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Avro Engineers:Mario Pesando

Mario Pesando
Avro's Restless Engineer


Mario Pesando

Mario Pesando was born in Huntsville Ontario on December 9th. 1919. He attended school in Huntsville and the University of Toronto where he graduated with an Engineering degree in 1942.

After graduation he joined the National Steel Car company in Malton Ontario, as a Weights and Standards Engineer on the Lancaster bomber. The company (renamed Victory Aircraft) soon realized his aerodynamic abilities and moved him to Flight performance and handling.

In late 1945 he was assigned to the new A.V.Roe Canada design office as an aerodynamicist. In 1948 he was posted to an intensive flight-test indoctrination programme at the Avro flight test facility in England which gave him the opportunity to become familiar with the prop jet and pure jet powered aircraft flight testing procedures on the prototypes then being tested in the United Kingdom.

Orenda Test Bed
Lancaster's: Mario's initial Lancaster work was at Victory Aircraft (Avro Canada's predecessor). In an organization that was purely production oriented, he became the stability and control 'expert' and acted as flight test observer to work out system problems. After the war, when Lancaster bombers were converted to Coastal Patrol aircraft, he oversaw their flight test engineering program. Also, the first flight of the Lancaster-Orenda test bed aircraft was conducted under Mario's supervision to assure its airworthiness before handing it over to Orenda for their flight test development program.

After returning to Malton, Mario was put in charge of the flight testing group for the CF-100 and the C-102 Jetliner, he was given the responsibility of establishing and managing Avro's flight test engineering organization and test instrumentation facilities. Mario managed and participated in flight test programs for the Lancaster's, the Jetliner and the CF-l00's and laid the groundwork for the CF-105 Arrow flight test program.

Avro CF-100: Flight testing the CF-100 brought new kinds of problems.Unlike
the Jetliner the early CF-100s proved to have numerous structural and system deficiencies. Under Mario's direction flight test engineers not only conducted performance and stability-control tests, they identified and analyzed such problems as canopy ejection system deficiencies, rear-seat ejection limitations, engine nacelle overheating at altitude, and horizontal tail-plane fatigue. Test flights to evaluate fixes added to the scheduled test program.
Also, whereas the Jetliner program had involved only a single aircraft, the CF-100 program involved numerous aircraft in various Marks. In addition, weapon system tests added a whole new dimension to the program- including test programs at Cold Lake, Alberta,and at Point Arguello, California. Mario tailored his organization to adapt to these new challenges so that the CF-100 flight test program was both comprehensive and effective.
Throughout the flight test programs, Mario had a particularly close relationship with all of the test pilots. This relationship had a major influence on the planning of the flight tests for maximum effectiveness. As a result the pilots' flight reports and the engineering test reports provided a comprehensive evaluation of both the operating aspects and the corresponding engineering data. This close cooperation was exemplified when Jan Zurakowski became concerned about what would happen if a pilot inadvertently exceeded the aircraft's placard speed which had been the limit within which flight testing had been conducted. Jan's piloting and analysis skills combined with Mario's stability and control expertise resulted in the historical flight where the CF-100 became the first production straight-winged jet to go supersonic.

Jetliner Crew

Avro Jetliner
Avro Jetliner: Flight testing the Jetliner was a particular challenge in that there were few air worthiness regulations in existence applicable to jet transport operations. In addition, there were constant demands to demonstrate the aircraft to potential customers. In spite of these problems Mario's experience provided a sound basis for planning and conducting the flight test program. Whenever possible, test measurements were made on demonstration flights to add to the accumulating data base of aircraft performances, stability, and control information. On a number of these flights, Mario participated as an engineering test observer as well as a member of the demonstration and management group. After the Jetliner production program was cancelled by the government, Mario and his engineers used it as a photographic platform for many of the CF-100 flight tests (e.g., canopy ejection tests, rocket firing etc).

Scott McArthur.




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