AVRO Canada
AVRO Canada C-102 Jetliner
AVRO Canada CF-100 Canuck
AVRO Canada CF-105 Arrow
Other Avro Canada Aircraft
Avro and Orenda Collectibles
AvroLand's Free Downloads
Avro Related Events
Master Links Page
Other Avro Projects
The people behind the aircraft and engines
The Places Page
AvroLand Site Info
The suppliers
The Wishlist Page

Dedicated to the people and projects of AVRO Canada & Orenda Engines Limited


At 6:00pm, Monday February 9th 2004, Janusz Zurakowski - Jan or Zura as many knew him passed away at his home in Barry's Bay, Ontario with his wife, and two sons at his side
the funeral was held Thursday Feb 12 at St. Hedwig's Church in Barrys Bay.

Born 12 September 1914 in Ryzawka, Russia (near what is today the Ukraine), Zura fled with his parents to Poland, in 1921, after the Russian Revolution, he became a fighter pilot in Poland, and fought with the Polish Air Force when the Nazis attacked Poland. He ended up in England flying with the RAF throughout the war, he was credited with six kills of enemy aircraft as a Spitfire pilot in the Battle of Britain, for which he was decorated. After the war, he was a test pilot in Britain at Gloster working under Bill Waterton, the Canadian who was the first test pilot of the Avro CF-100 Canuck. By this time he was also an accomplished air show performer having created the first new maneuver in 20 years.

Jan Zurakowski joined Avro Canada on 22 April 1952 a day after he moved to Canada. He became chief experimental pilot and led the flight testing of the CF-100 and later the CF-105. Zura became the first person to break the speed barrier in a straight wing aircraft, without rocket power, in a CF-100 (in a dive)!

As the chief test pilot of the Avro CF-105 Arrow and took it for its maiden flight on 25 March 1958. He retired from flying in 1959 and built a thriving resort business in Barry's Bay Ontario.

Awarded the McKee Trophy in 1958, appointed to the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame in 1973, and many other honours including last year the Zurakowski Park in Barry's Bay dedicated to Janusz Zurakowski - through all the awards and fame he remained a very quiet, unassuming gentleman.

I had the honour to meet and talk with Zura at an Avro event and for that I am thankful - please take a minute or two to remember a man who helped make Canada a leader in aviation and who was always willing to take a minute to chat - I am sure his wife and family will appreciate it.

At his funeral the one thing that was said time and time again from those who knew him best was the accomplishments which he was most proud of was not his flying career, it was his family - his wife, sons and grandchildren, I have been lucky enough to be able to meet most of his family, and I can tell you first hand that they all take after him, they are as friendly and humble as Janusz, he was right to be proud of his real legacy!


I have asked Bryan Knight a former co-worker of Janusz to share some memories of Janusz with us:


Jan, of course, was the more colourful of the two (Mike Cooper-Slipper being the other), although I had less to do with him at West Raynham or Malton than with Mike. In 1947 -48, he was working over at DFLS, training Allied squadron and flight commanders in day fighter battle tactics.
From all accounts, rendered by my late, good friend Lt.Col. Dick Weller of the USAAC, (See the xbrat47 articles for more info), he was a great pilot and instructor. The one "big story" I recall from those
days relates to an incident with a rather special Meteor ... Jan had sent several students in their Griffon-engined Spitfires, on a "train strafing"
mission to shoot up trains entering and leaving the Grantham railway tunnel. Right after they took off, he came over to our Test Flight hangar and "borrowed" Meteor EE348 ... I think that was its' number ... a
strange craft - it had extra length wings, and a funny chisel-shaped nose - looked sort of like a Tiger Moth without the prop. He took off, and set off in pursuit of the departing Spits ... his intent apparently to intercept the students and scare the living daylights out of them. He arrived over the tunnel area in time to see a couple of them doing a standard ground attack run on a train. Immediately he dove the Meteor at the two Spits, misjudged his approach speed, and overshot in his attack. Pulling
the Meteor up in a "high-G" barrel roll climb, prepatory to another attack, he heard a loud bang behind him, but continued the rolling climb. When he figured it was time to repeat his dive attack, he
found that the Meteor would not respond but kept climbing and rolling. Eventually it ran out of steam, turned nose down and headed for Mother Earth. Speed kept building up and one wing peeled off at the engine junction .... as I recall the second wing soon followed ! This being one of the earlier Meteors with the MB ejection system, he jettisoned the canopy and bailed out ... and made it ... the first pilot to
bail out of a Meteor and live ! The reason ? The bang he'd heard when he pulled out of his first attack, was the fuselage breaking in two right behind the wing trailing edge, hence no high T-tail to impale
him !


AVROLAND's Logo Click on logo to return to the pilots section

20 Feb is Black Friday
It has been 45 years since the last flight of the CF-105 Avro Arrow which marked the beginning of the end of Avro Canada