The Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow is a delta wing, high altitude interceptor, designed and built by Avro Aircraft Limited (Canada) in Malton, Ontario, Canada, as the culmination of a design study that began in 1953. Considered to be both an advanced technical and aerodynamic achievement for the Canadian aviation industry, the CF-105 held the promise of Mach 2 speeds at 50,000 ft+ altitude, and was intended to serve as the Royal Canadian Air Force's interceptor for the 1960's and beyond.
Following the start of its flight test program in 1958, the Arrow, and its accompanying Orenda Iroquois jet engine program, was abruptly cancelled in 1959, sparking a long and bitter political debate. The Arrow is still the subject of controversy, almost 50 years after it was cancelled.
It might have become the fastest plane in the world, the best defense against Soviet bombers, and the catalyst to propel Canada to the forefront of the aviation industry. Instead, it became a $400-million pile of scrap metal, and the stuff of legends.
The Aircraft was a unique prototype, consisting of a lot of titanium metal, The design including a shoulder wing construction, two Orenda PS-13 Iroquois Gas Turbines with after-burning capability, at a weight of 4,400 lbs. Each engine produces an after-burning thrust of 25,960 lbs, which is pretty impressive.
The two crew members sat in a cockpit with a tandem arrangement, equipped with clamshell type canopies and Martin Baker CS ejection seats. The pilot had a good frontal and side view but the weapons operator had only small round side windows.
The landing gear was built by Dowty and comprised of two long main gear legs with a tandem set of two main wheels to each gear, designed to allow accommodation in the very thin wing area, with a standard design nose gear leg and two wheels.
The Flight Control System was hydraulically powered and electrically signaled, utilizing an early “Fly by Wire” AFCS (Automatic Flight Control System) which was not without its problems. The difficulty of running hydraulic lines in the wing areas resulted in hydraulic pipes being installed through the fuel tanks.
There existed 5 prototypes in total, with the 6th prototype, an Mk.2 designated RL-206 (25206), being salvaged in the nose and cockpit area for museum display, and for future generations to enjoy.
Installation and Documentation
Installation can come in the form of a purchased CD, which is mailed upon order or a download from the Xtreme Prototypes website, which is how mine arrived on my machine. After initial loading and coding, it appeared very neatly in FSX in the form of several very nice looking aircraft at first glance. All are easily selectable from the main menu, and with slightly different paint schemes and two marks of the Arrow, a very pleasing download package is a good result.
The Documentation is very comprehensive, with full descriptions of all the instruments and switches that are available, details of rotation speeds, climb out speeds, gear NVe’s and approach speeds in an easy to understand format, and handling data. It also includes a history of the aircraft.
The 61 page manual comes in the form of a Portable Document File (PDF) so it is readily available for print, in part or in full as required.
The Exterior Model
On first view of the aircraft, parked and in normal configuration, I was a little disappointed by the thin lines and little substance of gear and fuselage that presented itself. But as I closed up on the airframe and started a walk around inspection, I quickly found that the detail was evident if one looked carefully.
After about 30 minutes of exploring, I became quite attached to the “ARROW” and all that has been built into a very extreme prototype, and in fact started to compare it to the somewhat later example of prototype that I was drawn into in the early 1960’s, while working for BAC, the TSR2.
There are similarities, although in the cold hard light of day there is a direct comparison in the form of the very decisive move to scrap them both, at a loss of a vast amount of money and skilled employment in a matter of days, although in a different year, and in different parts of the world.
Anyway, back to the Arrow. It was very advanced for its day, an almost delta wing design, shoulder high in the fuselage, substantial nose gear, elegant nose, splitter plates in the intake areas of the engines, Dowty main gear, very like the aforementioned TSR2, a strong looking fin and rudder assembly, probes set up high in the leading edge of the fin and a highly sophisticated tailpipe section with a variable geometry exhaust outlet.
Inspecting each prototype in turn revealed some very nice color scheme finish, and very effective is the bright red paintwork in different areas of the plane, complete with a plethora of decals indicating where to place cockpit access ladders, cockpit release mechanism, equipment access points, how to cradle the equipment trays before release, a massive 16.5 feet in length of bomb bay to be aware of, and other exciting little placards scattered around the place.
Well, here I am in the cockpit, and I have a good view forward and sideways. Looking up I can get a really good view through the opened clamshell Perspex cockpit overhead protection area, which is very reassuring if at some stage I have to “bang out” through the roof area. I have to bear in mind that this is a prototype aircraft, and therefore newer in a lot of respects to anything I have read up on in the past, let alone dared to reach for the heavens in.
Looking left and down, I find the thrust levers and all the other switches exactly where the manual told me I would find them. You did read the manual didn’t you? Take my advice and spend some time doing just that, it will help you to handle this aircraft much better than if you just climb in, wind it up and go.
Man, this ship flies at Mach 1.8, so it can beat the sun. I once left England at 10 am. and chased the sun, only to arrive in New York before 9 am. This gave me two breakfasts plus one on the aircraft. And that was in a flying time of 3 hours and twenty minutes! 1958 it might be, but this Arrow does fly like one!
looking right and down I can see another panel and more switchery,
but it all makes sense, in fact, when compared
with the manual.
What is it like in flight then? I don't know, I am still trying to get to grips with the Engine start procedure, and trying to clear the amber indicators winking at me from the enunciator panel on the top right bank of panels.
