Jetrader - November/December 2013 - 27

Speas who had joined American Airlines
in 1940 after graduating from MIT and
who was recognized by CR as an energetic
up-and-comer. The folks at Avro were so
taken by his knowledge of the U.S. airline
industry that they offered to hire him as
their United States representative. In May
1950, with CR's blessing, he took a year's
leave of absence from American Airlines to
help market the Jetliner. Speas immediately
set out to visit all the major airlines in the
U.S. where he had made contacts during
his 10 years with American Airlines, and he
also visited the Navy and the Air Force. By
June, National Airlines was ready to discuss
a purchase contract, and the U.S. Air Force
began to see the Jetliner's potential as
a bomber trainer aircraft and a refueling
tanker for their jet fighters.
Speas continued his marketing efforts,
with demonstration flights to various cities
including Chicago, Ill., New York, Tampa, Fla.,
and Miami, Fla. At each place, media were
alerted that the Jetliner was coming, and
every flight was front-page news for setting
a new speed record for whatever city-pair
was flown. Everyone who was invited to
ride on the Jetliner expressed amazement
at how quiet and vibration-free the aircraft
was as compared to the passenger aircraft
fleets then in service. At the same time,
the U.S. military was making arrangements
to have the Jetliner visit Wright Field for
evaluation, and the engine manufacturers
were involved in offering various alternative
engines for the production models. In his
book The Avro Canada C102 Jetliner, Jimmy
Floyd, the chief of the Jetliner project,
describes the mood: "It looked as if the
Jetliner program was finally 'taking off,'
thanks to the combined efforts of everyone
concerned, but particularly to the untiring
and dedicated efforts of Dixon Speas."
Meanwhile, back at Malton, Avro had
begun to manufacture a second prototype
Jetliner that would be larger, able to seat
about 60 passengers rather than 30 in the
first one, and have a higher gross weight.
It was intended to be powered by American
engines from either Pratt & Whitney or
Westinghouse, or possibly a version of the
Rolls-Royce Nene engine used on the Comet.
Manufacturing of this second prototype
was deliberately slow so that its eventual
specifications and configuration could be
tailored to suit the preferences of the
initial customers.

War Clouds Intervene
Also in mid-1950, the Korean War had
begun, and no one knew whether it might
set off yet another world war. The Canadian
government urged Avro to give its highest
priority to the CF100 fighter program and
directed work on the second Jetliner prototype to be suspended. In hindsight, this
was to be the beginning of the end. More
and more engineers and draftsmen were
being poached from the Jetliner program to
get the fighter program back on schedule.
By February 1951, all work on the Jetliner
was ordered to be discontinued, along
with any further promotion of the aircraft
as a commercial transport. Speas had the
sad duty to tell National Airlines that the
deal was off.

Everyone who was
invited to ride on
the Jetliner expressed
amazement at how
quiet and vibrationfree the aircraft was
as compared to the
passenger aircraft
fleets then in service.
Even though commercial transport applications were off the table, the military
trials of the Jetliner at Wright Patterson
Air Force Base went ahead as Speas had
arranged, with several days of extensive
testing in March of 1951 that resulted
in a very positive evaluation. Reportedly,
the Air Force's budget was then drafted
to include funds for an initial purchase
of 20 Jetliners for high-altitude crew
training. Nevertheless, the CF100 fighter
project was in trouble and had to take
priority at the Avro factory. The project
was behind schedule; the second prototype
had crashed, killing both crew members;
structural weaknesses were discovered in
the wings; and the new Orenda engine
was running late. All hope was lost that
work on the Jetliner would resume in the
foreseeable future. Discouraged, Speas
decided to resign, so the marketing efforts
collapsed and were never resumed. At the
end of 1951, the second prototype was cut
up and scrapped.

Much to Avro's chagrin, and what
must have been a cruel blow to the
company, in  November 1951, the Royal
Canadian Air Force ordered two de Havilland
Comets to be based at Ottawa for VIP
transport. They were delivered in 1953
and remained in service for about 10 years
before being retired.

The Howard Hughes Caper:
A White Knight to the Rescue?
The Hughes Aircraft company was a
candidate to design and produce the firecontrol system for the Mk.4 CF100, and the
newly idled Jetliner seemed to be a good
test vehicle on which to install the system
along with various test equipment. The
Jetliner was almost as fast as the CF100,
and it would provide a comfortable, spacious, pressurized workspace for the design
engineers to test the system. So the Jetliner
prototype was flown to the Hughes airfield
at Culver City to be modified to take the
fire-control system and test gear. At least,
that was the plan. Howard Hughes met the
airplane when it landed, and after a quick
tour, he said he would like to fly it-not a
surprise, Hughes being a very accomplished
pilot. So the next day, they did several
circuits and landings with Howard Hughes
in the left seat. He asked if the Avro pilots
could stay on for a few days, which turned
into a few weeks and then a few months
while armed guards protected the airplane.
Hughes put the crew up in a rented house
in Beverly Hills with a swimming pool so
they could bring their families down from
Canada and the pilots could stay on call
for whenever Hughes wanted to go flying.
The plans for the Hughes fire-control system never did materialize, but Hughes, who
practically owned TWA at the time, hatched
a plan to buy from 20 to 50 Jetliners.
Operating on TWA's major routes from New
York, Chicago, Ill., and Kansas City, Mo., the
Jetliner could cut in half the flight times
flown by any of its competitors. Engineering
and operational studies that had been
prepared under Speas were dusted off and
updated at TWA's headquarters in Kansas
City, and Hughes worked with Convair to
plan a production line where Convair could
manufacture Jetliners for TWA under license
from Avro. Unfortunately, the U.S. government decided Convair had too many military
commitments so the plan was aborted.
Hughes then offered a plan to finance the
Jetrader * November/December 2013 27


Jetrader - November/December 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Jetrader - November/December 2013

A Message from the President
ISTAT Europe 2013
An Uncertain Future Remains for Aircraft Emissions Regulation
A High-Flying Birthday Celebration
Financiers and the Digital Airplane
Advances in Engine Architecture
Aviation History
Aircraft Appraisals
ISTAT Foundation
ISTAT Members on the Move
New and Returning Members Index
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - cover1
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - cover2
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - 3
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - A Message from the President
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - 5
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - 6
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - 7
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - 8
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - Calendar/News
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - ISTAT Europe 2013
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - 11
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - 12
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - 13
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - 14
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - 15
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - An Uncertain Future Remains for Aircraft Emissions Regulation
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - 17
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - A High-Flying Birthday Celebration
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - 19
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - Financiers and the Digital Airplane
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - 21
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - 22
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - Advances in Engine Architecture
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - 24
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - Aviation History
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - 26
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - 27
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - 28
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - Aircraft Appraisals
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - 30
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - 31
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - ISTAT Members on the Move
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - New and Returning Members
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - Index
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - cover3
Jetrader - November/December 2013 - cover4