Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Barry Bays Avro Aero Pilot

Janusz Zurakowski,

A short history (information from a notice board in the park)

There is a small park in Barrys Bay, Ontario dedicated to Janusz Zurakowski. Born in 1914 in Ryzawka, Russia and grew up in Poland. In 1934 he joined the Polish Air Force. When the Polish Army was defeated, he escaped to England and joined a unit of the Polish Air Force. During the Battle of Britian while flying with Nos 234 and 609 Squadrons, he was credited with destroying three enemy aircraft in combat. For his wartime services he was awarded the Polish Virtuti Militari and Polish Cross of Valour with two bars. He was twice mentioned in RAF dispatches for his conduct during engagements with the enemy.

He immigrated to Canada in 1952 to join Avro Aircraft Limited at Toronto, Ontario as chief development pilot. The same year he broke the sound barrier in a CF-100 Mk 4 fighter aircraft, the first of Canadian design to reach that speed.

For the next few years he worked as test pilot on the development of hte CF-100 aircraft, while construction of a new Canadian supersonic aircraft was in progress. On March 25, 1958 he completed the first flight of the Arrow prototype. On the seventh flight he exceeded 1000 miles an hour and in August flew the second prototype. In February, 1959, production of the aircraft was halted by the Government of Canada.

In 1960 he retired from aviation to engage in the tourist business near Barry's Bay, Ontario.

The Zurakowski Park has several billboards with information about the Arrow and Mr. Zurakowski's aviation accomplishments. There is a model of the Arrow which took over 2500 manhours to make and a statue of Janusz Zurakowski. Worth a stop if you are passing by.