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Shutting down the national dream: A.V. Roe and the tragedy of the Avro Arrow Hardcover – 1988

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Ryerson; First Edition edition (1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0075496755
  • ISBN-13: 978-0075496755
  • Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 15.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 726 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #241,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Back Cover

National Bestseller... Winner of the National Business Book award... And Now... A major Mini-Series The Arrow Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Sara Botsford, Ron White, Aidan Devine, Christopher Plummer, Michael Moriarty, Michael Ironside. Screenplay by: Keith Ross Leckie. Directed by: Don McBrearty. Produced by: The Film Works Ltd., Tapestry Films Ltd., John Aaron Productions Inc. In fourteen short, precocious years, from 1946 to 1959, A.V Roe Canada and its two subsidiaries, Avro Aircraft and Orenda Engines, almost single-handedly set the aviation world on its ear. Their designers and engineers were described by NATO's General Norstad as "just about the best team anywhere." By 1958, Avro had designed, and was about to produce, the most sophisticated piece of aviation design and technology the world had ever seen: the Arrow, decades in advance of world competition. Truly, they had redefined the national dream. But on February 20, 1959, Prime Minister John Diefenbaker cancelled the Arrow and, to ensure the annihilation, ordered the scrapping of the six existing planes. (Mysteriously, one of the aircraft may have escaped the cutters' torches, giving rise to the notion of a " Phantom Arrow.") In Shutting Down the National Dream author Greig Stewart tells the story behind the story of A.V Roe and the fabled Arrow. A story of the personalities-from Crawford Gordon, the charismatic, highrolling president of Avro Aircraft to the brilliant, but volatile chief designer Jim Chamberlin. A story of the right stuff at the wrong time. A tragedy of government errors. A love story of a nation, a plane, and a dream. "Governments and torches can destroy an aircraft, but they cannot destroy hope, and aspiration, and the majesty of the questing spirit. In the hearts of the people, the dream lives on."-Jan Zurakowski, Legendary Avro Arrow test pilot --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Greig Stewart's book Shutting Down The National Dream won the National Business Book Award when it published in 1989 and has now sold over 20,000 copies. Re-issued in paperback in 1996 to tie in with the "The Arrow" mini-series, the book was a Toronto Star best-seller. Greig Stewart lives in Elmvale, Ontario. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Format: Paperback
The "poster child" of Canadian "what might have been" is the Avro Arrow, a fighter, entirely designed and built in Canada, with performance equivalent to modern fighters, but which first flew in (are you ready for this?) 1958. Unfortunately, the Canadian government ordered A.V. Roe to stop work on its Jetliner project (which was also very cool), in order to concentrate all efforts on building CF-100s as quickly as possible for the Korean War. Then, when the company had no prospects in civil aviation, the government cancelled the Arrow program and ordered all the plans and tools destroyed, and the existing planes cut up for scrap. The team which built the Arrow was scattered to the winds, and the Canadian aviation industry, which seemed set to lead the world, has never recovered.

How did it happen? Any number of works could tell you that. In fact, many of them are listed in the bibliography of Shutting Down the National Dream, which was reissued to coincide with the release of the CBC mini-series The Arrow, which it inspired. Stewart tells the story well, and supports his points wherever possible with quotes from the people involved. One brief quote, not really on topic, but symptomatic, must suffice to capture the feel of the work. A.V. Roe used a converted Lancaster bomber as a flying test-bed for the Orenda engines used in the CF-100:

"On the odd weekend the Lancaster test-bed was used for a bit of joy riding over nearby New York State. The plane would be taken across Lake Ontario very low, and would then pop up to appear on USAF radar scopes. The P-47 Thunderbolts based with the Air National Guard at Niagara Falls would scramble towards the radar blip, but were never able to catch the fast-climbing, jet-propelled Lancaster." (p. 224.)

The whole story is inspiring in just what Canadians are capable of achieving, and yet tragic, that basic human flaws can destroy such marvels.
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By Ryan Hallett on May 12 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a little biased, so I can't give the book a fair rating. It contains a few quotes from my grandfather.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Avro Arrow - Shutting Down The National Dream :: Still stuns Oct. 9 2012
By Michael Haller - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The story of the Avro Arrow provides a rare insight into one of the greatest aviation tragedies of the 20th Century. It didn't take a flight safety board investigation to determine the causes of failure for what was arguably one of the greatest aircraft ever devised and built. The 'crash' of the program, at the hands of ill-informed leaders and policy makers wielding political machetes, didn't simply result in a monumental embarrassment of the first magnitude, but a blindingly far more significant strategic loss that would well have contributed to defence of North America and the NATO nations during the Cold War. Indeed the true winners in the loss of the Arrow were the Soviets and their cohorts - they could not have scripted it better themselves.

This is an exceptional insightful story of what actually happened through the eyes of many of the people who lived through it. Recommended reading. Prof Michael Haller
Great little know story March 22 2013
By Joe Scientist - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was potentially a great aircraft that could have been better than anything the U.S. had at the time. The book gives enough technical details for one to understand the cutting edge potential of the aircraft while covering the political mistakes that caused it's cancellation and the end of Canada as a major player in the aircraft industry. If you are a military aircraft fan you should read the book or see the made-for-TV movie.
The plane that flew but never got off the ground! March 12 2015
By Larry - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I heard about this plane recently even though I spent a lot of time in the Toronto airport when it was being developed. I am sorry that it never got off the ground even though it flew several times. It sounds like it would still be an impressive plane even today.
Five Stars Jan. 22 2015
By jean dewhurst - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A wonderful book, and such amazing value for money, it arrived well packed and on time well done