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Remembering the Avro Arrow: Rare Artifacts Go on Display at the Air Defense Museum in Quebec

11th June 2014: Pacific Rim Aviation Academy occasionally likes to draw attention to events in the world of Canadian aviation. As a school for flight training in Vancouver, we recognize that we are part of a broader family of institutions with a complex and fascinating history.

A forgotten chapter of Canadian Aviation History has received a new lease of life with an exhibition of rare artifacts at the Air Defense Museum in Bagotville, Quebec. The focus of the exhibition is on the legendary Avro Arrow. The Avro Arrow was pioneered in the 1950s as a supersonic fighter jet but never saw mass production. The exhibition showcases original parts and design elements such as hydraulic access panels and pilot control sticks. Actual artifacts are extremely rare and even the original documentation is difficult to come by. The Avro Arrow program was terminated in 1959 after the development of a number of prototype jets. It is now shrouded in myth. The exhibition hopes to shine new light on an extraordinary aircraft. It features fifteen actual mechanical parts, twenty-one pieces of documentation and a number of photographs.

The Avro Arrow

At our school for flight training in Vancouver we have a healthy respect for the pioneers and innovators of the past. The Arrow was the culmination of a long design study carried out by Avro Canada in the 1950s. The delta-wing interceptor aircraft is now regarded by historians as a highly significant achievement in aerodynamics. If mass-produced it would have served as the primary interceptor for the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The controversial scrapping of the project remains a source of bitterness and confusion. In a move that further sealed the fate of the Arrow, all the prototype aircrafts, along with engines, production tools and technical data were ordered destroyed. This was justified as the protection of secret and classified materials.

Legends persist that a single Arrow was spirited away to be preserved for posterity, but these rumors have never been substantiated. To this day, the Arrow symbolizes an unfulfilled chapter of Canadian aviation. At our school for flight training in Vancouver, we try to impress upon our students, the legacy of these past masters.

The Air Defense Museum

The Air Defence Museum is located in CFB Bagotville, some two-hundred kilometers north of Quebec City. It focuses attention on Quebec’s contribution to military aviation history. As such it is the only museum dedicated to Francophile military aircrafts in Eastern North America. During the summer season (Jun 7th to Sept 1st) the museum is open daily and is well worth a look. As a school for flight training in Vancouver, we salute this dedication and commitment to the history of Canadian aviation. 

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