Beautiful and fast, the CF-105 was a technological marvel of its time. To this day, the story of its demise can arouse strong feelings among Canadians.

1958: Beautiful and fast, the CF-105 was a technological marvel of its time. To this day, the story of its shocking demise can arouse strong feelings among Canadians.
Photo Credit: Department of National Defence

They found one! Avro Arrow test model located

Latest hi-tech effort finds model on Lake Ontario floor.

It has been an ongoing source of often heated debate including allegations of international conspiracies, cover-ups, bureaucratic meddling, a secret flight to a foreign land, and more.

The 1950’s era CF-105 Arrow interceptor by the A.V Roe company was to be Canada’s venture into the space age. Everyone understood it to be the leading edge of fighter jet technology at the time, with promises of even better performance once the new Canadian designed engines were added.

An image of the *long lost* Arrow test model. It would have hit the lake surface at 200-400 km/h. It shows a bent nose and the starboard wing broken of floded over. The port wing is relatively intact, but all covered in the invasive zebra mussels.
An image of one of the *long lost* Arrow test models. The free flight model would have hit the lake surface at 200-400 km/h. It shows a bent nose and the starboard wing broken of folded over. The port wing is relatively intact. The model is completely covered with the invasive zebra mussels. © Raise the Arrow Expedition

Canadians were shocked when the production programme was suddenly cancelled, but even more so when all completed planes, all blueprints, special tools, and jigs were ordered destroyed as well.

There was huge secrecy over the order to destroy the Arrows and no reporters allowed near the Avro plant. One wily reporter however hired a small plane to fly over the site capturing this incredible photo of the planes in the process of being chopped up. Part of the ongoing theory that one of the planes RL-202 was secretly spirited away is that not all the Arrows are shown being cut up.
There was huge secrecy over the order to destroy the Arrows and no reporters allowed near the Avro plant. One wily reporter however hired a small plane to fly over the site capturing this incredible photo of the planes in the process of being chopped up. Part of the ongoing theory that one of the planes, RL-202, was secretly spirited away is that it’s not shown amongst the other doomed Arrows being cut up. © via Vintage Wings

One thing that couldn’t be scrapped were the large test models fired out over Lake Ontario during development.

The 1/8th scale models, about 3 metres long were to test design characteristics during supersonic flight.

At least nine free flight development models  (pushed by subsequently jettisoned booster rockets to between Mach 1.7- Mach 2), were fired out over the lake and they have been something of a holy grail for historians, aviation buffs, and anyone fascinated by the Avro Arrow story, as some of the last remaining vestiges of this amazing technological effort.

There have been previous efforts to find the models, but now this latest effort this summer has finally llocated one of them.

The announcement was made last week to much excitement and media coverage, the biggest news for “Arrow Heads” (as fans are known) since the unveiling of a full-scale (non flying) replica in 2006.

Kraken’s autonomous hi-tech sonar vehicle. With this sophisticated technology hopes are high to finally recover the test models, or what’s left of them at the bottom of Lake Ontario
Kraken’s autonomous hi-tech sonar vehicle. With this sophisticated technology hopes are high to finally recover the test models, or what’s left of them at the bottom of Lake Ontario © Kraken Sonar

The located model will likely remain on the lake bottom until it can be recovered next spring.

The search effort will continue for the other eight models as weather permits.

It is interesting to note that many of the Canadian innovations of the Arrow design features have been incorporated into other aircraft designs since 1959.

This ranges from the quick replacement engine bay pack, to the dog tooth wing design one can see on the latest F-18E/F Boeing Super Hornet wings, and many others.

Additional information- sources

One of the Arrow test models atop a Nike booster prior to a supersonic test flight over Lake Ontario in the mid 1950’s
One of the free-flight Arrow test models atop a Nike booster prior to a supersonic test flight over Lake Ontario between 1954-57. © via Kraken Sonar
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3 comments on “They found one! Avro Arrow test model located
  1. Richard Kerr says:

    This is a very exiting development as I live just down the road from the launch site. how wonderful it must have been to have seen her fly.

  2. Peter Ashcroft says:

    Ironic story, but now a fascinating discovery. Did Avro leave Canada after production was ceased?

    • Victor Craft says:

      It appears A.V. Roe Canada ceased operations in 1962 after parent company Hawker Siddeley Group folded AVRO assets into newly created Hawker Siddeley Canada.