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).
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
The French Caravelle was also a huge success
in the late fifties and through the sixties...with specifications similar to the
much earlier Jetliner.
used by permission © 2000