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Arrow Pilots:Jan Zurakowski

Jan Zurakowski:
Test Flying the Arrow. pg7

And Other High Speed Jet Aircraft.


This republication has been made possible thanks to the assistance of
The Canadian Aviation Historical Society. We hope you enjoy this piece of aviation history.
Scott McArthur. Webmaster, Arrow Recovery Canada.


and other high speed jet aircraft.
Jan Zurakowski


continued from page 6,

from one billion dollars in 1956 to about 400 million dollars in 1976, and the next graph shows that Canada spends 2.3% of its gross national product on national defence. I think this year the figure is 1.7%. This is the lowest of all NATO countries except Luxemburg.

     The Globe and Mail reports the statement on 10 February by the American Chief of Staff General David Jones: "The Soviets are outproducing us in fighter aircraft by a factor of approximately two to one. In 1976 they produced 1200 new fighter and fighter-bomber aircraft. The Russian Backfire bomber has the capability to strike the United States."

     Are we in Canada taking our defence seriously?

     Mr. James Eayrs, a reporter for the Ottawa Citizen, writes: "The Arrow was a superb piece of machinery, a really splendid aircraft. It also happened to be the wrong aircraft, produced by the wrong country, at the wrong time." I agree with the first statement, and disagree with the second. The Arrow was the right aircraft, produced by the right country, at the right time, only our leaders did not realize that not everything can be calculated in dollars and cents.

     How is it possible, for example, to assess the effect of a Canadian success or achievement on an average Canadian? If he is proud to be a Canadian, how will his effort compare to one who is forced to believe that Canadians cannot succeed in anything? I think that if a Canadian is not proud of common achievement and success in Canada and doesn't feel he is taking part in successful efforts he doesn't care about Canada. It is easy to understand that a gentleman from Alberta doesn't care for eastern provinces, and a gentleman from Quebec doesn't care for the rest of Canada, or that someone from British Columbia sees his better interests in the United States. I think the cancellation of the Arrow was a nasty shock to the pride of the average Canadian, and this was probably a highly depressing factor for years ahead.

     This has been my recollection of a very interesting period in Canadian aviation. I do not claim that it is 100% accurate, but that is how I remember it.

L. Wilkinson, moderator.

Q: Did our speaker ever meet Bill Waterton?
A: Yes, certainly I met Bill Waterton. I was working with him in England. He was chief test pilot and I was chief experimental pilot at Gloster Aircraft. When he went to Canada to fly the CF-100 I took his job with Gloster.

Q: Did our speaker ever perform the Zurabatic Cart­wheel in the CF-100?

A: No, not the CF-100. The Cartwheel was possible only on aircraft like the Meteor, which was a twin with widely spaced engines. The CF-100 is bigger and has its engines close together, which gives too little turning moment to start the cartwheel, When I tried it, I would go into some sort of inverted spin or flat spin, but simply couldn't do it. There is not enough yaw moment to build up inertia.

Q: Did our guest perform the falling leaf in the CF-100?

A: Yes, the CF-100 did the falling leaf quite well.

Q: Were there any test flights of the Arrow after the cancellation, with the Iroquois engine?

A: No. The cancellation order was that all work is to stop immediately, and since this was government contract work, the aircraft was not the property of the company, and we couldn't continue with any of the work after cancellation.

Q: What was the maximum speed the Arrow achieved?

A: The maximum speed any of the test aircraft achieved was Mach 1.98, flown by Spud Potocki. The highest I reached was 1.89 on an earlier flight. We must bear in mind that this was not the maximum possible. We were still progressing slowly, recording every step we took, but there was no correct test for speed, as we did not have any priority in reaching maximum speed.

Q: Have you ever missed flying since retirement from test flying?

A: Certainly, yes. But I have accustomed to new conditions and a new way of life.

Q: How close was the Arrow to being an operational aircraft at the time of cancellation?

A: Cancellation took place in February of 1959, and the Arrow was to become operational in the sixties, so parhaps another one and a half or two years.

Q: What was our guest's experience with the approach and landing speeds of the aircraft?
A: The Arrow had quite a high landing speed. As far as I remember, it was of the order of 170 knots across the threshold, 160 at touchdown, but I had hoped we'd lower it quite a lot, through experience and some modification. I think the same would have been done on the Russian super­sonic transport, or the Swedish delta-wing fighter. Perhaps by placing an elevator at the front of the aircraft, which allows us to use elevators as flaps whilst in landing configuration. That would reduce the landing run quite a lot. The Swedish requirements were for an 800 metre landing run, which is about 2 000 feet, and they reached it.

Q: Was the Arrow ever rolled? Was it ever flown with an observer?
A: Yes, it was rolled quite often, but although somebody once told me that it was flown with an observer, I never did so. We had enough instrumentation in the rear cockpit, which we used in place of an observer.


Q: Since the Arrow was quite a large aircraft, what was its maneuverability, perhaps as compared with modern day aircraft?
A: What is meant by maneuverability? There is turning maneuverability, rolling maneuverability. Rolling was extremely fast, especially at higher speeds, it was faster than the pilot would have liked to have it. The wingspan was only fifty feet, so the aircraft was very long. Now, turning maneuverability is a very difficult problem to assess on a high-speed aircraft, because it is not the limitation of the aircraft, but its strength and the ability of the pilot to withstand high acceleration for a long period. Turning at Mach 2.0 takes a radius of about ten miles with 5G, if I remember right, so doing a 360deg turn at this speed takes quite a long time, so it's actually the ability of the pilot to withstand the high acceleration. Some of the later aircraft have the pilot more in a lying down position rather than sitting, to help him to withstand the force. What the questioner probably has in mind is something like a dogfight, which is very difficult to describe, because there's such high kinetic energy involved. From Mach 2, for example, you can climb without any power some 30 000 feet, or you can convert it into turning or any other kind of maneuver. In older fighters, say the Spitfire, which had optimum maneuvering speed of the order of 160 knots, he had little kinetic energy to be converted into anything.


Q: About how many hours of testing was done on the Arrow up to cancellation?

A: I think about sixty or seventy.

Q: What was the maximum cruise altitude and zoom altitude that was achieved in the aircraft?

A: Cruise altitude, about fifty; zoom altitude - we didn't try. As I mentioned, we had a high priority on testing the actual systems. Our engines at the time were not typical production engines. We were using the American engines, so we didn't spend much time investigating this engine at high altitudes. We knew the actual production engines would be the Iroquois, more powerful, on which we could do full investigation. What we were trying to do on the first five aircraft flying with the Pratt and Whitney engines was to get all basic information. I didn't mention this before, but the total number of aircraft intended for experimental work was about fifteen. These aircraft were intended after testing to go back to service, because they all were built to the same production drawings. I see that some of you are surprised at such a high number. There were about 120 Meteors engaged in experimental flying. Now, that was not all for the Meteor development, I must admit, since Meteors were used for engine development, or rocket development, for brake development, for all sorts of tests. The pace at which we were going was so fast that every day we were finding requirements for new knowledge which made new testing necessary. That is what I mean by going from Mach 0.87 to Mach 2 plus, because Mach 2 was only a specification; we knew we could go much faster, specially with Iroquois engines.


Scott McArthur.




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