March 24, 1935. First flight of the Avro Anson.
The Avro Anson was a British twin-engined, multi-role aircraft that served with the Royal Air Force, Fleet Air Arm, Royal Canadian Air Force and numerous other air forces before, during, and after the Second World War. Named after British Admiral George Anson, it was originally designed as an airliner as the Avro 652 before being redeveloped for maritime reconnaissance, but was soon rendered obsolete in both roles. However, it was rescued from obscurity by its suitability as a multi-engined aircrew trainer, becoming the mainstay of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. By the end of production in 1952, the Anson spanned nine variants; a total of 8,138 were built in Britain by Avro. From 1941, a further 2,882 were built by Federal Aircraft Ltd. in Canada.
The Avro Anson V pictured above is in the collection of the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa.
March 3, 1942. The first Canadian built AVRO Lancaster bomber sees combat in Britain with the 44 Squadron RAF. A total of 430 Avro Lancaster Mk. X’s were built in Canada by Victory Aircraft Limited at Malton, Ontario.
Shown above is the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum’s Canadian built Lancaster (FM213) at the 2013 air show.
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.