Avro Canada VZ-9AV « Avrocar »

Triton

Donald McKelvy
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AVRO Avrocar Topping Model Original Box c.1960 found on eBay

URL: http://www.ebay.com/itm/AVRO-Avrocar-Topping-Model-Original-Box-c-1960-/310340811001?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4841c0f8f9

Description:
Offered in this auction is an extremely rare and excellent original Topping manufacturers model of the Avro Avrocar with the original box, c.1960! This piece is 9" in diameter, and in excellent overall condition. There is one decal partly missing from the base, and minor paint loss on the brass wheels, otherwise fine. The piece had been displayed for many years, and will need a careful cleaning, or not. I'm selling the piece "as found". Just acquired from a local estate of a long time senior executive of AVRO/Orenda in Rexdale, Ontario, not far from the plant. These models were purchased by the company and presented to senior engineering staff and team members working on the project at the time. Unheard of in the original box with some of the original packing material. Quite the find for any number of serious collections, a rare piece of aviation history!
 

Stargazer2006

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The best pics:
 

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Dass.Kapital

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I must admit to always being intrigued by this machine.

So my one question is, in the scaling up of its principal, why didn't it work?

Much cheers to all.
 

Zeppelin

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Could it be built today, especially with the advent of the computer control technology added for stability control?
 

Dass.Kapital

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I didn't quite think it was stability problems. More the fact that the beast simply wouldn't fly...

Though I am running of my admittedly faulty memory.

Looking forwards to learning more.
 

Stargazer2006

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In a confidential Lockheed report dated January 9, 1959, the company's Competitive Data Group expressed concerned about the rumored Canadian Avro "Flying Saucer" (bold type is mine):

Because of its possible implications as the major competitor to the Lockheed Model CL-379, the Avro "Flying Saucer" (currently undergoing development and testing for the U.S. Army) has become a considerable interest within the company.

Although very little is known about the "Saucer", as yet, an attempt has been made herein to compile the available information on this novel aircraft. In addition, in response to requests, some background items of historical interest have been included in chronological order.

The information on the present "Saucer" begins with an I.D.C. summarizing information received from various sources. This is followed by two perspective drawings and two sectional views which have been developed from comments of personnel who have seen artists sketches of this aircraft and who have had bried discussions of the "Saucer" with both Avro and AF engineers. The perspective drawings portray current impressions of the 18 foot and 40 foot saucer models, while the sectional views depict (for the 18 foot model) two possible propulsion methods, either of which could conform to the sketchy information at hand.

It is understood that, if the design should prove successful, the Army would plan to use this type of machine for the majority of its aerial missions with size and interior arrangement variations to suit each mission.

(reproduced from the original Lockheed report)
 

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shedofdread

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No, that tells it like it is - rotary wing (one disk) being the most efficient way to hover, tilt rotor next and Coanda effect 'things' after that. Other problems with them include their poor behaviour in wind / turbulence.

Yes, they are interesting but ultimately they are of no use [other than from an acedemic point of view]. There have been attempts to use Coanda effect saucers in the UAS world and they appeared to fly *OK*... when it was flat calm ;)
 

shedofdread

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Many thanks for posting that! A perfect example of why NOT to blow the air out of the periphery of the disk. They should've [IMO] looked at Henri's original patent... and then gone and built a helicopter ;)
 

Stargazer2006

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More Avrocar graphics:
 

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blackkite

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Many thanks Star and Jens! Very interesting. :)
 

fortrena

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The following overview may be of interest.

Following the abandonment of the Arrow CF-105 supersonic all weather bomber interceptor, in February 1959, a good part of the hopes of the crippled Canadian aeronautical giant Avro Aircraft rested on a project which was unusually original, to say the least, the VZ-9AV Avrocar. That circular vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicle project was born around 1952. It was initially a private venture financed by the parent company of the Ontario aircraft manufacturer, A.V. Roe Canada (Avro Canada). Canada’s Department of Defence Production invested a certain amount of money in it later on, while Canada’s Defence Research Board provided technical support. Indeed, the British aircraft manufacturer A.V. Roe & Company, a sister company of Avro Canada within the British giant Hawker-Siddeley Aircraft, may have done the same.

It should be noted that the information regarding Avro Canada’s VTOL vehicles is appallingly contradictory. Worse still perhaps, these projects aroused and continues to arouse the interest of several more or less serious people who are interested in UFOs.

