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The Avro Arrow?

Could it be resurrected?

Well, the idea is being talked about.

But it’ll never “fly”.

LOL! I kill me!

So why not? Well, as I never got around to doing a doctorate in aerospace engineering, I cannot speak to the technical side of a 50-year-old concept repackaged for the 21st century. Who knows? Maybe it can be done.

But it will never get “off the ground” (HA!) because, well John Diefenbaker’s government axed the program. Dief was a Conservative. Harper is a Conservative. Resurrecting a project that was killed by a Conservative government would be admitting that a Conservative government had made a bad decision.

And Harper’s government will never, ever admit that they or any other Conservative government made a mistake. Never. It matters not that all the members of the long ago government are probably all dead and gone. All that matters is optics.

So, the Avro Arrow has crashed and burned even before getting clearance for take-off. Sorry to all you folks who are nostagic for this, but it ain’t gonna happen.


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  1. MoS says:

    Let me tell you a little story from thirty years ago. I knew then the general commanding Air Command (the RCAF). One day the Arrow came up in conversation. He told me a tale he said he’d deny outright if I ever repeated it. The General said one Arrow had not been destroyed but had been disassembled, crated, and was hidden virtually under the nose of the pols on Parliament Hill. He said it was all there. Airframe, engines, instruments and could be restored to flying condition.

    A number of years later I represented a commercial pilot who, like myself, was ex-Air Force. He related a tale about having to deliver a parcel to Ottawa’s Rockliffe Air Force base via a Twin Otter, I believe, one Christmas Eve in the late 60’s. The base was all but deserted with personnel released for Christmas leave. So he wound up in the Officer’s Mess with the base commander and the two proceeded to get loaded.

    At one point the commander told the young pilot to get his coat on and follow him. They marched out to one of the three wooden hangars. The commander told the young pilot to pace off the length of the hangar on the outside. Then he took him inside and again had him pace off the length of the hangar. There was a difference of some 15-feet, a false wall. The commander then told this young pilot behind that wall was a crated Avro Arrow but he was never to speak of it again if he valued his career. If the Arrow was behind a false wall as claimed the young pilot saw nothing of it. He only knew what he was told and the fact that there was a false wall.

    If the general was lying to me about a surviving Arrow, it was the first time he lied to me and we did exchange an awful lot of information during that period. If my client subsequently lied to me I can’t imagine why because he had nothing to gain from it. But that’s all I have, hearsay.

    Still it’s hard to imagine anyone resurrecting the Arrow today. It was a huge airframe designed to accommodate two equally massive Orenda engines for long-range, high-speed interception, with nuclear-tipped missiles, of squadrons of attacking Soviet bombers. It was a real Cold War interceptor. It was never a dogfighter or a strike fighter. It was nothing like the multi-role warplane we need today when we no longer field two or three types of aircraft.

    1. trashee says:

      Wow. That is quite a story.
      And it would not surprise me in the least if this were absolutely true. Secrecy and suspicion were the watchwords of the Cold War years and this would fit right in.
      Thanks for sharing it!

  2. gordon says:

    I saw a comparison of the specs of the Arrow vs the specs of the F-35 on the weekend. The Arrow has longer range, higher top speed, and a higher service ceiling. The F-35 may have some stealth capabilities, but only in certain circumstances.

    So, picking the F-35 really means we’re picking a fighter that probably can’t fly to the extent of our borders up north, which is probably ok from the US’s point of view vis a vis Canadian sovereignty.

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