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


Second Report - November 1996

This is the second report on my book on the accomplishments of the British and Canadians who worked in NASA in the 1960s after the cancellation of the Avro Arrow Program. If you have any comments, suggestions, or questions, please contact me at my address at the end of this report.

What's in a name? (part 2)

Arrows to the Moon remains the tentative title of the book. Reaction to this title has been generally positive. Another idea for a title comes from a quote from Bryan Erb in a 1965 Toronto Star story on ex-Avro engineers at NASA, in which he called the Arrow's cancellation a "lucky disaster."

On the subject of a name for the group, Rod Rose writes: "I always referred to us as 'the Avro Group.' The 'AC Connection' was a preliminary title for my book -- if I ever write it! -- not a name for the group. Personally, I prefer to be known as the Avro Group because that title encompasses all of us, whereas the 'NASA Canadians' really only refers to about half of the group."

Work in 1995

In May, 1995, I went to Ontario and interviewed Owen Maynard in Waterloo, and Stan Galezowski in Tecumseh, near Windsor. I also interviewed Bruce Aikenhead in Salmon Arm, B.C. I also visited Ottawa for research at the National Archives. In November, I went to Texas, where I visited the Apollo Archives at Rice University in Houston, and the branch of the National Archives in Fort Worth where the Mercury and Gemini papers are stored. I interviewed Peter Armitage, Dr. William Carpentier, Thomas Chambers, Dr. Owen Coons, Burton Cour-Palais, Bryan Erb, Dennis Fielder, Rod Rose and Leslie St. Leger.

Progress in 1996

Much of the year I have spent transcribing tapes of interviews from my visit to Texas in November, 1995. Because of the many demands put on me at work, I have not made as much progress on this as I had hoped to, and so this work is continuing.

In June, I visited the Toronto area and interviewed Stanley Cohn at his home at Niagara-on-the-Lake (Stan and his wife Joyce have since moved to Oakville). I also attended the Convocation of the University of Toronto, where Owen Maynard received an honourary Doctor of Engineering degree. During this trip, I also interviewed Jim Floyd, vice president of engineering at Avro during the Arrow project.

In late September and early October, I visited the Washington D.C. area to conduct research at NASA Headquarters, the Langley Research Centre and Virginia Tech, where the papers of Bob Gilruth and Chris Kraft are now kept. I interviewed John Hodge in the suburbs of Washington, Robert Lindley in Annapolis, MD, and John Shoosmith in Williamsburg, VA.

In the coming months, I hope to see David Ewart, Richard Carley and George Watts in California, and Norman Farmer in Oregon. I still have to interview Frederick Matthews, who lives in Massachusetts, as well. Thanks to Jim Floyd, I have contacted Mario Pesando, a former Avro engineer who went to RCA and worked on the Saturn V.

Still searching

I'm still looking for some of the Canadian and Anglo STG personnel who I don't yet have addresses for, including David N. Brown, Jack N. Cohen, George Harris, John K. Hughes, and John Meson.

I've got in touch with relatives of Jim Chamberlin, Joseph Farbridge, and Frank Chalmers. I still want to contact relatives of the late Eugene Duret, Carl Lindow, Leonard Packham, Tecwyn Roberts and Robert Vale. As well, I will be speaking to other NASA personnel who worked with many of the people I am writing about. I have spoken to Paul Purser and Chuck Mathews, and I hope to speak to others.

Author moves to Victoria

Shortly after I returned from Washington this fall, and while I was preparing this report, I accepted a new job with the Government of B.C. in Victoria, B.C. Although I am starting this job now, my wife and I will not be moving to Victoria until early next year. I will inform you of my new address when we move.

Thanks for your help

Thanks again to everyone who has helped me by sharing information or agreeing to an interview. Special thanks to those who showed me such wonderful hospitality on my research trips.

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)
Created: March 5, 1996
Last Update: 27 January 1999 (Seperated reports)

Layout Copyright 1996-1999 R. Kyle Schmidt. Text Copyright 1997 Chris Gainor. Used with Permission.