Information about the CBC Movie The Arrow
With the broadcast of the CBC movie The
Arrow certain questions have been raised.
Many people have asked whether there are videos and DVDs of the movie available. There are. Stayed tuned for a link to a place where you can purchase them.
I for one enjoyed the two part miniseries (as did just about everyone else that I have spoken with), however there were a few things about the film that made me wince. I list below a few innacuracies in the movie and a few things that could reinforce misconceptions about the Arrow. This list is not meant in any way to slander the movie, but rather to state a few facts that the film makers felt necessary to massage.
- When one breaks the sound barrier, the engines do not all of a sudden become quiet. If I started an engine, then moved you at Mach 1+ away from it, you wouldn't hear the noise. In an airplane, the engines and you have no relative velocity (hopefully), so the noise doesn't go away. The noise will be mainly transmitted through the aircraft, not in the air outside it.
- Jim Chamberlin was by most accounts a very bright man (and from what I've heard, not quite as flaky as in the show, but that's OK), but he didn't invent the area rule (what was erroneously shown with the Coke bottle), he didn't invent the delta wing, and he didn't invent the leading edge notch.
- The area rule (the wasp waisting, or Coke bottle shape) was developed by NACA researcher Richard T. Whitcomb in the early fifties. To my knowledge, the first aircraft to use this technology was the Convair F-102 (probably the YF-102). In Canada, the technology was tested by Canadair on an F-86.
- A Coke bottle in a wind tunnel would not behave nicely at all. In fact, the coke bottle effect is just a side effect of the area rule. The rule states that the cross section of the aircraft should increase and decrease smoothly. So, when the wings start, the fuselage has to begin to narrow. On a round plane (like the F-102), the fuselage looks something like a Coke bottle (if you squint).
- The delta wing was developed by Alexandr Lippisch in the 1930s (if memory serves). It was used on several German aircraft during WWII. Most American (and for that matter British and Canadian) information on deltas came from an analysis of Lippisch's designs after World War Two. The XF-92..or was it the XF-91, I can't remember (also by Convair) was the first American delta wing aircraft to fly.
- Much of the work on thin delta wings (the Arrow was a 3% thickness wing) was done by Convair.
- The leading edge notch was stumbled onto by (I believe) English Electric. The notch forms a vortex that limits spanwise flow over the wing. It is a rather elegant solution. The alternative (a la the Mig 15 and descendants) is to use metal 'wing fences' that jut up on the wing to stop that air from flowing sideways (called spanwise flow).
- The Arrow was never capable of launching into space. No way, No how.
- The speeds attained in the movie were not attained in real life. But, if you don't believe the flight log, I can't help you.
- The Arrow could never have gone much over Mach 2.4 without changes to its structure (use different metals). Otherwise the Aluminum would have softened due to heating. Plans were in the works for the Arrow Mk. 3, which would have edged the speeds up by using Stainless Steel in certain, high frictional heating areas.
The movie stars Dan Aykroyd as Crawford Gordon, and a beautiful scale
replica of the Arrow as itself.
Duane Dixon, who works for 17 Wing, CFB Winnipeg
sent me these shots of the model Arrow being used for the filming of the
Duane said this about the the model:
Hello from a plane enthusiast. I work at 17 Wing, CFB Winnipeg at
CFSAS. As you probably know, CBCrecently filmed their mini-series on the
Arrow in Winnipeg with much of theshooting being done on the base here.
Part of the filming included using a full scale model of the plane.
This model was sitting on the tarmac one day when I went out to take a few
pictures. I thought you might like to see them. The model's only major
flaw was that the wings were too heavy for the contruction and drooped
considerably (And that it couldn't fly of course). The wheels were equipped
with a small battery powered motor allowing the plane to taxi at about 5
Gordon Arnaud has from the beginning of the project been keeping me
updated with information about the filming. His first message, 12 June
Filming of the movie, telling the story of the Arrow started in
Wimmipeg today. Site is at McGregor Armories. Just a few blocks from my
house. Dan Ackroyd was outside the set, but I did not get to talk to him.
Will take your home page, which I printed to see if he will sign it for
me. Keep you posted on further info.
On 2 July 1996, Gord wrote:
Filming will be at the air museum, at the int'l airport tomorrow. A
friend of mine will be towing the Arrow in this shot, and I will be there to
watch. I will let you know how it goes.
And on 3 July 1996, Gord Updated:
This morning I recievied a call to come to the Wpg Int'l Airport from my
friend who works for Air Canada (R.E.M.S). He said that he was taking the tow
vehicle over to the movie site for the Avro Arrow and would I like to come
over and see the tractor.
When I arrived, we drove to Hanger #1, and walked inside. My mouth dropped
as before me was the completed full scale virsion of the Arrow. In full
colour and decked out in all the trimmings.The bird can move on her own, as
electical motors have been installed at the back landing gear, which will
move her at 5 mph. If you did not know that it was a movie prop, you would
believe that it was the Avro Arrow returned from the past.
Along with the full scale model, there are three RC scale birds for the
flying scenes. No matter what I say here, I can not relate the feeling when
I stood under the Avro Arrow and had my picture taken with her.
More to come after, at the shoot July 4th.
Created: September 23, 1996
Last Update: 26 July 2006 (Fixed bad links, thanks to Gary Kurht)