The legend of the Avro Arrow endures after almost 60 years since it’s untimely demise in 1959. Images of the iconic Canadian designed and built advanced fighter jet being cut to pieces on the tarmac after cancellation of the Arrow program still leaves a bitter impression on many Canadians.
Not much survived that government ordered destruction of our beloved Arrow, a few pieces were whisked away by Avro employees before they were fired from the company, and the blow-torch scarred nose section and wings rest in the Aviation Museum in Ottawa. These scraps are all that’s left to remind us of this unique part of Canadian history…until now…something new has arisen from the Avro ashes: Unpublished film negatives of a 1958 Avro Arrow test flight found for sale on Kijiji.
These are extremely rare, and the seller claims they are unpublished negatives from the June 11 1958 test run of the first Arrow prototype, “RL-201”. The shots were taken by the seller’s father, who was a freelance photographer in 1958 and snapped these pics of the Arrow in Malton, On. The unpublished photos show the prototype Avro Arrow during a test flight, then sitting off a runway with its landing gear collapsed. Research shows that this particular incident occurred on June 11th 1958 when a malfunction resulted in main landing gear failure with the prototype Arrow skidding off the runway.
The Kijiji ad originates from Burlington, On, and after contacting the seller I was informed they are owned by the son of the original photographer, an inheritance after his father passed away. A direct link to the ad is HERE . Owning this rare piece of history comes with $50,000 price tag for the 14 original film negatives. The ad photos show 6 of the 14 original negatives. I used Photoshop to invert and flip them, providing us with the “positive” image as the Arrow test would have appeared on June 11th 1958 when this flight was captured on film.
The photos also capture the two Polish-Canadian test pilots who flew the Arrow, Janus Żurakowski and Wladyslaw “Spud” Potocki chatting in an office, positively identified in the photos negatives once I had inverted them. Zurakowski is from Barry’s Bay north-west of Ottawa where there is a town memorial commemorating his historic test flight in the Avro Arrow.
These remarkable photos speak for themselves but I have done my best to provide some explanatory captions below each negative and inversion image. I have contacted Canada Aviation and Space Museum who are now aware of the existence of these negatives..
Below are the original negatives and underneath each my reversal (positive) image and caption.
Enjoy this flight back in time.
Another very interesting article! While I don’t have the $50K to invest, I am interested in your Photoshop technique for inverting & flipping the negatives. I have some old family negatives I’d like to scan and make into positive images. Would you share your technique? I use Photoshop Elements 12 but do have access to the full CS suite.
Brian Glenn Orleans
Thanks for reading…if you go into PS and go to menu bar “FILTER”, then scroll down to “Adjustments” then select “Invert” Voila!
The Avro story is very interesting. Cannot see such a high price for the negatives though. There is a coloured Video on YouTube that is far more enjoyable. https://youtu.be/7sFRiacvNYo
There was a story about on missing complete plane. Was it just a story ?
Fine work with the negatives !! Keep up the great work !!
Thanks for reading, and yes, there was an ejection seat from an Arrow located for sale in the UK, leading to theories one made it there. Google it.
Thats a work in progress. But it appears there may be a missing arrow.
There was also an Orenda Iroquois engine found at Bristol Aerospace about 15 years ago by a man named Marc-Andre Valiquette. It had been sent there before the cancellation for an air show. After FEB 20 1959, “Black Friday”, the British called Avro Canada and said “we have one of your Iroquois engines” and they were asked to keep quiet about it. The engine was shipped to Canada on a C-130 Hercules, and is being restored at a shop in B.C. that specializes in rebuilding gas turbines. There have been many parts of the Arrow turning up recently, and most of them are going up for auction, rather than to museums. I will go through my archives, I think I may be able to identify the person in the photo with Januz. If not I will try asking someone from Avro.
Small quibble. The Sabre was never the CF-86. The CF designation was initially only used for Canadian designed and built fighter aircraft, or which there were only the two AVRO products.. The application of the designation to all types didn’t begin until the era of the CF-101 and CF-104. The Sabre was simply the Sabre or was identified by the manufacturer’s designation, the CL-13
You are absolutely correct…I will adjust as needed..thanks for reading!