Exploring the rise and demise of the Avro Arrow

Avro Arrow Blog Post

Exploring the rise and demise of the Avro Arrow

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What was the inspiration or overarching themes behind your new book?

The Avro Arrow: For the Record details the rise and demise of the Avro Arrow, the legendary supersonic interceptor developed by fledgling aircraft manufacturer A.V. Roe Canada. Recently, the Arrow has been in the news headlines courtesy of a group attempting to locate and raise one or more of the nine one-eighth scale test models of the aircraft, which were launched into Lake Ontario as part of the original testing program. Also others have come forward hoping to sell the rebuilding of an updated Arrow to the Canadian government, which is currently in search of a replacement to its CF-18 Hornet.

As a result – and despite the fact that I wrote two previous books on the subject – discussions on the Arrow in the media put forward many of the same (in my view) incorrect arguments in regards to the reasons for the termination of the Arrow project, specifically that the aircraft was technically flawed in some way; that the project was too expensive and therefore unaffordable for Canada, and that the prime minister of the day personally ordered everything destroyed. Also, having had numerous discussions with younger folks over the years, I came to realize that a new generation had not even heard of the Arrow and might be wondering what all the renewed fuss was about.

Given the renewed interest, I decided to write a third book, capturing critical elements of the first two while adding additional information for clarity, in directly answering the key questions regarding the premature cancellation of the project. In doing so, I have kept speculation to a decided minimum while allowing the declassified records to tell the story. Indeed, many critical documents referenced in the book are reproduced in the appendices in their entirety and in chronological order, to ensure individual statements have not been taken out of context.

I also provide an update to the latest effort to find the Arrow scale test models, with newly declassified records which assisted in the identification of the delta winged artifact (not one of the nine models), which was raised from the lakebed in 2018.

How did you decide on the title?

The subtitle, For the Record, indicates that the information provided is based on fact, primarily from the written record contained in the archives in Canada and sources in the United States and beyond. My hope is to correct what I consider inaccuracies in the story that still persist.

How did you approach your research for the book?

I have been researching the Arrow story since the early ’80s in the archives in Canada and from other sources such as the Eisenhower Library, and the Ministry of Defence in the U.K. In doing so, I have had thousands upon thousands of previously classified documents on the subject declassified for myself and anyone else interested in the subject.

Palmiro Campagna

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014

Palmiro Campagna

Palmiro Campagna is the author of Storms of Controversy: The Secret Avro Arrow Files Revealed, Requiem for A Giant: A.V. Roe Canada and the Avro Arrow, and The UFO Files: The Canadian Connection Exposed. He lives in Ottawa.