaire, Alice (Marie)
Goulet, Denise M
Hamilton, Karen E
Hamilton, Peter Cameron
Herrmann, Ronald Alvin
Hill, Harry Gordon
Houston, Irene Margaret
Jakobsen, Vagn Aage
Leclaire, Marie Rose
Leduc, Henri W
Mailhiot, Claire Gagnon
Mailhiot, Gerald Bernard
Molino, Michael (Michel)
Moore, Frederick T
Partridge, Carnie (Carnis) Ann
Partridge, Cyril Wayne
Phillips, Kenneth William
Robert, Georges E
Smith, Dwight Lee
St. Laurent, Blanche
Stepping, Glenn Thomas
Sultan, Jerald. M
Sultan, Robert. L
Tournovits, Soula (Athanasia)
Whybro, Mary Baker
Wong, Wong (Mansing)
Woodward, Dallas J
FOR MORE on this UNBELIEVABLE STORY in our day, and age, see:
Thursday, June 26, 2008
JOIN DANIELLE…and cheer on the Toronto ARGOS!
This FRIDAY in Winnipeg!!
8 PM Eastern Standard Time–
REMEMBER, "Mr. Automatic" Mike Vanderjagt, the NFL's all-time best kicker, is back again THIS SEASON with the mighty ARGOs.
Danielle, pictured above, had the honour of dancing for the Pope, in Toronto, on World Youth Day 2002.
…she's ready to fly AND she'll be flying soon.
Red tape only, now.
AND WHEN SHE takes to the air…she'll be the only other AIRWORTHY Lysander in the whole damn world.
This "baby" a WESTLAND Lysander Mk IIIA (serial no. 2361) is owned and operated by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, Ontario. Painted in No. 400 "City of Toronto" RCAF Squadron markings, she was also MADE IN TORONTO in 1942!
AWESOME WORK Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum!!
You keep continuing to amaze us!
Look to see her fly at CIAS, this year, as the last minute, MYSTERY GUEST~
AND TOMORROW…I'm gonna tell you another secret.
Posted by Never Was An Arrow II at 7:43 AM
WITH AVIATION FUEL PRICES skyrocketing out-of-control …and with Canadian and US Governments adopting a do-nothing approach…only Porter airlines will be in business by this time next year.
PORTER AIRLINES flys the Bombardier Q400 exclusively which of course sips gas from a “sippy cup” and therefore should be able to survive through the present GAS COST CRISIS.
Never Was An Arrow II was able to reach, T.O. Tal Lybogus, Director of Aircraft Acquistion for Porter Airlines, for comment, on the present gas crisis facing the airline industry.
“Currently, Porter has a fleet of 7 aircraft. We are consulting with our investors and Bombardier Aerospace to begin the purchase process to aquire an additional 1,000 Q400 aircraft within the next 5 years! We have space limitations here at Toronto Island Airport and can currently only “house” 17 total aircraft.
Still, we can’t worry about that now, as we expect to be picking up routes all over North America, as legacy airlines drop like flies…unaided by their respective Federal governments. Their loss will be our gain. We’ll just have to assume their footprint at the various airports.
The Q410 “Snowbillian” while presently in the experimental testing stage, will be needed shortly to service northern and Arctic destinations. The aircraft is outfitted with snowmobile-like treads and there have been some issues. We have asked Bombardier to get the “lead out” and fast track the airplane through to certification because we really need those five damn “snowgoers” by this time next year…when we calculate Air Canada will finally collapse as a northern sector provider.”
“Tal” certainly seemed to be a man under a lot of pressure.
From his chair, he used a lot of hand gesturing to get his points across.
He was sweating profusely the whole time, pausing only to "dab" himself periodically with a beach towel. A beach towel! As he talked about “having to” assume United and American routes when these airlines finally buckled, his eyes rolled back, and he passed out. Twice.
I don’t think it ever occurred to him that Porter could just stay as it was.
It was certainly the most intense interview I had ever participated in.
I really hope he makes it through…to the end of the week.
AIR CANADA Cuts 2,000 Jobs!!…and for once I can’t blame Air Canada for something!
Or ANY AIRLINE.
They "be" the victims this time.
