William Kuzyk and the CF-105 Arrow

This article was originally written and submitted as part of a Canada 150 Project, the Innovation Storybook, to crowdsource stories of Canadian innovation with partners across Canada. The content has since been migrated to Ingenium’s Channel, a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation.

A drawing of a CF-105 Arrow. Source: Library and Archives Canada/a111546

In 1949, Alberta native William Kuzyk graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in aeronautical engineering. Upon graduation, he was hired full-time by A.V. Roe Canada Ltd., and he spent the next 10 years working for the cutting-edge aeronautical company. While at A.V. Roe, Kuzyk held a number of positions including Flight Test Engineer, Senior Aerodynamics Engineer and Project Research Engineer. In 1956, he was assigned to work on the CF-105 Arrow (or Avro Arrow).

First designed in 1955, this supersonic fighter aircraft was a pioneering masterpiece, and for a few years was thought to be Canada’s answer to military might in the skies. Kuzyk’s work on the Arrow was largely focused on improving the Arrow’s flight performance, which included work on integrated data systems for processing in-flight instrument readings, the application of ramjets to the airframe that would help increase the aircraft’s speed to at least Mach 2, and developing revolutionary vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) technology. Unfortunately on February 20, 1959, the CF-105 Arrow program was terminated, and all of the manufactured Arrows and relating documentation and equipment were to be destroyed. Approximately 14,000 jobs were lost, and many company personnel—including William Kuzyk—left Canada to work in the United States. For many observers, the end of the Arrow was seen as a devastating blow to not only to A.V. Roe, but also to Canada’s aircraft industry.

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