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the AVRO C.102 Jetliner

jetliner1 pic

As reported in the Funk & Wagnalls "Year Book for 1948" under First Jet Transport: "Scheduled for flight test early in 1949 was the first aircraft designed from scratch as a jet-propelled transport. It is the Avro XC-102, designed and built by Avro Canada of Toronto in collaboration with engineers of Trans-Canada Airlines. Cost of the project are shared by the Canadian government and the manufacturer. The XC-102 is a low-wing, all metal monoplane with pressurized cabin and tricycle landing gear. It is designed to accommodate 40 passengers and a crew of the and is expected to cruise at 430 mph at 35,000 ft. Gross wieght is 52,500 lb. Power plant consists of four Rolls-Royce Derwent II turbojets providing 14,000 lb. static thrust output. The engines are grouped in pairs on either wing panel."

Though the Avro Jetliner was just 13 days behind the British Comet, it was years ahead of the Boeing 707, the Jetliner did not have the problems of the Comet and when you look at it you must ask why did Canada not back this great aircraft! If Avro had not fallen behind on the CF-100 production line and if the Korean war not been going on we may still have Jetliners flying today, but the story of the Jetliner is much like the story of the Avro CF-105 Arrow -- it is the story of broken dreams and lost opportunities

The C-102 had been designed to the Trans Canada Airline requirment agreed in 1946, which called for a 36 seat aircraft with a cruising speed of 425 miles per hour, a "still-air" range of 1,200 miles, an average distance between stops of 250 miles, with 500 miles as the longest let requiement. Alllowances were specified as 45 minutes stacking and flight time to a 120-mile alternate airport. Headwind was to be taken as 20 mph average, with 40mph maximum.

The Jetliner was built during the daytime, tested at night. Once in the wooden mockup stage, Jim Floyd said, "That nose just won't do." So they sawed it off, and built another within a week.

The first prototype, CF-EJD-X christened the Jetliner, first flew 10 August 1949, just 25 months after the design of the Derwent-engined verstion was started! The crew consitited of Avro UK Chief test pilot Jimmy Orrel; Avro Canada Chief Test Pilot Don Rogers; and flight engineer Bill Baker. The first flight was without any problems and the only problem in over 500 hours of flight occured on the second flight (16 August 1949) when the aircraft had to make an emergency belly-landing because the main gear would not extend (the damage was so minor that the aircraft was flying within three weeks).

By December 1950 the Jetliner had reached 39,800 feet and had exceeded 500 mph in level flight!

Howard Hughes was so impressed with the Jetliner that he wanted to manufacture it under license at Convair and using it on TWA routes, but the U.S. government would not agree to Convair devoting effort and spce to a civil project in view of the Korean crisis.

The Jetliner never did go into comercial use but was used as the aerial survey & photo platform for the CF-100 project, as orders were never placed, construction on the partially built secont prototype was abandoned. On 10 December 1956 the Jetliner was ordered distroyed, and after contacting the National Aviation Museum turned up no interest in obtaining the aircraft due to a lack of space, the Jetliner was cut up on the 13th of December 1956 with only the cockpit section surviving (in the Canadian Aviation Museum in Ottawa).

For over 80 photos of the C-102 Jetliner check out the Canadian National Aviation Museum