Avro Employees and NASA

Or, Canadians putting America into Space


This was written by Christopher Gainor and transferred to HTML by R. Kyle Schmidt


Arrows to the Moon

How the engineers who created the Avro Arrow helped put Apollo on the moon

Third Report - January 1999

Canada's biggest pool of engineering talent was assembled at Avro Canada in Malton, Ontario, to build the CF-105 Avro Arrow, then the most advanced supersonic fighter aircraft ever built. The group that designed and built the Arrow was broken up on February 20, 1959, when the government of Canada abruptly cancelled the Arrow project.

A select group of those brilliant engineers went to work for the U.S. space program, where they helped form the core of the brilliant team that took America to the moon. Now for the first time, their story will be told in Arrows to the Moon, which is now being written.

Here is the story of some of the 32 Avro engineers of Canadian and British origin who moved to the United States and went to work for NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Jim Chamberlin, who was the chief of technical design for the Arrow, went to NASA where he helped run the Mercury project, which sent the first Americans into space. Chamberlin then designed the Gemini spacecraft, which propelled the U.S. ahead of the Soviet Union in the space race of the 1960s. Chamberlin's bold proposal for Gemini stirred up a fierce technical debate that ended with the crucial decision that paved the way for Apollo's landing on the moon in 1969.

Owen Maynard came from Avro to NASA where he helped design the Lunar Module and later became chief engineer for Apollo. The sequence of missions drawn up by Maynard helped guide Apollo astronauts closer to their goal of a landing on the moon.

John Hodge was one of the original flight directors at Mission Control, along with Chris Kraft and Gene Kranz of Apollo 13 fame. Hodge returned to NASA in the 1980s to launch the Space Station program. Along with other Avro engineers such as Dennis Fielder, Tec Roberts and Fred Matthews, Hodge helped build Mission Control and the network of tracking stations that guided Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo.

Bruce Aikenhead returned to Canada after three years of training astronauts at NASA, and he became one of the pioneers of the Canadian space program. He worked on Gerry Bullšs controversial cannon launcher, on Canadian satellites, the Canadarm and finally the Canadian Astronaut Program.

These are but a few of the stories that will be told in Arrows to the Moon.

Watch this page for news on the book.

Still searching

I'm still looking for some of the former Avro-NASA engineers who I don't yet have addresses for, including David N. Brown, Jack N. Cohen, John K. Hughes, and John Meson.

I still hope to contact relatives of the late Eugene Duret, Carl Lindow, Leonard Packham, Tecwyn Roberts and Robert Vale.

As well, I would like to speak to ex-Avro engineers who later worked in the U.S. space program as members of contractor teams.

If you wish to contact me, I can be reached through the following means:

1490 Thurlow Road
Victoria, BC
V8S 1L9

Or contact me through email at cgainor@islandnet.com


(250) 380-6358
(250) 387-4680(fax)

The ongoing process of researching this book has been documented on this web page . Earlier reports are archived. Report 1 and Report 2 are still available by clicking on their respective links.

Created: March 5, 1996
Last Update: 27 January 1999 (Seperated reports - fixed fax #)

Layout Copyright 1996-1999 R. Kyle Schmidt. Text Copyright 1999 Chris Gainor. Used with Permission.