In a perfect world, this is how we would deal with the present gas cost crisis. I have often thought of creating my own political party just because I could deal with these real life issues so much better, AND FASTER than the existing parties have, either Stateside or here in Adanac (that’s Canada, spelt backwords folks).
This universal (worldwide) price action by the oil companies, whatever their country of origin, to highjack our cost of gasoline, by sending it through the stratosphere and already poised to go even beyond…is simply unforgivable.
If I was ”running” Canada, I would dispatch the RCMP to throw all oil company executives on Canadian soil into internment camps. Yesterday. Canada has several, not in use since WW II, so we might as well bring’em back into operation and put' em to good use.
Under my government…we would need'em.
And those cavalier dummies could stay there, and rot, until they ALL so decided to revert pricing back to… say, about 80 cents a litre. Even then, I'd leave them "on ice" for a couple months, time enough for them to work out a consumer refund strategy!
We should never, ever, ever, be paying more than 80 a litre.
Raising the PRICE PER LITRE by over 40%…in a little over 1 year…is simply an act of treason and consumer hostage taking.
It should be punishable by death.
9/11 threatened to shut down the economy, but the present GAS COST CRISIS will actually achieve just that!!!
THERE IS no rationale for such an outrageous price increase over even a decade, let alone a single year…except corporate greed, market tampering, lack of government monitoring and the perception the public is too complacent to react and fight back.
40 % in a year, CAN ONLY BE “market fixing” and blatant consumer robbery!
This price fixing action by oil companies, working in global unison (as a racket) is a real test of individual governments and their ability to respond effectively to this horrendous and imposing economic threat.
GM of Canada cut 2,500 jobs two weeks ago. Now Air Canada, 2,000 today. Soon your company will have to balance the books.
When will YOUR GOVERNMENT rise to the challenge and take REAL action against these price fixing bastards?
I just know my uncertain and indecisive government hasn’t–
THERE THEY ARE…still lost, wavering…and without a clue–––
Yep, that’s a CHIPMUNK, created right here, in TORONTO, in 1946.
The MAIDEN FLIGHT of the DHC-1 Chipmunk, "the first indigenous design of the de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd*", occurred on May 22, 1946 from the runway directly in front of this example, at RCAF Station Downsview, now, Bombardier Aerospace Toronto.
It surely became Prince Philip’s first love. He took his VERY FIRST flying lesson in one in 1952. However, the British Chipmunks lacked the "cool" teardrop canopy the Canadian version had, opting for a multi-paneled canopy instead.
Suprisingly, only 217 would be built in Canada.
The Chipmunk design was mass licensed for British production and Great Britain built almost a 1000 “Chippies”! SIXTY-SIX were also licence-manufactured in Portugal by OGMA (Oficinas Gerais de Material Aeronáutico, at Alverca).
A total of 1230 Chipmunks were built worldwide.
Approximately 130 still fly today, but now in civilian hands, which is a strong testimony to the aircraft’s continuing popularity.
© * Wikipedia
Friday, June 20, 2008
Posted by Never Was An Arrow II at 3:55 PM
…can I go too?
That's the change in lyrics I'd make.
1,400 Hurricanes like the one above, but NOT the one above, were built in Canada for the war effort!
WW II, that is.
At the Canada Car and Foundry in Fort William, Ontario.
1,400, did I say 1,400?
Canada, did I say CANADA?
Yes…C A N A D A .
Posted by Never Was An Arrow II at 2:08 PM
Not all of them…but two of them.
I truly believe they were entirely unaware of the havoc their beauty wrought upon defenceless boys who before their arrival were quite content to play hockey, toss around a football or hoist weights.
THOSE YEARS are gone forever…for sure, but not the wonder of those years ~
Go Tigers, to the very end!
(featured are Casey Pope and Sue Snarr)
It would be later that I would discover female beauty came in many forms and not only the physical.
Posted by Never Was An Arrow II at 2:04 PM
STREETSVILLE…on the run in 81!
MY YEARBOOKS are missing in action.
I snagged this photo, from a yearbook on display…it shows the inside cover of that yearbook, which was from my graduating year (Grade 13) .
The STUDENTS carve out SSS, which, of course, is short for Streetsville Secondary School!
This past Friday and Saturday I attended THE Streetsville Secondary School: 50th Anniversary Reunion to reminisce…to relive and to recapture visual memories of days gone by.
