Sunday, October 25, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

The ARROW: How Close Can You Get?

Here it is, folks.

It was almost destroyed. Twice.

During the making of the CBC production, the unexpected blockbuster hit movie: "The Arrow".

That be another story.

Gwen asks us, "What is it?"

We do not laugh.

A lot of people ask that question.

Before a military airplane is created live ( aluminum, steel, rubber, secret materials etc.) there will be a wooden mock-up made of the intended aircraft just to start working out some of its' design aspects.

From a hands on, three-dimensional standpoint.


Here you have the original wooden mock-up of the COCKPIT of the CF-105 Avro Arrow!

Not the whole airplano. Only the cockpit… where special attention to detail is paramount because this is where the pilot lives. Reacts to the enemy. Or simply flies patrol. At a thousand miles-per-hour.

All the minutiae were worked out here. Before everything got stripped out, (seat, electronics, control wheel) it was pretty much a functioning cockpit. And if there was a problem in design, location of a gauge, etc., it all got settled right here.

Need more details? Read the plaque, in the picture, itself.

Housed at the Brampton Museum (Peel Heritage Museum) as an ongoing Avro Canada exhibit, it resides at 9 Wellington Street East, less than a quarter mile from my house.

But that's not the clincher.


THE GUY who designed the cockpit was Wilf Farrance. While he now lives in London, Ontario, he used to live at 14 Crestview, in Brampton, which, by road, is just one mile and about a hundred feet south of the museum. And this exhibit.

His baby.

THREE MONTHS after Black Friday, Wilf went south to Martin Baker where he became plant manager. But had he stayed put, in retirement, he could have simply strolled up to the museum to see his former "workbench".

Nah, you're right. Too painful.

So few artifacts remain from the Arrow program… that every single one causes us to pause, and think.

What if?

It has taken us 60 years to leap back from the Avro Jetliner cancellation, and Bombardier has done well in the commercial aircraft segment…

But Canada never bounced back in the military aircraft sector.

Once the Arrow was murdered, we never went back to the military stuff. We bought it, but never again did we produce it.

But it is museum pieces like these that remind us of the tenaciousness, the intensity, and the success of Canadian ingenuity in the early part of the Jet Age, in the late 1940s and 50s. It was a new frontier, folks. New, to everybody. And a small country like Canada (through research and development) could be as successful, and even more so, than some of the more established players in the aviation field ( Britain, the USA, France).

Even if, only, for a time.

So, meander your way up to that there museum, and look at this artifact, and many other Avro Canada ones. Each will leave you with an impression of how grand the aeronautical endeavours, and undertakings were there in Malton in the 50s. You'll note at Avro Canada, their strong employee social network, this carefree and serious "country" within our country, that would eventually have such a huge impact on our tiny, tiny, nation.

And of, course the world around us. Because nothing is ever done in a vacuum, folks.

What was happening at Avro Canada was noticed worldwide. And what was learned there has been passed on through, to later aircraft design.

The BAC TSR.2 benefited heavily from the Arrow program. No less than 15 design inputs snafu'd from Avro Canada engineering data given to BAC for free, for FREE, by the Canadian government! Stupid is, as stoo'pid does—

The Concorde, and its Olympus engines both benefitted from our Canadian successes at Malton (YYZ). More freebees. To any who just asked! First "acquired" from Avro Canada, and next from Orenda Engines (the engine subsidiary of Avro Canada).

And I could go on, but won't.

Do yourself a favour.

Visit the museum, and breathe it all in.

Stop pretending you're a Canadian… be one.

And, I, am, outta, here…

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rare!! AVRO ARROW Photo… before engines installed!

(photo credit: unknown)

Unknown also, are the identities of these Avro engineers who posed in front of their baby.

AVRO CANADA was way ahead of the "times" in the 50s because they gainfully employed over 300 people with disabilities.

THIS PHOTO comes my way by Robert Millie.

You know his dad who designed the CF-103. The CF-103 was an Avro Canada precursor design and fighter interceptor concept consideration which became another stage in the design process, that would eventually evolve into the CF-105 Avro Arrow.

The Tiger Boys' Aeroplane Works OPEN HOUSE 2009: GUELPH, Ontario

This brother and sister team were mighty impressed with the Tiger Boy's kid's version of the de Havilland Tiger Moth. It can taxi! This baby Moth has working pedals and a steering stick!

GUELPH, Ontario… The Tiger Boys' Aeroplane Works OPEN HOUSE 2009: …really, AIR SHOW, with loads of airplane ride opportunities. You're up there flyin' for only $40! Dawn to Dusk. Saturday and Sunday in Guelph, Ontario. Third week in September. Always.

