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…

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