Had a great time.
Two of my three old girlfriends were there. Hey Nancy!. just missed you May, I think– And let's not talk about the other one. Met my former wrestling coach. And I posted three pictures in the 80s Decade room that got a strong response!
And nope, I am not in the above photo.
Posted by Never Was An Arrow II at 1:59 PM
The De Havilland DH-100 Vampire was the RCAF’s first operational jet fighter.
Developed in 1943, it went into production shortly after WW II. Canada purchased 86 of these odd looking “beasties”, only after an F MK 1 Vampire was rigorously tested at the Winter Experimental Establishment in Edmonton in 1946.
The Vampire was taken on strength by the RCAF, on January 17, 1948 at the Central Flying School in Trenton.
“Although this Vampire is a MVI, it is restored in the colours of the RCAF and markings of an F-3 (fighter, Mk, III) flown by 400 (City of Toronto) Squadron, based at Downsview (North York), Ontario.”
Vampires saw action against Communist belligerents in Malaysia (Malayan Communist Party, Malayan Races Liberation Army) beginning in 1948.
“3,268 Vampires were built. 15 versions.
Even a twin-seat night fighter, trainer was crafted. Carrier-based Vampires became known as “Sea Vampires”.
Because the engine on Vampires was so close to the ground, Vampires could not stay stationary for too long, as they would very quickly begin to melt the tarmac!
The Vampire became:
• The first RAF fighter with a top speed exceeding 500 mph
• The first jet to take off from and land on an aircraft carrier
• The first jet to set a new world altitude record of 59,446 feet in 1948
• The first jet aircraft to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. (From Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, to Keflavik in Iceland, and then to Goose Bay at Labrador, before going on to Montreal to start the RAF’s annual goodwill tour of Canada and the U.S.)
Arriving at YYZ (Toronto) from Montreal, didn't make it.
It crashed here in Castlemore (now Brampton) instead.
Here's how it looked the DAY AFTER the crash.
109 people dead, mostly Montreal residents and Americans.
July 06, 1970.
NOW: See Below
(from a slightly different vantage point)
TOMORROW…2008 yields from the 621 field!
Posted by Never Was An Arrow II at 1:36 PM
…happened right here in 1970 on an Air Canada "Stretch 8" arriving from Montreal.
AND PLENTY is afoot right now!
Follow the NOTES.
Well, there is MORE: homepage.mac.com/friendsofflight621/Menu2.html
On July 5, 1970 while Air Canada “California Galaxy” Flight 621 passed over the threshold of Runway 32, at Toronto International Airport, the First Officer, Donald Rowland, inadvertently deployed the speedbrakes (spoilers) while the “Stretch 8” was only 60 feet above the ground.
An excessive sink rate was the immediate result and Pratt and Whitney Engine Number 4 struck the runway, and was immediately torn off. Captain Peter Hamilton unaware of the engine loss, and the subsequent wing fire, initiated a go-around.
Airborne for three and a half minutes, CF-TIW suffered three explosions that were recorded on the CVR tapes. Engine Number 3 was then lost at this time. With the aircraft’s structural integrity finally compromised, flight could no longer be sustained. Now seven miles from the airport, CF-TIW crashed nose down, left wing high into a farmer’s field in Castlemore, Ontario (now a part of Brampton) at 400 mph, only one hundred and fifty feet from the occupied Burgsma residence.
All 109 passengers and crew perished as Flight 621 became Toronto's worst air disaster. This was also the first hull loss of a McDonnell Douglas DC-8-63 series.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
"THREE THOUSAND MILES across a hunted ocean they came, wearing on the shoulder of their tunics the treasured name, "CANADA," telling the world their origin.
Young men and women they were, some still in their teens, fashioned by their Maker to love, not to kill, but proud and earnest in their mission to stand, and if it had to be, to die, for their country and for freedom.
One day, when the history of the twentieth century is finally written, it will be recorded that when human society stood at the crossroads and civilization itself was under siege, the Royal Canadian Air Force was there to fill the breach and help give humanity the victory.
And all those who had a part in it will have left to posterity a legacy of honour, of courage, and of valour that time can never despoil."
