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Avro fan launches replica rocket

Grant Charlesworth, of Picton, worked on the engines of the actual P-13 Iroquois (Avro Arrow) in the 1950s. Amber Martin photo

Grant Charlesworth, of Picton, worked on the engines of the actual P-13 Iroquois (Avro Arrow) in the 1950s. Amber Martin photo

It was over in the blink of an eye but the small crowd gathered to witness the launch of an A2-R13 rocket was appreciative seeing it zoom some 3,000 feet into the sky above Loch Sloy at Prince Edward Heights.
Ashley McIsaac enjoys launching high performance rockets and dedicated this one to the Avro Arrow program. On hand with him Thursday afternoon was Grant Charlesworth, of Picton, who in 1951 worked on the engines of the actual P-13 Iroquois (Avro Arrow).
McIsaac thanked Jacqui Burley and Ron Stokes, of Loch Sloy and the Prince Edward Flying Club for their support, and also all levels of the Department of National Defence.
“I can’t say enough on how helpful they were for me all the way from our heads at our Department of National Defence, Trenton Base Commander who took the time to call me back personally and even young air cadets who were as polite as can be. I also want to thank the citizens of Picton for being so open minded with this idea I had of honoring the employees of the Avro Arrow program while paying tribute to all of our military on this very important day of the year.”
Its connection with Remembrance Day, McIsaac said, is not about the rocket launch itself. “It’s what the rocket represents. What it represents is the fortitude of the Canadian people against impossible odds. The CF-105 (Avro Arrow), it was said, couldn’t be built in the 50s. A supersonic jet that could climb above 70,000 feet and reach speeds never attempted before. A Canadian company received the contract after the employees of A.V. Roe were confident in saying ‘Impossible, we’ll just see about that. We can build it.'”
McIsaac told the crowd hundreds of test rockets were launched here off the shores of Lake Ontario – including many shapes and sizes of rockets ranging from three feet (like today’s example) to 30 feet and beyond. Testing propulsion systems and the new Delta wing technology that would help them reach the speeds of Mach 2 and beyond.
“By 1957, the all-Canadian company had accomplished the impossible and the Avro Arrow was rolled out for the media and public on Oct. 4, 1957. However, earlier on this same day half way across the world, the Russians launched a little-known piece of technology that would orbit the earth, named Sputnik. Overnight, the Avro Arrow that was perfectly made and did everything that was asked of it, seemed almost obsolete. After all, it couldn’t fly in space.
“Two years later, the program was terminated after the creation of NORAD in 1959. This would have Canadians and Americans working together and focusing on long range missiles as the best way to defend our soil from a foreign attack.
“30,00o men and women lost their jobs overnight – from A.V. Roe, or a company connected to the project. From this, a man named Jim Chamberlain led a group of engineers and program managers down to NASA. These Canadians were instrumental in the construction of the mighty Saturn Five rocket that eventually put the Americans and Neil Armstrong on the moon.”

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Ashley McIsaac

Ashley McIsaac will launch an A2-R13 rocket Thursday afternoon in honour of the 50th anniversary of the Avro Arrow.
The Kingston resident has made arrangements through 8 Wing Trenton and the Prince Edward Flying Club for the miniature replica launch Thursday around 2:30 p.m. at Prince Edward Heights.
“Young people will be taken back by this miniature launch and excited to seen an enormous 36; black parachute deployed after the rocket reaches an estimated altitute of 4,000 feet,” says McIsaac, of Kingston. “If this inspires even one young child who is watching the lift off to build a model rather than play a video game, this will be a great day. We will also be remembering and respecting our heritage while educating the young people.”
McIssac explains that in the 1950s, hundreds of test rockets were launched off the shores of Prince Edward County before eventually crashing into Lake Ontario.
“The Avro Arrow program was, and is, Canada’s most spectacular agronomic project ever. In 1960 the conservative government ordered the program stopped and all aircraft, including smaller scale models of the Arrow plus every blueprint, was destroyed.
The Avro Arrow program should give Canadians an enormous sense of pride, he says.
“First for being the first country to reach mach 2 supersonic speed and more importantly, instrumental in the redesign of jet engines to produce more propulsion and thrust. The achievements at a time when no jet on the planet could fly as fast or as high, giving scientists a glimpse of the unlimed potential of flying and what was to come in the future.
“When the Arrow ended many of the scientists and engineers moved south to help Americans build the mighty Saturn 5 rocket that was eventually sent Neil Armstrong to the moon.
“To commemorate these outstanding accomplishments I have redesigned my Aerotech High Powered rocket to resemble an Arrow rocket from 1958, including an engine with “G” impulse thrust. Safety is key. I have launched over 20 of these high performance rockets in my day and am proud to say all were recovered safely. The engine is made by an American company called Aerotech and is completely self contained (solid rocket fuel) and only a 12 volt battery is needed for power.
“Everybody’s invited to be at the launch of this Arrow replica into the skies above Prince Edward County one more time to remind the youth of our great accomplishments of yesterday.”

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