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Arrow Pilots:Peter Cope

Peter Cope


The Avro CF-105 Arrow Mark 1, example one.  Peter first flew the second pre-production Arrow: RL-202.  He also kept a section of windshield glass from this ‘the fastest Arrow’, ending (?) speculation that 202 somehow escaped the destruction of the five flying Arrows and the Mark 2s on the production line.

         Cope is one of only four pilots to fly the Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow pre-production aircraft.  During the design phase of the Arrow Cope was involved in testing the (fully-powered vs. boosted hydraulic) flight control development CF-100.  This aircraft was used to test feedback and other effects on a fully-powered system in mind for the Arrow, under different simulated flight conditions.  Avro gained much needed data on the effects of flight, vibration (including sound) and aeroelasticity with this test rig.  On one occasion a mode was induced on this aircraft that resulted in hydraulic feedback that developed into a shake in the flight controls and over-pressures that the CF-100 seemed ready to tear itself apart.  It was, indeed, damaged severely, with many lessons learned for the CF-105 in design, simulation, controls and hardware.  Subsequent Avro work in this period represented the the first major use of real time or ‘at the speed of light’ computing in various aspects of aircraft design.  Following the CF-100 powered hydraulic test aircraft Avro developed an Arrow hydraulic systems test rig in the plant with Cope involved in the testing and development of this unit.  Actual Arrow components were tested, evaluated, rejected, improved or replaced in this rig.  Once it was hooked via Avro’s IBM 704 mainframe to the computerized Arrow flight simulator, which interfaced the pilots controls, navigation computer, radar, and other items as they were developed, became the world’s first 4,000 psi, “real time” electronic flight control system, with pilot’s inputs originating as an electrical signal, for all flight control surfaces.  With Zurakowski, Potocki, and Woodman, Peter Cope shares the distinction of having flown the first aircraft in the world to fly with such a system, an aircraft designed and built in Canada for Canada !

Those were days of high enthusiasm at Avro, and the Arrow was shaping up to be a monster in terms of performance and weapons capabilities.  Once again, Peter Cope was selected to lead the armament development for the Arrow due to his expertise, and his testing of the various missile systems in the CF-100 had mostly been directed to the acquisition of primary weapons for the Arrow. He also undertook work as a ‘guinea pig’ for the RCAF school of environmental medicine (co-located with the DCIEM) for high-G centrifuge and high-altitude de-compression.  He was also involved in high-temperature environment research.

Copyright 2005, Randall Whitcomb.




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