Father J.P. Lardie, Chaplain of 419/428 Squadron
(Engraved on the last panel are these words from his speech at the dedication of the RCAF Memorial at Middleton St. George, Great Britain 15/6/85.)
Arrival at Gate 22… and soon on the worldwide music scene!
"That's her in them there clouds, Billy."
Fresh. Lively. An animated folk-rock singer.
But she only sings in English?
START WITH …Smilin’: www.youtube.com/watch?v=UN9VlWpHe0U
Move to the funky… A While: www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFlwzzDMnng
Wrap up with… Gate 22: www.youtube.com/watch?v=uN0nJuXL9n8
(There's a Gate 22 at every airport.)
Album (me, myself & us) available NOW on iTunes… official release in stores sometime in June, 2008.
Hey, what’s with that hair?
The "band" promises to tour Ontario in the summer/fall of 2008. Maybe even TO.
…in Canada. For the WAR!
Some additional Ansons were imported from Great Britain and a total of 4,413 Ansons were actively used by the RCAF during WWII … mostly for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP).
It became the MOST WIDELY USED airplane by any of Canada’s air forces (RCAF, Canadian Armed Forces, Canadian Air Force).
BY THE Numbers:
Mk II ANSONS
1,822 Mk IIs were built in Canada; powered by two 330 hp Jacobs L-6MB engines.
Mk V ANSONS (36% increase in Engine Horsepower)
1,069 Mk Vs were built in Canada; powered by two 450 hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior engines.
Mk VI ANSONS
ONE aircraft was built in Canada; powered by two 450 hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior engines.
In 1952, the Royal Canadian Air Force and Royal Canadian Navy RETIRED all of their Ansons and an era ended–
THIS ANSON is airworthy and is being repaired!
(Mother Teresa in stained glass, Transfiguration of Our Lord Parish, near YYZ)
It is in response to a horrendous distortion both illustrative and written about the life of Mother Teresa. I found it on flickr.
But since I am the world’s worst Catholic, waiting for a saint to respond and finding none, I found I had to rise to the occasion.
There are some who claim to know Mother Teresa, all about her in fact.
And it’s all bad news apparently!
I guess all those legions of folk who went to see her, worked alongside her for years or a lifetime just happened to miss all her dark deeds.
Assertions too silly and too petty to repeat here, and claims neither balanced, nor insightful regarding the actions or motivations of this saint, I came face-to-face with a shocking realization.
Like that spooky kid in Grade seven, who sat at the back of the class, etched swastikas and loved Adolf Hitler… so too I came to realize, there are just some adults out there, who are really out there, who hate Mother Teresa!
Really… they just don’t understand Catholicism in particular, or Christianity in general.
AND ONE should never criticize, what one has failed to understand!
And some just have no religious stirrings at all ~
ANYWAYS, I’ll let Mother Teresa… the criminal (according to Victor)… defend herself through some of her memorable quotes.
"The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather
the feeling of being unwanted."
"God doesn't require us to succeed; he only requires that you try."
"The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the
hunger for bread."
"Jesus said love one another. He didn't say love the whole world."
"In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things
with great love."
"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are
"Many people mistake our work for our vocation. Our vocation is the
love of Jesus."
"There is always the danger that we may just do the work for the
sake of the work. This is where the respect and the love and the
devotion come in - that we do it to God, to Christ, and that's why
we try to do it as beautifully as possible."
"Sweetest Lord, make me appreciative of the dignity of my high
vocation, and its many responsibilities. Never permit me to
disgrace it by giving way to coldness, unkindness, or impatience."
… not always RCAF.
This former RCAF CF-104, now flying with the demo team known as the "Starfighters", was captured over the" dirty skies" of Toronto around CIAS time.
And everyone looks at it!
When it's in the air… you might as well fly nothin' else! You couldn't hear anything else anyway!!
MADE IN MONTREAL and 200 hundred others just like it, for the RCAF in the 60s. It was designed with and had NUCLEAR STRIKE capability! Had Canada needed to drop nuclear bombs anywhere… this is ONE of the aircraft we woulda' done it with!
CANADAIR OF MONTREAL made an additional 140 F-104Gs for Lockheed.
This was a DANGEROUS and UNFORGIVING interceptor to fly and 110 RCAF Starfighters were lost in accidents!
