Saturday, February 26, 2011


THE CBC WAS INTERVIEWING Avro Canada employees at the end of their final shifts. The day? February 20, 1959. In the morning, Prime Minister John G Diefenbaker announced in the House of Commons that the Arrow and Iroquois programmes were cancelled, and Avro Canada president, Crawford Gordon, promptly fired everyone at Avro that afternoon. No airplane or jet engine, to build…no work!

No one blamed Crawford Gordon for the firings.

EVERYONE blamed Dief, including this Canadian blonde bombshell captured by the CBC interviewer. I looped the clip for 3X play since it is so short.

WHO WAS this Canadian wonder woman?

I wonder if anybody out there in cyberspace knows who she was?? Curious.

She got it. And she sent her thoughts right up to the Prime Minister.

But Dief was arrogant.

A Jack. Stupid. Ass.

So he plowed ahead like every idiot would…throwing good business advice to the wind…because…well, he knew better. And so he destroyed Avro Aircraft of Canada Limited.

The blonde woman typifies CANADIAN WOMEN in general.

Here's YOUR debriefing:

"SWEET GIRLS come from the south, Barbies come from California, but Canadian girls have fire and ice in our blood. We can drive in snow and mud, handle the cold, beat the heat, be a princess, throw a right hook and drink with the boys! We can cook a wickedly good meal and if we have an opinion... You bet your ass your gonna hear it!!!"
(Janice Gattie)

And now, you know!

©1959 CBC

Sunday, February 20, 2011

THE ARROW isn't coming back, folks…

AND NEITHER IS the Orenda Iroquois PS-13…

"IT'S THE CLOSET THING CANADIAN INDUSTRY has to a love story and a murder mystery.

THE AVRO ARROW, a sleek white jet interceptor developed in Malton, Ontario in the 1950's, could have been many things. It might have become the fastest plane in the world, Canada's best defence against Soviet bombers, the catalyst to propel Canada to the forefront of the aviation industry. Instead, it became a $400-million pile of scrap metal, and the stuff of legends.

Not long after the 1958 start of its flight test program, the development of the Arrow (including its Orenda Iroquois jet engines) was abruptly and controversially halted before the project review had taken place, sparking a long and bitter political debate.

The controversy engendered by the cancellation and subsequent destruction of the aircraft in production, remains a topic for debate among historians, political observers and industry pundits. "This action effectively put Avro out of business and its highly skilled engineering and production personnel scattered...

The incident was a traumatic one... and to this day, many mourn the loss of the Avro Arrow."

Cancelled February 20th, 1959…52 YEARS and counting…

Sunday, February 13, 2011

FLIGHT 621 ::: The Lost Photographs

FOR THE LONGEST TIME, I thought the Terry Waddington photo was the only photo in existence that captured CF–TIW, the Air Canada Stretch DC-8 that crashed in a Castlemore farmer's field on July 5, 1970.

But…I was wrong.

There were two other photographs taken of the ill-fated aircraft. On the very day of the accident!

The Terry Waddington photo was taken just a month or two before the aircraft was delivered to Air Canada. That photo, which is the top photo depicted here, shows us the brand-new Air Canada DC-8 (tail fin number 878) Canadian registration CF-TIW doing engine run ups amongst a host of other pre-delivery DC-8s at the old Long Beach, California McDonnell Douglas aircraft plant.

But, back to the other photographs…

Apparently, a travellor racing along in a cab on his way to the airport (somewhere in the northeast corner of Mississauga) snapped two photographs of the disintegrating Air Canada DC-8—just as it was beset with three explosions, and just as it really started to break apart. Timeline about 25 seconds before it actually crashed.

After these photographs were taken of the fatal flight, the photographer knowing he had captured something significant…turned them over to the proper authorities, likely the RCMP, when he arrived at Toronto International Airport in Malton.

One problem though—nobody knew where the hell he had taken them from! And no one thought to ask the photographer before he departed on his flight!

I mean…where was the racing cab barrelling along, where was it actually located, when the telltale photos were snapped? Back in the 70s, it was rare for folk to be walking around with a camera! Not like today! On top of that, it was even rarer for photos to be taken of an airliner moments before it crashed. It takes a certain presence of mind, and a steady hand to capture such a horrific and fast-moving event. It's there…and seconds later it's gone. And camera settings were not automatic, back then! Let's remember the skill level involved, shall we?

