RCAF aids search for Avro Arrow test models

News Article / August 30, 2017

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RCAF Public Affairs

Nine Avro Arrow free-flight models that were launched in a series of tests from 1954 to 1957 rest on the bottom of Lake Ontario. Earlier this summer, OEX Recovery Group Incorporated (OEX), which is financially supported by a group of Canadian mining companies and financial institutions, announced the search for and recovery of these models. The project is called “Raise the Arrow”.  

RCAF in Toronto
The Arrow was built for the RCAF by Avro Canada in Malton, Ontario, a neighbourhood in the northwest of Toronto. On September 1, 2017, the RCAF is celebrating this and many more links between Toronto by holding a once-in-a-generation presentation of Colours (consecrated flags) at Nathan Phillips Square.

During a recent visit to 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario, Major-General Blaise Frawley, deputy commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) visited the search for nine 1/8th scale models of the famed CF-105 Avro Arrow that were launched over Lake Ontario during testing of the aircraft’s design in the 1950s.

The CF-105 Avro Arrow was considered years ahead of its time in terms of its design and capabilities. Designed as an interceptor by Avro Canada in Malton, Ontario, it could fly at twice the speed of sound. Between 1954 to 1957, nine 1/8th scale models were launched with rockets from the shore of Lake Ontario near Point Petre to test the flight characteristics of the full-sized aircraft’s advanced delta-style wings.

The Royal Canadian Air Force is providing historical research support to aid in the search and stands ready to provide secure storage and work space at 8 Wing, so that any models found can be cleaned and restored for display.

Major-General Frawley visited the OEX Recovery Group base of search operations at the Canadian Coast Guard station at Point Petre. He embarked on a search vessel and observed advanced sonar search technology including an unmanned underwater vehicle and sophisticated synthetic aperture sonar being used in the search.

“We are very pleased to have the strong support of the RCAF in the search and recovery efforts for these historic Canadian artifacts,” said John Burzynski, OEX Recovery Group Expedition Leader. “The Arrow was a Canadian high technological accomplishment and just a beautiful aircraft. The models are some of the last surviving reminders of that development program, and we’re hoping to find these lost family members and bring them home.”

Recovery of the models would be an important and tangible example of the RCAF’s ties to aerospace innovation and development of new technologies that is re-emerging today.

“The Avro Arrow was a tremendous example of Canadian innovation and ingenuity,” said Lieutenant-General Michael Hood, RCAF commander. “Today, as we look back at the example of the Arrow, we also look to the future as we foster and support a culture of technological and intellectual innovation in the Royal Canadian Air Force and in Canada that will take us to 2030 and beyond.”

If the models are recovered, the RCAF will support storage, cleaning and restoration efforts. It is hoped that models will be displayed in the National Air Force Museum in Trenton and the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa.

“The Avro Arrow has captured Canadians’ imagination. There is a big ‘what if’ with this story that haunts the national psyche,” said Dr. Richard Mayne, RCAF senior historian, who accompanied Major-General Frawley during the visit. “Many wonder whether Canada would be a greater competitor on the international stage as a leader of innovation with its own home-grown fighter designs had the Arrow been put into full production.”

The search and recovery program is a Canada 150 collaborative effort spearheaded by OEX, which is sponsored by Osisko group companies Osisko Mining Inc. and Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd., in collaboration with their financial partners at National Bank, the Bank of Montreal, Canaccord Genuity, Maxit Capital, Eight Capital and Northfield Capital; the Canada Aviation and Space Museum,, Royal Canadian Air Force, the Canadian Conservation Institute, and Bennett Jones LLP. Support for this project is also being provided by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Scarlett Janusas Archaeology, Canadian Coast Guard, the Royal Canadian Military Institute and Canada Company.

Library and Archives Canada is assisting through the digitization and provision of a number of films of Avro model launches. These are expected to assist in better pinpointing possible locations of the models.

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