Flight Test: The Avro Arrow and a Career in Aeronautical Engineering

A final chapter discusses Ralph Waechter's post-Avro career, including his work at American Airlines, an American consulting company (Aero Performance Inc.), de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited, and Canadair Limited. The book will appeal to readers with an interest in aeronautical technology and its historical development. While the main text is written for the general reader, additional information for the technically inclined reader can be found in sidebar articles, figure captions, and Avro report excerpts. This approach makes the book accessible to a fairly wide readership while also making it a valuable resource for historians of science and technology. Chapters 5 and 9 are more technical than most, but are worthwhile reading for those who wish to know more about how the Arrow's airspeed was measured (chapter 5) and how its performance was assessed (chapter 9).  Although some of the considerations involved in the decisions to terminate the Jetliner and cancel the Arrow are discussed, the book is not inherently political, and readers are left to draw their own conclusions. Length: 176 pages (with index).

The foreword for the book was provided by Hon. Col. Gerald P. J. Haddon (RCAF), the grandson of J. A. Douglas McCurdy. In 1909, McCurdy piloted the Silver Dart at Baddeck, Nova Scotia for the first controlled powered flight in the British Empire. Nearly half a century later, McCurdy was an invited guest at the rollout ceremony for the Avro Arrow.  

Flight Test

The Avro Arrow and a Career in Aeronautical Engineering

By David Waechter

Flight Test describes the work of the author’s late father, Ralph William Waechter, and those with whom he worked at Avro Aircraft Limited. Ralph Waechter’s work at Avro included Machmeter calibration and aircraft performance analysis. The book reproduces and explains key excerpts from documents that Ralph Waechter retained after leaving the company. Among these documents were:

  • A report on the Avro Arrow's highest speed flight
  • A report on the Avro Arrow's Machmeter calibration
  • A report on a computer program to compute aircraft drag
  • A report on a visit to Edwards Air Force Base and other
    establishments in California to discuss methods of testing
    supersonic aircraft (at the base, future Mercury and Gemini
    astronaut, Captain Gordon "Gordo" Cooper, served as an
    escort for the Avro visitors)
  • Fuel consumption and speed graphs for the Avro Jetliner
  • Takeoff and landing performance data for the Avro CF-100