The Tiger Boys' motto : "Where Old Planes Go To ... Fly!"

Located on the outskirts of Guelph, it's a tiny airport. They call it an air park.

But every year, there is a surprise.

One year a CF-18 came to visit!

THIS YEAR there was a Silver Dart replica with Flight sim booth so you could try to fly a the AEA Silver Dart yourself.

ONE HUNDRED years ago, in Baddeck Nova Scotia, the AEA Silver Dart was the first heavier than air, airplane, to fly a powered, AND controlled flight, here in Canada. The Silver Dart may not have had a telephone, BUT Alexander Graham Bell was one of the five AEA designers of the Dart!

But, I digress…

So what will be "the surprise" next year?

Next year… well, I heard… that the Arrow that got away… may, may, show up.

Hey, you never know.

So you better be there. Tom Dietrich and Bob Revell who oversee the Tiger Boys put on a great show. THIS IS the way an air show SHOULD BE. Every one settles in around the runways and you let the show go on! It's also a fly-in. So bring your airplano! There was a ban on Taylorcraft products this year, but next year the ban should be lifted,

ONE GUY who flew in, landed, had sup, and then had to go. He flew back over the Air Park at an altitude of about 500 feet, and then throttled down his engine. A woman lying under a Cessna became alarmed and suddenly sat up scanning the sky for the airplane in trouble. At that moment the pilot yelled down to the unsuspecting visitors, to have a good day! And off he flew… to parts unknown!

Airplanes are taking off and landing every other minute. All at arm's length!

Folks, you are missing a GREAT, GREAT EVENT that runs every year! Lots of historical artifacts are also housed at the airport. Several static airplanes at the Air Park have appeared in blockbuster movies, etc.! And there old-timers there with stories to be told. But if you insist on being a couch potato…

The Tiger Boys' Aeroplane Works OPEN HOUSE 2009: The De Havilland DH.82A Tiger Moth

AT A FLY-IN… sometimes the most unexpected visitor shows up!

ALMOST 3,000 of these were made in Toronto, folks!

CANADIAN TIGER MOTHS were modified and upgraded from the original design. Upgrades included… float and ski fittings, sliding canopy, cockpit heater, redesigned cowling, increased power, and a tailwheel. The British liked the Canadian mods and ordered 200 Tiger Moths of the DH.82A version. This was the FIRST TIME the "flow" went in the opposite direction. Usually Canada ordered aircraft from Britain.

From DND (Department of Defense),

"A vital Aircraft in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan was the DH-82C Tiger Moth, in which thousands of Commonwealth pilots soloed. Built by de Havilland in Toronto, over 1500 Tiger Moths equipped many Elementary Flying Schools throughout Canada."

The Tiger Boys' Aeroplane Works OPEN HOUSE 2009: Fleet Finch

SURE… I COULDA' reached out and touched her.

THIS WAS an air show!! Right up there with CWH's!!

FLEET FINCH Model 16s were developed specifically for the RCAF by Fleet Aircraft of Fort Erie. These aircraft were used exhaustedly to train Commonwealth pilots of the BCATP at 12 EFTS (elementary flying training school) sites across Canada during WW II.

They stayed in service with the RCAF until 1947, and 430 were built for the RCAF!

A grand total of 437 Finch Mark 16s were made, altogether.

CORNELLS eventually replaced all of the Finches on charge.

THIS FLEET FINCH can be seen flying out of Windsor Mills, in the 1940's film, Knights Of The Air.

THIS FLEET FINCH can be seen flying out of Windsor Mills, in the 1940's film, Knights Of The Air.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

:::. The HERO… that TORONTO Forgot ~

THIS IS Flight Lieutenant D.E. Hornell, VC's Canso of RCAF No. 162 "Osprey" Squadron.

Well, THIS WAS the paint scheme of Hornell's Canso (PBY Catalina, to the Americans) and brought back to life through the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, in Hamilton, Ontario. Here CWH's Canso is being put back into the hangar after an unscheduled flight on Thanksgiving Day.

Hornell's Canso attacked, and sunk, U-boat U-1225 on June 24, 1944 using depth charges at co-ordinates 63.00N, 00.50W which is north-west of Bergen, Norway.

AND ALTHOUGH, David Hornell born in Toronto, was awarded the Victoria Cross for both his conduct in the attack of U-boat U-1225, which they sank, and whilst awaiting rescue in their dinghy (they were also shot down during their attack), he isn't worthy to title a Toronto airport.

