PICTURES AND VIDEOS OF AVRO CANADA AIRCRAFT
The Avrocar project started in 1958 and was designed for the U.S. Army as a flying jeep. It was also to be a research vehicle for the USAF supersonic-fighter program that Avro Canada had been working on since 1953.
The need for a “flying” jeep arose from the desire for the U.S. Army to have a tactical craft that would enable the soldiers to have greater mobility in the field.
The design was driven by John Frost – Chief Designer of Special Project s Group A.V. Roe Canada. The initial concept had come from Project Y, started in 1953, this was designed to be a supersonic VTO (Vertical Take-Off) aircraft that the U.S. Airforce was interested in. The Avrocar was therefore in John’s mind to be a proof-of-concept as a subsonic vehicle that could lead A.V. Roe Canada back into a contract with the USAF for the supersonic aircraft.
The VZ-9-AV (Avrocar) was to be powered by three Continental J-69 turbojet engines. The downward thrust generated would allow for VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing). To allow directional control of the aircraft, Frost designed a system that used vanes and shutters around the periphery of the aircraft. The pilot was to sit on the port side and the observer to sit on the starboard side in separate covered cockpits.
The construction used standard aircraft design and was built from a skin of aluminium and was carried by tricycle landing gear. The dimensions were to be 18ft in diameter, 7.7ft in height and a empty weight of 3,000 lbs.
In December 1959 the first free flight trials were carried out by A.V. Roe Canada’s test pilot Spud Potocki. He entered his thoughts in his flight log that day:
“With a quarter lift control application, the vehicle became airborne at 83% engine rpm. With half fuel. On first unstuck, it became obvious that the behaviour of the vehicle was more conventional than at any time before. The getaway from the ground was clean and rather steady, requiring only small control movements by the pilot. The aircraft was definitely stabilized this time within the ground cushion, the stabilizing action of the gyro being felt quite clearly through small amplitude oscillations which were present at all times. At the one-quarter left control setting, there was still much liveliness in the system when ever any large correction to attitude was made by the pilot. This effect seemed to stir up the oscillatory response “hubcapping”. The control in hovering flight was adequate in both pitch and roll”.
A video of some of these early test flights can be seen here in this link.
The flight trials proved to be a disappointment. Maximum speeds achieved were 25-30 knots and control was able to be maintained at heights of 1 – 1.5 feet. The programme was cancelled in 1961.
For further reading see:
Avrocar: Canada's flying saucer: the story of Avro Canada's secret project.
By Bill Zuk. ISBN: 1-55046-359-4
Click image to open the gallery.
Click image to play.