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"The Future, Passed"...original acrylic painting by Lance Russwurm

"THE FUTURE, PASSED" acrylic painting, 1992 by Lance Russwurm

The Avro Jetliner

    While the demise of the Avro Arrow is merely the best example of our government's stupidity, it is not the only one. In the immediate post war years Canada was a world leader in aviation development. The Avro Canada Jetliner was the world's first medium-range jet passenger aircraft. It first flew on August 10, 1949, two weeks after the long-range de Havilland Comet from Britain which was the first jet transport of any kind in the world.

    It could exceed 800 kilometers per hour when the best piston engined transports could only do 500 kph. In the medium-range arena, aging DC-3's were still considered adequate.

On demonstration flights it wowed journalists and representatives of various airlines alike. An American newspaper warned the American Aerospace industry that the Canadian Jetliner should "Give the U.S. a healthy kick in its placidity"

    It flew beautifully .

 Howard Hughes borrowed it for some time and was impressed enough to ask about buying them for TWA. The United States Air Force was interested in procuring 20 Jetliners. Other offers were in the works. A great success seemed certain.

    So what did Canada do?.....

    C.D. Howe (of the government) sent a letter to the president of Avro, closing down the project completely. The supposed reason was that Avro could then concentrate on building CF-100's for the Korean conflict...but only a very few of these ever found their way overseas. The prototype Jetliner was used on and off for various test bed uses until 1956, at which time it was cut up for scrap. (The nose and cockpit survive, on display at The National Aviation Museum in Ottawa).

The Avro Jetliner Nose in the National Aviation Museum, Canada....photo by Lance Russwurm

  In 1955, Trans Canada Airlines, having previously backed out of their association with the Jetliner, ordered 51 Viscount turboprop aircraft from Vickers-Armstrong limited in England. These were the first turbine powered aircraft in regular service in North America. (With much lower performance than the Jetliner would have had!) They continued in service until 1969.

    The French Caravelle was also a huge success in the late fifties and through the sixties...with specifications similar to the much earlier Jetliner.

-Lance Russwurm

used by permission 2000

 

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