Be that as it may, in February 1953, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) revealed the existence of the new project, apparently dubbed Ace by Avro Canada but better known as Project Y. That declaration aroused the enthusiasm of several journalists. The United States Air Force (USAF) also showed some interest. Representatives of that service may have seen the full-scale mock-up of Project Y, a horseshoe-shaped supersonic daytime fighter, completed in the late winter of 1952-53. While the USAF seemed to be gradually taking on an increasingly important role, certain Canadian agencies and departments showed less and less enthusiasm. The Minister of Defence Production actually withdrew his financial support in March 1955; Project Y was “too far fetched to have any practical value to Canada,” said the highly influential Clarence Decatur Howe.

With some American financial support, Avro Canada continued its research. Its engineers adopted a new circular configuration. That new project was renamed Y2 around 1954-55. It was also known within the USAF as Project 9961 Silver Bug. A concept developed by the Air Research and Development Command of the USAF, Project MX 1794, later renamed Project 1794, seemed more promising, however. The Y2 project was abandoned in 1955 and the Avro Canada team began working on the American concept. Despite these efforts, the USAF terminated Project 1794 in early 1957.

It should be noted that the American government confirmed in October 1955, through the Secretary of the Air Force, Donald Aubrey Quarles, that the development contract offered to Avro Canada “could result in a disk-shaped aircraft somewhat similar to the popular concept of a flying saucer.” The very date of that statement was no coincidence. It followed by a day or so the unveiling of a sizeable USAF report on UFOs, which stated that there was no evidence such objects existed.

Be that as it may, Avro Canada received permission in 1957 to work on a private project for a circular-wing multirole combat aircraft, perhaps known as the PV 704, begun around 1955-56. The USAF likes what it saw. The private project thus became Weapon System 606, or WS 606. Its development apparently continued until after the cancellation of the Arrow. The USAF withdrew its support for the WS 606 at an undetermined date.

It was apparently in 1957 that the Avro Canada team began the development of a simplified subsonic multirole version of Project 1794. This aircraft, the VZ-9AV, was baptized Avrocar at an undetermined date. In 1958, Avro Canada signed a contract with the United States Army to build two prototypes. The press soon got wind of the story. The existence of the Avrocar was officially made public in Washington in the spring of 1959.

The second prototype of the Avrocar makes its first unimpeded test flight, a mere hop in fact, in November. Meanwhile, after carrying out a series of experiments on a test bench, Avro Canada shipped the other Avrocar prototype to the United States for a battery of additional tests. The results obtained in Canada were quickly confirmed: the stability of the aircraft left much to be desired. Changes were needed.

At that time, both the USAF and the United States Army were fascinated by VTOL aircraft. These services did not pursue the same objectives, however. The United States Army, for example, had in mind a vehicle which was both simple and light, a flying jeep of sorts. The Avrocar seemed most promising in that respect. The USAF, on the other hand, still considered the introduction into service of all-weather supersonic VTOL fighters. That said, this service also seemed to want to acquire a hypersonic vehicle capable of operating at the limits of the Earth's atmosphere. Even though it did not have much in the way of illusions, Avro Canada submitted some preliminary sketches for these various projects. Indeed, Avro Canada also looked at a whole series of derivatives of its VTOL concept, both civilian and military, from the Avrowagon flying truck to the Avropelican anti-submarine vehicle.

In the spring of 1960, the Department of Defence Production considered granting financial assistance to the Avrocar project. Anxious to maintain the interest of the American military, it did so towards the end of the summer. The interest shown by the American military was gradually dissipating, however. Indeed, the proposed modifications to the Avrocar proved to be ineffective. Wind tunnel testing continued, but the fire was gone. The United States Army paid no attention to an upgraded version of the Avrocar. Worse still, it returned the first Avrocar to Avro Canada. The firm did not consider itself beaten, however. The Avrocar made another flight in May 1961. It was a total failure, the test pilot failing to control the vehicle. The Canadian aircraft manufacturer requested additional financial assistance, which was refused. Worse still, the American development contract, which was scheduled to end in December 1961, was not renewed. Thus ended the Avrocar project.

In early May 1962, Avro Canada became Hawker Siddeley Canada. In July, its British parent company, the Hawker Siddeley Group, sold its factory to its still active Canadian aircraft manufacturing subsidiary, de Havilland Aircraft of Canada.
 
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