Conspiracy Interceptor

Facts and fictions of the Avro Arrow

In the mid-1950s, engineers from A.V. Roe, based in Malton, Ontario, launched nine Nike rockets from Point Petre, at the eastern end of Lake Ontario. On board were one-eighth-scale models of a new supersonic fighter, complete with instruments to transmit data back to shore as they soared nearly 6,000 metres in the air and fourteen kilometres over the lake. The engineers, trying to test aerodynamic theories and conditions they could not simulate in wind tunnels, never planned on recovering their models. But for years, treasure hunters have searched the lake’s floor for a key piece of Canadian aviation history: Avro Arrows that actually flew.

This is a big year for the Avro Arrow, in part because February 20 was the sixtieth anniversary of the Progressive Conservative government’s shock cancellation of the Canadian-designed fighter, still in the pre-production testing stage in 1959. It was a...