Canada’s highest achievement in the field of aeronautical engineering was the CF-105 jet fighter, also known as the Avro Arrow. It was a super sonic interceptor developed by A.V. Roe company of Canada. Based in Malton, Ontario (A neighbourhood in Mississauga) that involved thousands of working class Canadian citizens and created a national pride, and ultimately a national outcry that continues on to this day. Canadians have an infinitely long memory despite this being such a young country, and the Avro Arrow controversy will never be forgotten.
The Avro Arrow was a unique, special project that combined Canadian engineering and manufacturing to create a fighter jet that was so advanced for it’s age the Canadian government submitted to political pressure and closed the project. This left some 15,000 Avro employees without jobs, and on a day known as Black Friday, Friday February 20, 1959, it ended a dream that these people shared with their families and their nation. Coming out of the dark times surrounding the second World War, Canadians had found a source in pride and hope in creating the Avro Arrow not only for national protection but for survival of the Canadian people. To understand the advances made in the creation of this fighter jet, one only needs to understand that still today there are areas of technology that have not surpassed or evolved to the methods used in the 1950s during this project. Enormous efforts have been made by governments and corporations alike to gather what remains of the technologies that were destroyed in 1959, including the fishing out of proto types from the Great Lakes as late as 2004.
Recruiters stood at the gates of the plant, handing out business cards as everyone left on that final day, many Canadian families relocated to the US to work for NASA because it was the only similar work they could move onto. On the closing of the Avro Arrow project, the planes were destroyed, all research surrounding the development of the planes were destroyed and ultimately only photographs of all that work remains. The entire matter was shrouded in mystery, which the government never accounted for, and people eventually promoted the Avro Arrow to a legendary status of a broken dream. There have been papers, books and television series based on the ending of the program. Family accounts are remembered by generations since the Arrow was ended. New generations are made aware of the tragedy of it all with one message in mind: Canada is capable of greatness.
Avro Arrow: The Story of the Avro Arrow From Its Evolution To Its Extinction – The Arrowheads
Storms of Controversy: The Secret Avro Arrow Files Revealed and Requiem for a Giant: A.V. Roe Canada and the Avro Arrow – Palmiro Campagna
The Avro Arrow: The story of the great Canadian Cold War combat jet – in pictures and documents – By Lawrence Miller
Canadian Aviation and the Avro Arrow – Fred Smye
The Avro Cf-105 Arrow – Nigel Pearce
|The Avro Arrow Home Page: Keeping the Memory Alive
|Regional Peel Museum: The Avro Arrow
|Canadian Air and Space Museum
|Canada Aviation Museum