If you’re a Canadian history buff, you already know about the Avro Arrow, a supersonic jet designed and built by Canada in the 1950s. The Arrow was one of the most advanced aircraft in history up to that point. But in a controversial move, the government scrapped the program when it was found that American and Britain didn’t want to buy foreign-built jets, and Arrow prototypes and plans were ordered destroyed.
Nevertheless, traces of the program remain, though most of them lie lost at the bottom of Lake Ontario. Several one-eighth-scale models that were launched over the lake in the mid-50s to test the Arrow design are the only prototypes of the jet that still exist, but these test flights weren’t intended to return, instead disappearing into the Great Lake.
People have been searching for the lost models for years, but this summer an initiative called Raise the Arrow got serious about finding them, using remotely controlled underwater vehicles and sonar to scour the bottom of the lake. And last week, their efforts paid off when the first ever of the lost models was found.
Photos and videos of the model show a battered, jet-shaped object absolutely covered in mussels. The next step, the group says, will be removing the mussels, getting the model out of the lake, and restoring it for display at an aviation museum.
“I think being able to showcase using cutting-edge Canadian technology—being our sonar systems and underwater vehicles—to actually find and resurrect cutting edge Canadian technology,”David Shea, vice-president of engineering for Kraken Sonar, told the Toronto Star. “I think it’s an amazing example of what we can do as Canadians looking back at our history.”
Raise the Arrow is continuing the hunt for the other lost models, of which there are believed to be eight remaining.