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aviation - Did one Avro Arrow (CF-105) avoid being scrapped?
  • Articuno

    June Callwood claimed in a 1997 Macleans Magazine article:

    Someone has flown an Arrow to safety.

    CTV news says:

    The discovery of an intact ejection seat from Canada's legendary Avro Arrow is fuelling[sic] a half-century-old conspiracy theory that one of the purportedly destroyed jets was smuggled to safety.

    The Avro Arrow program was infamously shut down by then-Canadian prime minister John Diefenbaker in 1959. All related materials, from the prototype jets right down to the blueprints, were ordered destroyed.


    The customer told Wilson that as a teenager he often watched planes land at the base and he still remembered a strange incident in which a white, high delta wing aircraft with no national markings or registration landing at the base in the early 1960s. "He's still 100 per cent adamant he saw an Arrow aircraft land," Wilson said.

    Did one CF-105 Avro Arrow get smuggled to safety, and avoid being destroyed?

  •  Answers:

  • ChrisW


    The CTV article you cite says,

    While Sipe is quite confident there were no Arrows saved, he does admit to one mystery that still lingers, allowing for the "romantic" possibility.
    "(The) first pictures taken of the MK-1 Arrow aircraft sitting on the flight line after program cancellation show all of the Arrows, S/N RL-201 through RL-205. However, later pictures taken do not show aircraft RL-202. No one seems to know what happened to RL-202 which had just received major maintenance due to landing gear collapse experienced several months prior, and was just repaired and returned to flight worthiness immediately before program cancellation," he said.

    Similarly says,

    There are many legends of a lone Arrow escaping destruction. In addition to Callwood's speculation about an Iroquois-equipped arrow flying away at dawn, there are tales of an Arrow being spirited away on a covered flatbed truck. Some say that RL-202 cannot be seen in the aerial photos of the destruction, and may have been being fitted with missiles at a different location. None of these stories can be confirmed.

    However in the The Arrow Scrapbook (by Peter Zuuring, published in 1999):

    • Page 118 shows RL-207 (the only Iroquois-equipped arrow) being disassembled
    • Page 125 shows RL-202 being dismantled
    • Page 131 describes June Callwood's reaction to this evidence of the destruction:

    When I showed June these findings ... years of hope that one did get away were shattered with the realization that nothing flyable did!

  • Murray B

    The evidence is good that that one of the six production Arrows made it to the U.K. The problem seems to be that some people assume the engines are somehow welded into the aircraft. They were swappable. Six aircraft left the assembly line but only five were known to have been destroyed at the time. One aircraft is still unaccounted for.

    Recently, an Iroquois engine and a Canadian-made Martin Baker ejection seat from an Arrow have turned up in the U.K. There is no reason in the world to send a standard MB seat to the U.K. where Martin Baker originates. This alone is a good reason to believe that a complete Arrow was sent over there.

    It looks like Ms. Callwood was right all along.

    Sadly, this also means that the last Arrow was cut up over there and none remain intact anywhere in the world.