Saturday, March 13, 2010


COURSE, the AVRO ARROW wasn't the only casualty on BLACK FRIDAY so long ago now… on that distant 20th of February in 1959.

There was also the mighty Orenda Iroquois PS-13 supersonic jet engine programme.

It too would fall to the cutter's torch.

A stained, faded, torn, age-old ad, barely, barely… recalls the glory.

Touted as being the successor to the Orenda Jet Engine TR.5, the ORENDA IROQUOIS would never fulfil that advertised destiny.

4,000 of the original Orenda Jet Engine TR.5s were produced and when they were unleashed upon the world… those Orendas were the most powerful engines in the world.

Orenda would hold that proud title from 1949 until 1952.

The AVRO ARROW was actually, originally, set to be powered by jet engines from the UK.

But there were delays. Big delays. And because of those delays, the first Arrows ended up using American Pratt & Whitney J75s, as Avro Canada became desperate to get their Arrows into the air.

But Avro also committed themselves to their Orenda Division for a new, better, engine as Avro Aircraft of Canada Ltd. looked to their future…

And that future was wide open!

And that immediate future was to be… the Arrow Mk. II.

An improved Arrow.

And that Arrow had to have better engines than the J-75.

Loads better.

So, the challenge was on.

And, ORENDA, folks… did not disappoint.

They came up with the PS-13 design. What you're lookin' at above.

And during its' testing period, this Iroquois prototype became the most powerful jet engine in the world! Rated by pounds of thrust.

And the new Orenda also produced the loudest, man-made sound, bar none. That's THE reason it was tested hundreds of miles away, in Nobel, Ontario… far, far, from civilized man.

And suburban Toronto.

The Armée de l'Air, or the French Air Force, were mighty interested in this new, and triumphant Canadian jet engine. Dassault hoped to put it into their own evolved French interceptor, the Mirage III. The French wanted to be first in line when the Iroquois engine became available, outside of the Arrow programme.

And Dassault was actually ready, stylo in hand, to ink a 300 engine purchase deal with Avro, while the Iroquois was still only in the testing stage!

But THAT grand overture was not to be, either.

So, on February 20th, 1959, as luck finally ran out for the Arrow… luck simultaneously ran out for the Orenda Iroquois. Even though it was, and would be a record-breaking jet engine.

And Canadian Prime Minister, John G. Diefenbaker, who swung the hatchet became the all-time ninny of Canadian politics.

But, as it turned out, there was to be a third victim in this wide-sweeping fiasco.

'Course, we'll save that story… for another day—

PS - The third victim WAS NOT the B-47 that was used extensively to test the mighty Iroquois. The Iroquois DID RUIN that borrowed USAF bomber (inset ad pic) that was on loan to Avro Canada, and the RCAF, for the Orenda Iroquois' testing phase.

Significant frame damage caused by the all-powerful Iroquois being mounted on only one side of the aircraft, the starboard side, rendered the large bomber unsafe for continued use.

Yes, that B-47 was soon scraped after its quiet return to the USAF. And no, that isn't the victim I am calling to mind.

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