For a SUPER COOL photo of some RCAF CF-104s in flight SEE:
Friday, April 18, 2008
… one of the BEST MOVIES of all-time.
A Guy Named Joe.
Looking back, I doubt if many of the “mobley-heads” I built model planes and tanks during the “wonder-years” would appreciate this eternal movie. But that’s their poverty, not mine.
The story’s hero Pete ( Spencer Tracy) discovers he’s died (yup!) and struggles to come to terms with his former life, and also his new existence.
Joe is lost in the past and is not able to see the “big picture”.
The best moment in the movie is when Pete finally does see the “big picture”.
Pete learns that love is just as much about loss, and letting go, and soldiering on alone… when it’s the right thing to do.
The original purpose of the 1943 movie was to recognize the personal loss millions of Allied families were experiencing in WW II… and to embrace them in their sorrow.
NOT YET available on DVD because “those bastards” at Turner Entertainment can’t pull it together and continue to turn out other stuff that is so beneath this film.
Gentlemen, its NOT JUST about the profits, although that “devil” on your shoulder may think otherwise.
WATCH THIS MOVIE! Readily available on VHS.
APPROPRIATE for viewing on Valentine’s Day!
You and your loved one won’t be disappointed, behind your river of tears–
I will warn you! It’s an old-fashioned love story and a tearjerker (as my dad used to say)…
AND yes, there is a FEMALE P-38 pilot in this flick, Suz.
Was the P-51 Mustang the best British fighter plane of WW II?
The P-51 was an American fighter produced by North American Aviation of California!!
But for first 117 DAYS of her infancy, only the British were interested in her!
WORLD WAR II was really heating up in March of 1940, and more P-40s were needed for the war effort. Desperately.
Curtis Aircraft, who manufactured the P-40 Tomahawk, was already at full capacity, so North American Aviation (NAA) was asked by Sir Henry Self of the British Government Purchasing Commission if they would tool-up to produce more P-40s for the RAF.
One task, among Self's many assigned tasks, was to organize the development and manufacture of American fighter aircraft for the RAF.
NAA President "Dutch" Kindelberger who had approached Sir Henry in the high hope of selling their new medium bomber, the B-25, to the British… was blindsided by Self’s request for P-40 production.
“Dutch” took the British request to his chief designer.
Ed Schmued, then Chief of Preliminary Design at North American didn’t think much of that.
"A Curtis aircraft produced in our buildings? Nope."
Since it would take 120 days to tool-up for the P-40, Ed assured “Dutch” that the team at North American could produce a BETTER aircraft, from scratch, with the same engine, in less time.
The British mulled this one over.
Sure NAA had produced countless Harvards as needed, and North American’s facilities were underutilized, but a new fighter in less than 120 days? That seemed delirious, to put it kindly.
Well, someone in the British High Command thought NORTH AMERICAN AVIATION could do it because the go-ahead was given.
NAA received a call from Sir Wilfred Freeman of the British Ministry of Aircraft Production and his order for 320 units of the “new” aircraft ensured the aircraft would go into production. The aircraft, then known as the NA-73X, was to be called “the Mustang” by British request.
Trouble in the hen house.
The USAAC (United States Army Air Corps), of course, got word of the new fighter, and it had the veto power to block any foreign sales it viewed as not being in the interest of the Republic. And it did.
Now, what would the British do?
The British proposed the terms and the USAAC eventually accepted.
The USAAC would get two free Mustangs for evaluation purposes, and the RAF would get their 320 (plus 300 more) Mustangs without any delivery interruptions.
BRITISH INVOLVEMENT later improved the Mustang design because the British altered their Mustangs with better engines (aftermarket Merlin 61s) and added aftermarket “Malcolm Hoods” (or the bubble canopies) that were already appearing on their late model “Spits”, Tempests and Typhoons. Then the British demanded the Americans follow suit.
Afterall, better meant much faster (433 mph) and bubble canopies meant the pilot could see behind himself as well.
After putting British Merlins (Packard Merlin V-1650 engines) into production P-51Bs by replacing the Allison engines… North American Aviation adapted the “Malcolm Hoods” with their own elongated teardrop canopy design. This eliminated the back decking which had proven to be a blind spot, and was previously found behind the pilot's canopy.
