Tuesday, April 13, 2010

::: ORENDA IROQUOIS ::: Toronto ::: 1957

WELL, WHEN IT CAME TIME for testing the Canadian designed, and produced Orenda Iroquois PS-13 jet engine…Avro Canada needed a BIG airplane.

You know, for doing some actual flight testing.

Someone suggested creating another Jet Lancaster.

That idea was immediately shot down. A much bigger airplane, a more weighty one, was needed…unless you wanted to send a disintegrated Lancaster right into deep space!

"Well, the Lancaster…that's the biggest airplane the RCAF has!"

"…but, America has the Boeing B-47 Stratojet , it's H-U-G-E!"

Get one.

And so the RCAF, somehow, got one. RCAF and Avro Canada pilots had to be trained to fly one.

But before you know it, before you could say, "greatest jet engine in the world", Canadair of Montreal, mounted the PS-13 Orenda Iroquois in an engine pod on the starboard side of the gigantic American bomber (see picture, and the pod…within the two yellow oblong circles), and those pilots learned how to fly a Stratojet.

As a test-pilot at Avro Canada you just never knew what the future would bring. One day you're falling asleep at a table playing craps, or solitaire…asking yourself why you took this job; the next day someone drops an 800 page Stratojet Flight Manual on the very same table, tells up to snap to it…and again, you wonder why you took this job!

The RCAF B-47B Stratojet—in Toronto, in both pics above, is the only B-47 to have ever served outside of the USAF. The Stratojet was America's frontline bomber in SAC (Strategic Air Command). These were the Cold War years, folks. The USAF had 600 of their 2,000 Stratojets on standby at bases everywhere…to take to the air with a nuclear payload at a moments notice. The Americans didn't take it lightly…loaning the world's first swept-wing bomber to a bunch of Canadian yahoos who were no longer just a bunch of brawling hockey goons… but had become, somehow, also, world-class aeronautical engineers! The B-47 would later evolve into the B-52, as we all know—

A 50 hour benchmark engine test had to be completed on the B-47 before anyone would start to take the Iroquois engine seriously.

At the 150 hour benchmark, the engine becomes viable, and can be sold worldwide.

Iroquois Jet Engine 1003 was so powerful that it could propel the massive bomber all on its own…with all six B-47 engines turned off!

Kidding? No, not kidding!

That PS-13 Orenda Iroquois jet engine turbine rotor blade (lower pic) is from Engine 1003, the Iroquois used to complete the 50 hour benchmark test. It belonged to E.K Brownbridge, Orenda Engines's Executive Vice-President and General Manager, during the time when Avro Canada was seriously marketing the engine…come one, come all.

And, yes, it is now owned by moi, me.

PS-13 Orenda Iroquois Jet Engine 1003 has a permanent home in Hamilton, Ontario at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.

I gonna' tell you TWO SECRETS that you likely never knew before.

One, for sure.

What ever happened to the Orenda Engines Limited, which was once a subsidiary of Avro Aircraft of Canada Ltd? I mean, we know that Avro Canada, the manufacturing facilities that once churned out Lancasters by the hundreds, 700 CF-100s, and 37 Arrows in various stages of completion, were wrecked by GTAA lunatics, and bulldozed to the ground a few years back.

But what became of Orenda?

It makes me sick, BUT I'll tell you. It became, ARE YOU READY, Toronto's International Centre! Once a building that produced world-class jet engines, and flying saucers…has been reduced to a revolving warehouse clearance centre, and consumer and trade show emporium!

Oh…my ticker…

(self-talk…calm…calm…relax…,…, …)

T h a t ' s … b e t t e r …

And that final secret?

Everyone in Canada…and a handful of Americans know, how big the Arrow could have been.

Few know…the Orenda Iroquois jet engine could have easily surpassed the cutting-edge success of the Arrow interceptor. Certainly, commercially. The Iroquois was the superstar waiting in the wings… to save the day. Singularly capable of returning all of that Government of Canada, peoples of Canada' monetary investment, in both the Arrow and Iroquois programmes. A technological bumper crop. The PS-13 was an engine that WOULD HAVE been sold worldwide. It was simply…hands down…the best engine design available, at the time.

CURTIS-WRIGHT, in 1957, had ALREADY signed a deal with Orenda, to produce the Iroquois under license. The American engine maker believed that 12,000 Iroquois engines could be sold over the life of the engine. The deal was worth billions of dollars! All that Curtis-Wright needed from Orenda was for the company to complete the 150 hour benchmark test, successfully.

The IROQUOIS had sailed, SAILED, through the 50 hour benchmark test.

But before completing the 150 hour benchmark test, the gloomy Luddite Prime Minister of Canada, John G. Diefenbaker, on February 20th, 1959, cancelled both the production of the Avro Arrow, and any further testing on the PS-13 Orenda Iroquois.

America has ITS' Benedict Arnold…Canada HAS John G. Diefenbaker!

'nuff, said—


Get, Iroquois Rollout, by Peter Zuuring, for a good pictorial of the development of the Orenda Iroquois, right up to and past, the cancellation of the Iroquois programme.

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