Saturday, January 14, 2012

Series recounts Avro Arrow

More than 50 years after its demise, the Avro Arrow still evokes mixed emotions.

Back in the day. Test pilots (from left): RCAF pilot Jack Woodman, Jan Zurakowski and Spud Potocki, admire a model of the Arrow. 
File photo

Not only the Arrow, but all of Avro Canada’s post-war projects were significant undertakings for this country’s aircraft industry. However, a few of these projects would never be fulfilled.

For the first time, a bilingual series tells the entire story of the Malton plant, where the aircraft was built, from its birth in 1938 until its demolition in 2003.

Written by Marc-AndrĂ© Valiquette, the Destruction of a Dream series consists of four volumes: 

• the first volume, A.V. Roe Canada’s ‘Per Ardua Ad Astra’ (Latin for ‘Through adversity to the stars,’ a popular motto for air forces around the world), was launched July 1, 2009 at Canada’s Air and Space Museum. It recounts the rise of the company, from its birth as National Steel Car up to the manufacturing of the CF-105 Arrow. The subjects covered include World War II achievements, post-war adaptation, the Jetliner, CF-100, CF-103 and the start of the CF-105 project

• the second volume, Supersonic Dreams – At the Dawn of a New Era, is dedicated to the Arrow, from its rollout to the RCAF’s acquisition of the Bomarc missile. This volume was launched Feb. 20, 2010 at the Canadian Air & Space Museum in Toronto

• the third volume, Seeds of Suspicion, deals with the final weeks of the Arrow project until its cancellation on Feb. 20, 1959. It was published in early 2011

• the fourth and final volume, Master in Our Own House?, discusses the project cancellation, the destruction of aircraft, engines and materials, post-Arrow projects, “Avroites” reunions and work at the Malton and Orenda plants until the Malton plant’s demolition in 2003. It was published last fall  

“My passion for airplanes, and aviation in general, probably began when my father helped me discover the joy of looking at these marvellous machines from the observation deck at Dorval Airport,” said Valiquette. “A few years later, I discovered the CF-105 Arrow while doing my pilot training course at Moose Jaw. Thereafter, I had the chance to meet several people who were directly involved with this great project, either at their home or at meetings of the ‘Avroites.’”

Each volume sells for $25, and is available at


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