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Arrow Pilots: Jack Woodman

Jack Woodman:
Flying the Arrow.


Flying The Arrow

   A native of Saskatoon, Jack Woodman was the only RCAF pilot and one of only four pilots to fly the Avro CF­105 Arrow. With more than 60 different types of aircraft in his logbook, he probably holds a record of sorts for the longest spin. At about 118,000 ft. in an F-104, the airplane pitched up and spun for between 60,000 and 70,000 ft. before he was able to get it under control. He is currently Director of Flying Operations at Lockheed-California Corp. Palmdale, Calif. The article below is an abridged version of his paper "Flying The Avro Arrow," presented at the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute symposium at Winnipeg in May

   It has been more than 19 years since the Arrow program was cancelled. The Avro Arrow is still, however, a subject of great interest among Canadian aviators, and the program is still being talked about. I'm sure that many people are still wondering whether the decision to cancel the Arrow program was the right decision. The Bomarc missile, which was purchased in lieu of producing the Arrow, turned out to be probably the biggest flop in missile history. The F-101, which the RCAF later received, was only half the airplane the CF-105 would have been. Most of Canada's high-performance design talent migrated to the U.K. and the U.S. and apart from the fact that the Canadian aerospace industry suffered a major setback, it was perhaps a "swell" decision.

   Personally, I thought it was a poor decision. However, I'm not here to discuss politics, but rather, I would like to describe for you as best I can remember and from the limited material available, the design of the Arrow, the flight test program, handling and performance qualities.

   The go ahead for the design and development of the Arrow was first authorized by the Canadian Government in July of 1953 and was assigned the project No. CF-105.

  Preliminary design was complete the summer of 1954; the first engine-runs Dec. 4, 1957; first taxi trials Christmas Eve, 1957; and the first flight March 25, 1958.

   Jan Zurakowski, Project Pilot and Chief Development Pilot for A. V. Roe, made the first flight, which lasted 35 minutes. Zurakowski, the best test pilot I've ever known, reported good flying qualities, no surprises, no trouble, and made the general comment, "it handled very nicely." John Plante, Executive vice-president and general manager, said, "The first flight on any aircraft is a tremendous achievement, but we've got a lot of work to do yet." It was a proud moment in Canadian aviation.

   Unfortunately, less than one year later, on Feb. 20, 1959, the Arrow program was cancelled. The Canadian government elected to go with the Bomarc missle rather than to develop and produce the Arrow. Five airplanes had been built and flown; the 6th, and the first to have a production Orenda engine, was on the line and ready to go. The aircraft, the reports, and the paper work were all destroyed.

   Approximately 68 hours of flight time had been accumulated, and 95% of the flight envelope partially explored. How ever, the capability and potential of the aircraft and its weapons system was never realized. When it was all over and done with, only four pilots could say they had flown the Avro Arrow, Jan Zurakowski, Spud Potocki, Pete Cope, and myself. (One observer, on one flight, flew in the backseat).

Aircraft Configuration

   The Avro Arrow Mk. 1 was a twin-engine, two-seat, delta-winged, all­weather interceptor designed specifically to meet the peculiar Canadian defense requirements.


Scott McArthur.




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