OTD: Avro Canada Jetliner makes maiden flight

On today’s date in 1949, the Avro Canada C-102 Jetliner made its maiden flight only 14 days after the world’s first jetliner.

It was designed to meet the needs of Trans-Canada Airlines (now Air Canada), which requested a 36-seat passenger jet to travel at 680 km/h with a refuelling range of more than 800 kilometres.

The Avro Jetliner project began in 1946 at A.V. Roe in Malton, Ont. It would be the first jet transport to fly in North America and the second to fly in the world—two weeks after the flight of the De Havilland 106 Comet—breaking all passenger transport records and exceeding all design requirements. The Jetliner reached 12,131 metres and exceeded 800 km/h in level flight.

Howard Hughes orders a flight of 30 C-102 Jetliners for Trans World Airlines, but former minister C.D. Howe ordered Avro to halt development in 1951 to concentrate on the CF-100 jet fighter for the Korean War.

1981 C-102 STAMP

In 1981, Canada’s Post Office Department (now Canada Post) issued a 35-cent multi-coloured stamp (Scott #905) as part of its Canadian Aircraft issue (SC #903-6). Printed by Ashton-Potter, the stamps have general tagging along two opposite sides. Along with the C-102, the Canadian Aircraft issue featured a 17-cent Canadair Cl-41 Tutor (SC #903); a 17-cent De Havilland Tiger Moth (CS #904); and a De Havilland Canada Dash-7 (SC #906).

“Design of this pure jet transport was initiated in 1946 to Trans Canada Airlines specifications, but when TCA’s interest waned, work on the C-102 project continued with government support,” reads a press release issued by Canada Post in 1981. “During 1950-51 the Jetliner established several intercity flight records and showed every indication of success in the commercial transport field. This potential was not realized, for the Korean conflict led to a decision that Avro Canada concentrate its production resource on the CF-100 jet interceptor.”

Robert Bradford painted the illustration, and graphic designer Jacques Charette developed the format and typography for the stamp. The stamp depicts the prototype Avro Jetliner flying above Toronto.

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