Search is on for free-flight Avro Arrow models

July 14, 2017
Written by Canada Aviation and Space Museum
The Canada Aviation and Space Museum is lending its support to OEX Recovery Group Incorporated in a project involving the search-and-recovery of free-flight Avro Arrow models which have rested on the bottom of Lake Ontario for more than 60 years.

The CF-105 Arrow, designed and built by A.V. Roe (Avro) Canada, was a delta-winged interceptor, considered by many to be one of the greatest technological achievements in Canadian aviation history. Developed between 1953 and 1959, the Arrow was the first and last supersonic interceptor designed and built in Canada. It was fitted with innovative technologies, including a rudimentary fly-by-wire control system.

In order to meet an aggressive delivery deadline, Avro Canada adopted what is known as the Cook-Craigie production plan, which eliminates the prototype phase of development. Instead, the company focused on extensive preliminary research and model-testing. Part of this process involved the construction of eleven instrumented stainless-steel free-flight models. Nine of these were mounted on rocket boosters, and launched into Lake Ontario from a military range at Point Petre.

The Arrow program (and all those related to it) was abruptly cancelled on February 20, 1959, a day known as "Black Friday". Thousands lost their jobs as the cancellation reverberated throughout the aerospace industry. In addition, the six completed Arrow airplanes, along with materials related to their development, were ordered destroyed. The decision to cancel the program and destroy the airplanes is Canada’s best-known and most hotly debated aviation story, and remains controversial to this day.

Through a national partnership involving the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the Canadian Conservation Institute, the museum will keep the public apprised of any milestones in this search-and-recovery mission.

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