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Friday, 22 November 2013

My Favorite Part of Aviation History - An Interview with Glenn K.

November is National Aviation History Month:

This is an interview with one of our staff members who's hobby is aviation history.  Glenn has many passions, although his want for knowledge (especially Aviation History) is massive and unquenchable. Come by and talk to him sometime.

Glenn K.

 Valerie:   Have you always been interested in Airplanes?  
Glenn: Not really.  I am more of a history buff and I became interested in aircraft after watching an old black and white documentary about the Avro Arrow on TV when I was a teenager.  I was intrigued with the history of the aircraft and over time, I read everything I could get my hands on about the Arrow.  In those days, not much was available.  In 1997 (I think), CBC produced a movie about the Avro Arrow starring Dan Aykroyd as Crawford Gordon.  Gordon was the President of A.V. Roe Canada, the aircraft manufacturer that produced the Arrow.  Although it is a movie, it does have a lot of history facts about the building of and the ultimate demise of the Arrow.  And, for the record, nooooo . . . an Arrow was not “spirited away” !!!!!!!!! 

 Valerie:  What was the first Aircraft you became enamored with and why? 
 Glenn: Well of course it is the CF-105 or more commonly known as the Avro Arrow.  The key reason why is because it was a totally Canadian built jet-fighter interceptor and was head and shoulders above anything else in the world.  It is unfortunate the Arrow program was terminated and all existing aircraft were cut up and sold as scrap.  Almost all of the drawings, plans and tooling were destroyed and no sales of the Iroquois engine were ever allowed, even though the French government wished to purchase at least 400 of the them.  One can only imagine what kind of an aircraft industry Canada would have developed, had the government not terminated the program.     

Versions of The Avro Arrow
Valerie:  Why is the Avro Arrow your passion when it comes to Aircraft?
 Glenn: It was the most advanced jet-fighter interceptor in the world at the time.  In the end, A.V. Roe not only designed, developed and built the Delta wing airframe but also developed and produced one of the most powerful jet engine of its time (26,000 pounds of thrust).  Eventually, A.V. Roe, Canada even took over the development of the firing system to be used in the Arrow. 
A very bold step for a single aircraft manufacturer to design and develop all three major components of an aircraft. 

A. V. Roe

 Valerie:  What two facts about the Avro Arrow do you find the most interesting?
 Glenn:  One of the most interesting facts about the Arrow is that it had “fly-by-wire” technology in 1958.  This technology was not used in military aircraft until 1971 and even then it was limited.  I’m not quite sure but I believe commercial aircraft (Airbus being the first) did not use this type of technology until the 1980’s!!  A second significant fact is the aircraft was not built as a prototype, that is, for testing purposes only.  Every single aircraft was designed to be built and put directly into service.  This was and still is something not normally done by aircraft manufacturers.
        Something not specific to the Arrow but significant nonetheless, was the “Brain Drain”.  When the program was terminated in 1959, many Avro workers were recruited to work for major British and US aircraft manufacturers as well as for NASA.  Some of NASA’s space  research and development technology, such as the Apollo lunar orbiter and the Canadarm, were developed with the help of key Canadian engineers and scientists that came from A.V. Roe Canada. 


Valerie:   Do you have a favourite pilot? Why do you find him/her interesting?  
Glenn:   I guess Max Ward comes to mind.  He was a Canadian pilot who originally flew bush planes in the north.  He was a pioneer in aviation and also an excellent pilot.  He went on to form his own commercial airline called Wardair Canada.  It began as a simple but quality charter airline (which I had the distinct pleasure of flying to Europe on in 1968).  Wardair grew to become an independent transatlantic airline, the 3rd largest in Canada behind Air Canada and Canadian Pacific (CP Air).  Wardair was eventually acquired by Canadian Pacific Airlines

Max Ward

Valerie:  Have you built any model airplanes? Which one? Do you have a photo? 
  Glenn:As a teenager, I built several aircraft, mostly military jets.  Interestingly, I built a Lancaster bomber, which ironically was manufactured during WWII under license to A.V. Roe Canada, in Malton Ontario.  Unfortunately, those models have long since disappeared however, I still have an old Avro Arrow kicking around.  Not in the best of shape but I probably built it more than 20 years ago.  I have attached a couple of photos for you – don’t laugh.

There are quite a few links for you to enjoy on this post.  We hope you will check them out to learn even more about some of Aviation Histories interesting events and people

  • Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow

  • The Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow was a delta-winged interceptor aircraft, designed and built by Avro Canada as the culmination of a design study that began in 1953. Wikipedia

  • First flightMarch 25, 1958
    Length24 m
    Wingspan15 m
    Engine typesTurbojetPratt & Whitney J75

  • We hope you enjoyed this blog, please leave a comment to let us know what you thought about this blog.

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