The "evolved" P-51, the P-51D was thus born (see the photo above) and became the definitive P-51 design we all know and love.
The Americans and their Allies knew the P-51 was a clear "winner". It was everything the USAAF had hoped, and had been waiting for. It could even be the long-range fighter escort American bombers needed over Reich territory.
So with a resolve seen from no other nation on earth, America quadrupled production of their Mustang until 15, 000 P-51s (all variants) were eventually produced.
Hermann Göring, Head of the German Luffwaffe noted,
"When I saw Mustangs over Berlin, I knew the jig was up."
I guess so.
On a lessor note, many of the 158 P-51s still flying today came into the civilian market from the RCAF.
THE YEARS leading up to WW II were rough for Cessna.
To offset this, Dwane Wallace, then president of Cessna, took a gamble and decided to design an aircraft for the military market.
The T-50 Cessna Bobcat, a light twin-engine transport, was designed in 1938 and test flown by the “Dwane” himself on March 26th, 1939. Success! It flew admirably and without a hitch.
Dwane (spelled without the “y”) decided it was now or never. He went on a huge marketing and lobbying campaign to sell the Bobcat to everybody and anybody. But the US Congress wasn’t budging, money was tight (especially for military spending) and no orders came in for his Cessna Bobcat.
Finally, in May 1940, there was a breakthrough.
US President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced 50, 000 aircraft would be produced for the British war effort!
Two months later in July, Cessna was awarded a contract to build 33 Bobcats for the US Army. Not bad. Still, not good considering the money that had already been invested in the production of this aircraft.
Let the nailbiting begin.
But wait… there was another summertime knock on Cessna’s door.
This time it was the RCAF.
Well, the RCAF evaluated the Bobcat and found that it met their desperate and timely wartime requirements. Bobcat construction foremost minimized the use of steel and aluminum. Additionally, the aircraft was simple to maintain and also cheap to operate. Cessna had, as well, already positioned itself for large-scale aircraft production in the event it actually got some military orders!
Good news for the RCAF.
There was only one problem.
The RCAF needed 180 Bobcats, not just 33.
Dwane was floored by the generous order. Some say he babbled nonsensically for days.
Large-scale production was no longer needed, but rather grand—scale just to meet the RCAF's needs!
The RCAF order was the largest order Cessna had ever received. And, of course, Canada wanted their aircraft immediately!
So Dwane had two military orders on the books, but didn’t have the operational facilities or the capital to complete the enormous building task!!
However, signed contracts from big “players” like these were good as gold in those days, and with financing quickly put in place, Cessna was able to go on a two month construction blitz to expand their operational facility to 80, 000 square feet!
The photo above is of an RCAF Crane, which became the Canadian designated name for the Cessna Bobcat. The inset photo, found on e-Bay recently, shows the 1940 Cessna ad, as it appeared in colour, but not original magazine size which then was 11” x 16”. Canadian Bobcats are depicted flying in formation, and in the RCAF’s BCATP colour scheme.
The Cessna ad byline read, “Cessna, the World’s Most Efficient Airplane!”
The RCAF eventually bought 822 Cranes from Cessna.
SKY KING was a 50s TV series that initially starred a Cessna Bobcat.
1944 – 1945 CANADA builds 1,134 De Havilland Mosquito Fighter-Bomber aircraft for the British war effort.
The fuselages were built at the General Motors Plant in Oshawa, Ontario and were shipped to De Havilland of Canada at Downsview, in Toronto. Engine assembly, instruments, radios, radar, fuel systems, engine controls and radio navigation aids were added at Downsview. Test flights of the newly assembled Mosquitos, nicknamed “Mossies” were also conducted there.
All 7, 781 De Havilland MOSQUITO FUSELAGES were built by forming up plywood layers made of 3/8" sheets of Ecuadorean balsawood that were sandwiched between sheets of CANADIAN BIRCH.
Strange BUT True!
MOSQUITOs produced in Toronto had to land, passing over Dufferin Street at car windshield height. A sentry was posted on Dufferin Street to control a manual traffic light that stopped traffic when a “Mossie” came in to land (See my photo of the TAM display above).
The runway was extended in 1944 and Dufferin Street was closed off to accommodate this extension.
A Mosquito IX also holds the record for the most missions flown by an Allied bomber in the Second World War.
