B.C. man helps find piece of aviation history

At the bottom of Lake Ontario was once a lost piece of Canada’s aviation history

A search for underwater treasure has panned out for a Salmon Arm Secondary graduate.

At the bottom of Lake Ontario was a lost piece of Canada’s aviation history – a piece which has now been found.

Nine prototype test-plane models of the infamous Avro Arrow jet were created and launched into Lake Ontario between 1954 and 1957. It was confirmed Sept. 8 that one of the models has been found on the floor of Lake Ontario.

Former Salmon Arm resident David Shea is vice-president of engineering for Kraken Sonar Systems. The Newfoundland-based company has developed a programmable submarine, known as the ThunderFish, an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) with an advanced sonar system to allow for searching with far clearer results than traditional sonar.

Shea was previously part of the successful Arctic search for the ships lost in the 1845 Franklin Expedition.

On Friday, July 28, the team from Kraken began work on the Raise the Arrow project, a collaboration between several private companies, including Osisko Mining, working with the Canadian Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Military Institute to find these scale models. The nine prototypes are roughly one-eighth the size of the full-sized aircraft.

Image of Avro Arrow model captured by Kraken’s AquaPix® Synthetic Aperture Sonar

The team, which includes the scientists and archaeologists, is based in an area near Point Petre.

“We are so proud of our engineers who helped locate an Arrow free-flight model,” says Karl Kenny, Kraken’s president and CEO. Our advanced Canadian ocean technology plays a big part in this story, where our world-class underwater sensors and robotics helped find a piece of Canada’s aviation history.”

The effort has uncovered sonar images, pictures and underwater video of the model. The next step will be to send divers to assess the condition of the model, which will remain submerged until recording and preservation work can be completed. The hope it to eventually bring the model to the surface and where it could become part of the collections at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa and the National Air Force Museum of Canada in Trenton, Ont.

Shea was part of the team searching an area of 64 square kilometres, with Kraken’s AUV moving in a lawnmower-like grid pattern to look for the models.

While the team knew a few details of where the test models were launched and the angle at which they were launched, no one really had much of an idea where they might have landed.

Shea previously told the Observer the Kraken team had a theory that previous search efforts estimated the planes were much farther out in Lake Ontario than initially thought.

“I believe that if we are looking in the right area, we are going to find them,” he accurately predicted at that time.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Photo contributed The ThunderFish, Kraken’s autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) with an advanced sonar system to search the floor of Lake Ontario for scale models of the Avro Arrow.

Just Posted

West Coast Trail to remain closed for now

Federal government won’t open world-famous trek until its First Nations are ready for visitors

New gazebo for Victoria Quay opens with help from Alberni Rotary club

A new gazebo that has been erected at Victoria Quay is the… Continue reading

New Vancouver Island airline eyes Alberni’s airport for charter flights

ACRD has work to do to support air operations, says GM of environmental services

True crime podcaster on mid Island inspired by case of missing Island woman

‘Island Crime’ Season 1 covers 2002 disappearance of 21-year-old Lisa Marie Young

Alberni Valley Community Foundation releases second round of emergency funding

The Alberni Valley Community Foundation will provide $75,000 to support local charities… Continue reading

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Most Read