February 20, 1959. Prime Minister John Diefenbaker rises in the Canadian House of Commons and speaks these words:
The government… has made a thorough examination in the light of all the information available concerning the probable nature of the threats to… North America in the future years, the alternative means of defence against such threats, and the estimated cost thereof. The conclusion arrived at is that the development of the Arrow aircraft and Iroquois engine should be terminated now.
This spells the end of the AVRO CF-105 “Arrow” interceptor program. Orders are given to destroy all aircraft, parts, plans, pictures – anything that would remind the world that Canada had built the most capable, forward thinking, powerful, fastest military jet to that point in history. The day will always be known as “Black Friday” as thousands of people were put out of work. The Canadian Aviation industry never truly recovered. Our best and brightest minds were forced out of the industry or out of the country where they worked on everything from the Concorde to the Lunar Lander.
The picture above is of the Canadian Air & Space Museum’s full scale replica of RL-203, the third of the Arrows built and flown. Sadly, this replica is hidden from public view as the Museum tries to re-establish itself and find a new home.