Wednesday, February 11, 2009

50 YEARS AGO…this month…the Arrow…

…was featured in the RAF Flying Review!

The publication noted the chance of cancellation, "the talk" but they didn't take it seriously. They went on to include a 2-page illustrated cutaway of the Canadian CF-105 Arrow, alongside a full page, three sided view of her.

The four page Arrow article, "The Mighty Arrow" noted that Canada's newest interceptor was likely to become the first combat aircraft capable of reaching MACH 3 in level flight!

But then as we all know so painfully, an idiot Prime Minister had his way, and the speed record that was ours for the taking, was never broken.

And the Canadian technological marvel, known as the Arrow, was scrapped.

But in the first part of this month…50 years ago this week…there was still hope…

AND SOON, nigh, a few short weeks from now, in February…we, as Canadians, will mark…not celebrate, the 50th Anniversary of the cancellation of the Avro Arrow CF-105 and the Orenda Iroquois Engine Project.

And the little country that could…didn't.

And from that point on, it all changed for Canada.

We returned to being a consumer, not a producer.

Critics respond that it was just one damn airplane!


It was a movement.

A well orchestrated one at that.

There had been the Avro Jetliner (North America's 1st jet airliner), and the CF-100 (NATO's first all weather interceptor).

On deck there was the Arrow, of course, the Avrocar (a working flying saucer) too, the Orenda Iroquois engine (a lighter weight jet engine with 30% more engine thrust than anything else on the military market) and there were secret plans to launch Canada into space exploration.

And France even ordered 300 Iroquois engines from Orenda, before testing had even been completed. France wanted the best for their new fighter jet, the Mirage. And the Iroquois was the best! But the Canadian government killed the engine deal alongside the Arrow.

Later, there would be Bombardier, and de Havilland Canada, both with notable aviation achievements, but it wasn't the same, folks.

Not. At. All.

AVRO CANADA was the first "place" where Canada really excelled technologically, collectively, and INDEPENDENTLY as a nation.

Here, at Derry Road and Airport Road in Malton, the future looked to be full of promise, and our potential for additional achievement seemed to be unlimited. We had competed against those larger and more established nations, the USA, Great Britain and France…and we had finally rubbed shoulders as an equal.

And then when it couldn't get any better for Canada, or our future couldn't be any brighter, a lousy prime minister and a handful of nearsighted bureaucrats, who had long ago surrendered their man-card (© Debbie Schlussel) , threw away a decades worth of extraordinary Canadian prosperity and achievement.

And our next 50 years of promise.

So, there are still some, in Canada now, who actually think the Arrow "thing" wasn't such a big deal.

And that really was so long ago…you know…

These are the very same people who can't see the connection between causation, momentum, and dominance. These blighted types are those who naively, and wrongfully conclude, that America was always that great, world, superpower, we now see before us .

What they don't realize is that America emerged as the global frontrunner, because of just five short years of WW II participation, meeting and besting the challenge placed to them by their Axis foes. A challenge that had threatened their very existence as a free nation, and scared America out of their past isolationism and mediocracy. And America hasn't even had time to look back since.

So we'll never know what Canada could have been.

Our 10 years of excellence and cumulative technological advancement was brought to swift end on Black Friday: February 20, 1959.

Almost 50 years ago now…

With the ruination of Avro Canada by the obscure Canadian federal government of the day, we only know that "our moment" of critical mass and technological momentum, when reward would have compounded reward, conceived new visions, and forged new pathways, propelling us into an exciting and novel Canadian future, was ultimately, and finally lost.


And that's it, folks…

Never. Did. Canada. Recover.

The Arrow wasn't just a plane, you dummies. It was our future ~

© Brown Recluse Sings!
© Paul Cardin

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