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Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute

Institut aéronautique et spatial du Canada

CASI Ottawa Branch | "Once There Was An Arrow" with Walter Gordon

May 05, 2023 08:40 | Todd Legault (Administrator)

Originally broadcast 2023.05.03

Avro Canada completed and flew five prototypes of the CF-105 Arrow supersonic interceptor before the program was terminated by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker on February 20, 1959. Known ever since as Black Friday, on that day over 14,000 employees lost their jobs and the Canadian aerospace industry changed forever, never again to produce a state-of-the-art military aircraft. One of the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world at the time, the Arrow was an almost inconceivable achievement by a company that only 13 years earlier was manufacturing Lancaster bombers under license during World War II. To this day an aura of conspiracy surrounds the demise of the aircraft, fostered by the Canadian government’s subsequent order that all completed and partially completed Arrows be cut up and sold for scrap. This talk will discuss the development of the Arrow from the genesis of Avro Canada during World War II to the political and military pressures that led to its cancellation.

Walter Gordon worked as an engineer in Western New York from 1979 to 2020 at four different aerospace firms, retiring recently as a business development manager in the Moog Space and Defense Group. He is also retired from a parallel 30-year career in the Air Force Reserve, serving as commander of the 328th Airlift Squadron and 914th Airlift Wing in Niagara Falls, New York. Walter Gordon is a veteran of Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom and has over 2,000 hours flying time in the C-130.

Walter has a long time interest in aerospace and aerospace history, joining AIAA at age 17 and currently serving as chairman of the Niagara Frontier Section (western NY, eastern Ontario and Quebec) and member of the History Committee. He is also the chairman of the Niagara Frontier Aviation and Space Hall of Fame nominating committee and a past president of the Niagara Aerospace Museum and Aero Club of Buffalo. He has B.S. and M.S. degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the University at Buffalo and an M.S. in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Air Force Air War College.


  • May 05, 2023 22:14 | Steven Fahey
    Thanks CASI for posting this!
    I had to leave early during Walter's presentation, so I'm pleased to catch up on what I missed.

    Thank you Walter for sharing footage and details that even an Arrow buff like me hasn't seen before.

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