Of course, everyone remembers the ominous grainy photo of a 180 degree banked, sideways flying American Airlines DC-10 ( Flight 191) as it passed over the terminal at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, only seconds before it crashed. I mean that photo was famous! And here, we have not one, but two(!) photos of an airliner in crash sequence and these never make it to the Toronto papers, were kept secret at the time, now can't be found, and no one even knows where to look!

Oh, the secrecy! In Canada with our multiple layers of worthless bureaucracy, it isn't enough to say the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing…it's more serious than that! It is more accurate to say the right-handed thumb, doesn't know what the right-handed index finger is doing!!

Anyway, before I lose my marbles at the sheer stupidity of that fact which is resettling in on me, and before my BP reading goes right off the dial…lets return to the subject of the missing Flight 621 photos.

Mississauga Roads and Construction with copies of the photos in hand, were sent out to determine the exact spot the photographs were taken from. The photographs were incredibly important to the crash investigators, because miraculously, these photographs were able to certify, beyond any doubt, investigators assumptions that three explosions had indeed taken place aboard the struggling airplane moments before it crashed in Castlemore, Ontario.

The diagram in the lower right-hand part of the book page was created from the two, now missing photos. Investigators noted that the three explosions were visible within the photos as "puffs of smoke".

Engine #3 is seen separating and falling to the ground, followed thereafter by the starboard wingtip, and finally joined by Fuel tank #4's upper plating. Then the still brand-new DC-8 crashed. I've taken the liberty of adding Air Canada DC-8s to the diagram, in the approximate position and angle, the photographer would have captured the crashing airplane in—for the benefit of the reader.

One final mystery remains to this day. No two! Who was THAT photographer? And where the hell are these photographs today?

We have the diagram…but we don't have the photos!

That—could only happen in Canada!


How did the stewardesses, look back in 1970? SEE:

The FLIGHT 621 stewardesses had these exact uniforms with one noted exception. Some of the stewardesses on board that day, the day of the crash, would have had the Galaxy-themed uniforms which would be the same style, but they would be blue in colour, not Air Canada red! CF-TIW was a Galaxy-themed DC-8.

(As with all my articles…this is a first post that will be revised several times in the weeks and months ahead.)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

FLIGHT 621: the LAST WINTER (2011) of the DIASPORA

HOMES SPROUTING UP all 'round the 621 Field…

You knew it had to happen one day. And that day swiftly approaches…and for better, or worse…development will steamroller its way through the hallowed 621 field in only a few months. Yes, in this forgotten field where 109 people, strangers to each other, died, together, in 1970.

But that impending development is for the better, folks.

The skeletal remains of these unfortunate victims can still be found in the field. But by spring…that will…no longer be the case. Thankfully.

The three acres of topsoil containing most of these human remains will be gathered up…and entombed in a FLIGHT 621 Cemetery that will be located right at the crash point.

Right where AIR CANADA'S DC-8's nose entered the ground.

I pause, as I have so often before…and snippets of the victims lives, the part of their lives that I have come to know about, race through my head. And I see the faces. Even in the bitter cold and the silence, there is time for that.

I share some thoughts with the Great God, who is always present. And I release my sadness back to Him.

Otherwise, it would be too much for me, for anybody, to bear.

For many of the Flight 621 families who lost cherished ones, it has been just that. Too much too bear.

So often in death, we get lucky…we have a warning. We have time to spend with an ailing family member, or, friend. Time to mend things, time to say those things that need to be said, we have time to say our good-byes…and to let go.


With so many of the surviving family members of Flight 621…it is a feeling of being cheated.

So, if you go to the Flight 621 Cemetery in Castlemore, when it officially opens in 2012, bear that in mind.

You may run into family members. This is their place.

Most will want privacy. Some may want to talk. There is no roadmap. All you can do is discern in that very moment what is the loving thing to do, or be.

And if you're Catholic, like I am…that's all your religion, and your God is asking you to do. Has been asking you, your whole life—

God, is not as far away, as you think.

And your neighbour is, almost as close…

(The visible post coincidentally is at the most eastern edge of the crash arena. The treeline takes you down to ground zero)