Designated LR503, and "F for Freddie", this Mosquito first served with 109 Squadron and later with 105 Squadron. She flew 213 successful operational sorties during the war over occupied Europe.
TWO DAYS after VE DAY she crashed on the 10th of May 1945 at RCAF Station: Calgary (YYC) in Alberta, ironically, during a victory tour.
The Mosquito was doing celebratory high-speed low passes around the airport when it struck a balloon releasing pole that sheared off its port wing and some of the “Mossie” tail.
Both crew were killed, and the accident was attributed to pilot error.
INCIDENTALLY, the USAAF ordered 40 Canadian built Mosquito bombers (B Mk XX version) and all 40 were converted to photo-reconnaissance aircraft and were delivered as F-8s.
Some Downsview De Havilland staff were quite surprised to see these “Mossies” when they rolled out of the factory in American air force (USAAF) markings!
Sunday, January 13, 2008
ALL that remains…
… of our beloved Arrows.
Arrow 206 NEVER flew.
But of all the completed Arrows… she was the ONLY ONE fitted with those MIGHTY and now LEGENDARY, Canadian, ORENDA IROQUOIS engines.
And Arrow 206 was just hours away from her maiden flight when AVRO received the government’s senseless order to destroy HER and all other existing Arrows!
Just HOW MANY Arrows were scrapped?
TEN complete Arrows.
Seventeen in various stages of completion, with parts in existence to complete each one.
HERE SHE IS, 206, forever perched above the admiring crowds at the Canadian Aviation Museum, formerly RCAF Station Rockcliffe (where I was born, incidentally).
A beautiful, and silent, songbird from that era in Canadian history when Canadians could achieve anything… just because we wanted to.
MADE IN TORONTO.
MADE IN CANADA.
And in 1959… there was nothin’ better.
♫ ♫ LAMENT our lost Arrows ~
SPOTTED at 12:02am on Mississauga Road NEW YEARS DAY… returning from house reno.
This wrapped 2 MILLION DOLLAR wing left UNATTENDED at MHI Aerospace in Mississauga across from Microsoft Canada’s Head Office.
I thought to myself… THAT CAN’T be a wing… just left there.
As you can see…
NOT Serni’s Forest ~
THERE ARE no tanks in Serni’s forest.
And there are A LOT of tanks here! From around the world. From WW I, to the present.
Major-General F.F. Worthington Memorial Park.
Worthington, “Worthy”, “FF” was Canada’s “General Patton”.
Shortly after WW I, F.F. became convinced that ARMOUR was the way to go for the Royal Canadian Army.
And he wouldn’t shut up about it.
So, finally, in 1936, F.F. was commanded to set up, organize, and command the Canadian Tank School at London, Ontario. Within two short years the whole facility was moved to Camp Borden, near Angus, Ontario. The CANADIAN ARMY needed to scale-up… as the threat to the Commonwealth, now poised by Herr Hitler and his relentless Nazism was quickly emerging on the British horizon.
So… a second command came to FF in 1940.
This time he was ordered to organize, command and TAKE OVERSEAS the 1st Army Tank Brigade and the 4th Canadian Armoured Division. No small feat, but Worthy rose to the occasion.
By 1944, FF was back at Camp Borden overseeing multitudinous base operations.
And when FF, the “Father of the Canadian Armoured Corps” died in 1967 he returned to Camp Borden one last time. To be buried.
His wife eventually joined him there.
Major-General Worthington Memorial Park, where FF and his lifelong love are entombed is indeed consecrated ground, and DND describes it as “a place for quiet reflection”.
Worthy’s son is the notable newspaper journalist, and founding editor of the Toronto Sun, Peter Worthington.
The WAR YEARS were heady days both for Major-General Worthington and my dad. One man was capping off a career, another, only beginning.
On a personal note… when I was 17, my dad took me to see the legendary Camp Borden.
It’s where he initially trained when he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, way back in 1938. And so, in the late 70s, with his mind starting to fail from that affliction of Alzheimer’s, a father quietly returns, to places known, and significant, wanting to share his past with a son… while there was still time.
CAMP BORDEN will always be a wondrous, and enchanted place for me.
PEACE ON EARTH!! To All People of Good Will!!