Forgotten firsts — the Avro Canada C-102

DHC Beaver — photo credit Wikiwand

Far ahead of its time

C-102 on its first flight- photo credit Wikipedia

First flight and demonstrations

Rapid development led to that first flight on 10 August 1949. This was followed by a trial airmail flight (the first by a jet aircraft) between Toronto and New York in April 1950, which halved the flight time between those two cities. Yet for some inexplicable reason, Trans-Canada Airlines shied away from committing to a firm order for what was obviously a very promising aircraft.

How could Canada have made such a mistake?

While it seems perplexing today, it must be remembered that in 1950 the world was a vastly different place. In the aftermath of World War 2 the world had become divided into competing blocs — with the Soviet dominated ‘eastern’ sphere and the US- influenced ‘western’ one vying for dominance. Another conflict had just broken out in Korea, where United Nations forces (including Canadian troops) had come into combat with the Communist Chinese Army and suffered grievous losses. The General commanding UN forces, Douglas MacArthur, wanted to use atomic weapons to halt the Chinese advance — an option that thankfully was never authorised.

CF-100 fighters — photo credit Wikipedia

Missed opportunities

We now know that another World War didn’t occur. The Korean War ended in a stalemate — that endures to this day. With hindsight, by cancelling the C-102 project Canada missed out on gaining a significant head start on the jet age.

Air Canada CRJ — photo credit Flickr

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Suren Ratwatte

Suren Ratwatte

I love airplanes. As an airline captain I flew many including the A380 and Boeing 777. But wish I’d had the opportunity to fly some of these old propliners.