I finally cleared that little task of preparation for flight, and can hear a very disturbing whining and rumbling feeling behind my back, which must be both engines idling and rearing to go to throttle up.
So, we now investigate the thrust pack for this big white bird, or Donk if you are an Aussie, and what a donk, sorry, jet engine, it is. (I once saw a technical log entry which simply stated “the donk is crook”.) This is in no way a reflection of the incoherence of Australians. It was an Australian company Tech. Log is all I’m saying.
Built by a Canadian company for a government specification that required an after-burning engine for the CF-105 Arrow, the Pratt & Whitney J75-P-5 turbojet engine was the selected choice for the five prototype Mark 1 aircraft. The Orenda PS-13 (unlucky for some) Iroquois was the third selected engine for the Mark 2 Arrow, after the Rolls Royce engine didn’t materialize in time, and the Pratt and Whitney engine design got binned before development. So Orenda got the job for the sixth prototype Mark two version of Arrow, and set about building a fine multi-stage LP and HP gas turbine in a choice of materials which included 30% of it being machined in titanium.
Starting the P & W J75 or Iroquois is very satisfying, and after a suitable pause while the fuel goes in and lights up the combustion area, it then starts gasses flowing over the turbine sections, which draws air in through the compressor sections as the turbine spins. This completes the cycle and eventually builds to ground idle revolutions. The noise is accurate and imitates the turning and burning sequence perfectly.
Starting the second engine is a repeat procedure of the first, and above the first can be heard the second one winding up.
Summing up the engine, it’s realistic, noisy and purposeful. When you push the throttles forward for takeoff, a check of the back end reveals an all moving jet pipe assembly, and a nice rich burn for the re-heated (unburnt) fuel ignited at the back end. At altitude, and especially in the dark, the exhaust flame cone is an absolute delight to observe, and is amongst the best I have ever seen outside of real life.
At 150 knots it is possible to rotate this bird, in accordance with the flight manual, and it reaches for the sky like a rapidly released elastic band. Wow, this baby has power to spare, but does it get off the ground quick!
A smart selection of gear up and we are looking at the altimeter running around the clock quicker than an Olympic runner chasing around the Beijing arena, provided you hold the climb of course, but it is so easy to reach altitude, that the Arrow would have been a big threat to any attacker approaching from what would appear to be an unreachable height because this ship has legs, and it can use them.
The aircraft is beautifully streamlined, and not that heavy as interceptors go. So, with two good power plants putting out a huge amount of thrust, speed is excellent, and going through Mach 1.0 is as easy as slipping on an icy path from the house to the garage. And a lot less dangerous!
How about handling quality? Well, bearing in mind that I have never really flown anything this fast, my imagination and background combine to let me think that this aircraft handles very well indeed. It is a Delta Wing aircraft in essence, only the leading edge dogtooth detracting from that arrangement, and obviously that was only built in to energize the boundary layer and improve flow over the wing, not down it. So the delta arrangement means that slower airspeeds must be observed with the caution that applies to all aircraft of this design as lift can be lost without too much indication, and a big handful of thrust levers may be needed if the lift falls away at low level.
The air brakes are extremely effective, but again need to be handled with care, especially descending to lower levels with little thrust but good speed as the envelope can be gone outside of with nasty results.
At high altitude, where this aircraft is in its element, it runs straight and true with neat contrails being streamed behind the ship and high speed turns creating vortices that are a joy to observe.
If you want high speed, high altitude and the ability to chase
down your web linked friend or enemy with ease; this is the plane
Suffice to say, I am delighted to put this simulated product through its paces with the sure knowledge that it is a reflection of a top quality product, carefully researched and crafted with a high degree of accuracy. A clever ploy by Xtreme Prototypes to bring the impossible to the demanding simulation fraternity, and let’s hope there are more to come!
Summary / Closing Remarks
Expensive in real life and in 1957, it does beg the question as to whether it was the right decision to make with regard to axing the Arrow at the time, despite it being ahead of its field, technically and by design with the cutting edge of technology achievable by the Canadian Air Force to put them ahead of the World. But at what price? We will never know, and as history repeats itself, who knows what the future will bring?
With regard to this Simulation then, $34.99 or £25.00 or 27.80 Euros will buy you a slice of aviation history in the form of six prototype Avro CF-105 Arrows. Five of which are models 1 to 5 of the Mk1. version, and one model of the Mk2.
Is it value for money? There are two trains of thought here. On the one hand, where else can you buy a prototype of the Arrow, produced in a good quality package including a 61 page manual, well finished and realistic in the handling and moving parts, with an accurate cockpit?
On the other hand, there are only six prototypes, absolutely accurate in that respect alone, with slightly varying but very accurate paint finishes, and any other production model would be totally fictitious, and, in my opinion, not at all what I would spend money on. But...
Based on value for money alone, I have to say that there are other simulations I could have spent my money on. But of course in the back of my mind is the fact that the Arrow is totally true, an extreme prototype that is unique in history, and its very production tempted me to own it despite the cost, because it is a challenge to fly and test it; and because of its very existence.
I have to say then, that I have tried to give you a true flavor of the Avro CF-105 Arrow prototype, and it is therefore your choice as to whether you want to fly an aircraft that was doomed to fail and will never fly again, but is steeped in history, or whether you would rather fly something more recognizable and publicly productive, and can give you the same opportunity to sample history in the making, or history in the world's eye from a War perspective.
What I Like About The CF-105 Arrow
What I Don't Like About The CF-105 Arrow
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