The Avro Arrow was named after its distinctive wing design, often referred to as delta wings. Today, delta wings are found on many small and medium-sized aircraft, but back it was an entirely new concept. Not only was it a more sleek design, but it had a purpose as well.
Aircraft engineers struggled for years to overcome the sound barrier. The production of the Avro Arrow led to the discovery of how to do this using the proper wing shape. Delta wings are unique as the wingspan reduces drag, allowing the plane to fly faster than the speed of sound.
The Avro Arrow
The improved design was referred to as the Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow, a name it certainly lived up to. With delta wings and a spearhead configuration, it flew like no other aircraft had at that time. Not only was it fast, but it was intense and deadly as well.
When the original design was improved upon, engineers focused on both strength and speed. Not only could the Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow reach heights above 50,000 feet, but it could fly at Mach 2 speeds or 1500 miles per hour.
During this time, technology was nowhere near what it is today. They didn’t have computer simulation models to test their work. Instead, engineers had to create several prototypes of the models to be sure the aircraft functioned properly and was safe.
Between the years 1953 and 1957, nine prototypes of the Avro Arrow were generated. If they hadn’t taken these steps, it would have been impossible to foresee whether their improvements were successful. Each prototype was made with the proper specification, but they were scaled down in size to reduce costs.
The delta wings were tested using the nine Avro Arrow prototypes. At just 10 feet long, each model had a wingspan of 6.5 feet. While they appeared the same as what would later become the Avro Arrow, they weren’t a replica as they ran on solid fuel.
Launched from Point Petre in Ontario, the prototypes needed an extra boost to get off the ground. They were mounted on rocket boosters to test better the stability and the drag of the new delta wings.
Testing Was a Success
The nine mini Avro Arrows used for testing could genuinely pack a punch. They reached Mach 1.7 speeds before landing in the lake, yet offered the engineers everything they needed to know to perfect the aircraft. Fortunately, only a few improvements needed to be done.
They drooped the wings, altered the camber, and added a dogtooth, all features that high-speed aircrafts still have today. Additionally, they applied information from a newly-published area rule principle that suggested things like a sharper nose and a tail cone would improve the design.