Flight Test: The Avro Arrow and a Career in Aeronautical Engineering 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 and 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.
The book also provides information on the Avro Jetliner, the CF-100 and Ralph Waechter’s post-Avro career. 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 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).
The foreword 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.
About the Author
David Waechter is a professional engineer who has worked in research and development for his entire career. He received B.A.Sc. and M.A.Sc. degrees from the University of Toronto and a Ph.D. degree from Carleton University (Ottawa), all in electrical engineering. He has worked on technologies used in aerospace, defence, energy, and medical applications. He resides in Southern Ontario.