Cromer author’s book on doomed Avro Arrow plane

Nigel Pearce, from Cromer, has written a book about the Avro Arrow aeroplane.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Nigel Pearce, from Cromer, has written a book about the Avro Arrow aeroplane.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

It was a sleek delta-winged warplane that was scrapped before it got off the ground in anger.

But memories of the wonder plane are still flying thanks to a new book by Cromer aviation fan Nigel Pearce following nine months of research.

He says the day the project was cancelled in 1959 was a 'Black Friday' when the pioneering plane was grounded due to politics, and killed off the Canadian aircraft industry.

The Arrow was hatched in the 1950s by the Canadian arm of famous British aircraft company Avro, which created famous names such as the Lancaster and Vulcan bombers.

But the Arrow was created as a two seater interceptor fighter, able to fly at twice the speed of sound and bristling with missiles.


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The vision was born in 1946, and the first prototypes rolled out in 1957 - on the very day the Russians launched their sputnik satellite rocket. Within two years the Arrow was scrapped by the Canadian government as it buddied up with the USA and moved towards a more missile-based defence system.

Mr Pearce says the sorry saga echoes the similar TSR2 project scrapped by Harold Wilson's Labour government in 1964 - with both decisions to kill of highly advance aircraft, and thousands of jobs, based on 'political self-preservation.' The lifelong aviation fan spent nine months digging into the Arrow story, which was not easy as a lot of original information was destroyed, along with all the planes, and a lot of people he contacted 'did not want to know.'

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'The aeroplane was a staggering piece of equipment and beautiful to look at - and there is a move afoot in Canada to try to resurrect an Arrow project,' said.

The 59-year-old used to run a computer shop in Holt, and organised a Dalek festival there in 2006. He also runs the Norwich Time Travellers sci-fi charity group, has shot a film called Never Speak to Strangers for the Coast arts festival later in the year, and is penning another book called Target Taranto, about an unsung second world war bomber raid due out in November.

The Avro CF-105 Arrow is published by United PC, and available through the website uk.united-pc.eu or via Mr Pearce on redleadernigel@hotmail.co.uk.

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