Avro Arrow recovery project takes flight
Sixty years after nine Avro Arrow free flight models went missing in Lake Ontario, a high-tech, all-Canadian search is under way for their recovery. The Arrow Recovery Project, funded by private sponsors and corporate funding with start up costs between $500,000 and $1,000,000, was announced Friday by John Burzynski, the president and CEO of Osisko Mining Inc. and head of OEX Recovery Group Inc., which is leading the expedition. “It’s a fascinating topic, it’s fascinating subject matter,” said Burzynkski, a geologist dressed in an olive green flight suit, like many others, in a packed room at the Royal Canadian Military Institute.
The Avro Arrow models, one-eighth the size of the jet at about three metres long with a two metre wingspan, were launched with booster rockets between 1955-57 from Point Petre in Prince Edward County, east of Toronto, to test the flight design before the CF-105 Arrow was produced.
When the Canadian jet fighter program was abruptly cancelled in 1959, over 30,000 people lost their jobs and all Avro Arrow-related material was ordered destroyed, including six completed jet fighters. All that remains are the free flight test models at the bottom of Lake Ontario. “It goes to the heart of the Canadian soul in terms of what happened to the program,” said Burzynski to those gathered. “There were so many people involved with it.”
There have been previous privately funded missions, but the driving forces behind this expedition think they will be successful. “We think they’re much closer to shore than previous searches have ever thought,” said Burzynski. “They were searching kilometres and kilometres out in the lake. We think they’re within sort of a three to four kilometre radius.”
Burzynkski said the recovery effort has been in the works for the last year-and-a-half and once the expedition got an exclusive permit to carry out “marine archaeological fieldwork” from Ontario’s Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport, it was game time. The first order of business starting next week will be to map out 64-square-kilometres of lake floor from where the original models were launched. That should take between two weeks to a month and then they’ll investigate any promising sites before sending divers down for a closer look.
“We’re going to be reviewing all this sonar imagery, we’re also going to be enlisting the archaeologists as well to say, ‘Hey does this look like a plane? Does this look like a booster rocket?’” said David Shea, the vice-president of engineering for Kracken Sonar Inc., who will use their high-definition, military-grade sonar for the recovery effort.
A documentary crew is also filming the entire expedition.
Both Burzynkski and Shea are optimistic they will find the flight models in whatever shape they are in given it has been 60 years. The ultimate goal is to house them at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa and the National Air Force Museum of Canada in Trenton.
Posted on July 17, 2017, in Uncategorized and tagged Mission to recover Avro Arrow test vehicles in L Ontario. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.