Namely, Toronto Island Airport.

Nope, that honour must go to Billy Bishop who apparently is the only Canadian war hero Toronto City Council has ever heard do of.

And… he ain't from TO.

The mayor of Toronto, David Miller, recently stepped down as mayor.

Good riddance.

::: The Airport That Time Forgot


The Tiger Boys' Aeroplane Works OPEN HOUSE in 2009 and that's a Fleet Finch.

Made in Fort Erie, during WW II, for the BCATP.

BCATP? What, who dat?

Well… start Googling…

Saturday, October 10, 2009


AN IN-PROPORTIONALLY LARGE part of Canadian history revolves around aviation.

BASICALLY nothing happened in Canada, until we embraced the world of aviation.



And then, we almost went to the moon. By ourselves.

Canadian innovation.

We didn't have much as a nation. And we were pretty small, population wise. But, by gosh, we ran with what we had—

'Course you'll never learn that in school.

Elementary, collegiate, or post-secondary.

Oh, no.

Let's talk about Louis Riel, Pierre Trudeau, the suffragettes, …etc.

Hey! Let's not…

… and say we did.

WAY BACK IN GRADE 8, I had a crush on an attractive little blond girl.

Course, a lotta' guys in my class did. And we had some hockey stars, and some hunks, a guitar player or two, and a whole bunch of other guys that would appeal to a little girl a lot more than I would. I mean these were the days before my weightlifting, wrestling, and boxing obsessions.

I mean, I was pretty nerdy kid.

So I would talk about the only thing I knew. Those mighty, mighty Lancs.

I mean, I was just a dumb little kid.

Well, she laughed, and she laughed hard. And she laughed often. And soon enough everybody was jeering at my mighty, mighty Lanc stories.

Course, it only got worse.

I had just about given up. And, I had just about tossed in the towel because the object of my affection was further away than ever.

But then again, we're Canadians. And we never give up, and of course, we never say quit. Unless you're born out of that "New" Canada. Then you can, and will do, whatever.

So I took the ridicule. And I waited.

And then something extraordinary happened. All stars the aligned. And almost overnight.

She came over to me one day, and smiled. She said, "You know I saw a special last night on TV that had these Lancasters flying in it. There were all these people walking around and…"

That's when I cut her off.

"You mean, they were talking about my mighty, mighty Lancs!?"

"No", she quietly responded, "They were talking about OUR mighty, mighty, Lancs."

"Do you want to walk me home, today?"

"Yes, I believe I do—"

There are people who say we can't rebuild Canada. That we're done. Well… I don't think so.

They also say there will be no more great stories of Canadian innovation. And that's where I cut them off.

Folks, it all unravelled with the Avro Arrow, and that's what we have to go back to. That's where we have to begin.


A new Arrow. Several marks to meet the varying, but ever-present defence needs of Canada. But that will be just the beginning. That is only a start, towards a renewed national independence and a more enlightened nation-building policy.

Since that IS where we lost our Canadian soul, that IS where we have to take it back.

We have to re-establish Avro Canada.

We can't go forward…until we go all the way back. Yes, even past the Arrow… to the Jetliner!

But… I'm showing too much of my hand.

'nuff said.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I SHALL never… fly again ~

The MIGHTY, MIGHTY, LANC' flys again… but this grand, old Harvard, will never fly again.

MUSEUMS only have much money, folks. And a flying museum is expensive to run. So choices HAVE to be made. Hard ones. Spend here for this, and let that go. And so as bitter as it is… this HARVARD will not get the new $50,000 engine it needs to take to the air once more. Nope.

A 100 GRAND recently had to be spent on the MIghty, Mighty, Lanc, earlier this year… as you know, and so, this Harvard had to make the sacrifice.

And this Harvard was proud to do it, damn it!

To step up to the plate. To take the "hit" for the Lanc. It's all in the line of duty.

In the RCAF. Airman, or airplane.

Then. Now.

Old soldier, old workhorse, that she is.

So, this Harvard is done—

THIS GLORIOUS airplane that once rose to the occasion and trained hundreds of future fighter, and bomber pilots to fly, in perilous times past… and later pleased tens of thousands of both the young and old in peaceful times, at air shows annually… has reached her end of days.

'Course, if you have a Harvard engine lying around, one that you're not using, or don't want… and you have a feverishly generous soul… I'm sure the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum will thankfully take it off your hands.

Until that day… SHOULD IT EVER arrive… old valiant shall never fly again.

This will be her final, undignified state.

And here we are, in the sadness, and the quiet… just you, and me, and an ole' RCAF Harvard—