8/10/1949: Maiden Flight of the Avro Canada C102 ‘Jetliner’

8/10/1949: Maiden Flight of the Avro Canada C102 ‘Jetliner’

DALLAS — Today in Aviation, The prototype Avro Canada C102 ‘Jetliner’ (CF-EJD) took to the skies on its maiden flight in 1949.

The ‘Jetliner,’ manufactured at Avro Canada’s Malton, Ontario, site, became the world’s second jet-powered passenger airliner after being beaten into the air by the British-built de Havilland Comet in just 13 days.

Listen to this article:

On its second test flight, the prototype’s landing gear failed to extend, and the jet was forced to make a belly landing. Photo: Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

Specific Requirements

The aircraft was designed to meet requirements set by Trans-Canada Air Lines (TCA) in 1945. TCA demanded an airliner capable of carrying 50 passengers at 426 miles per hour (684 km/h), over 1,200 miles (1,900 km). It also needed to operate from existing 4,000-foot (1,200-meter) runways.

TCA signed a contract in 1947 stating they would pay CA$ 350,000 per airframe and that Avro Canada would not sell the type to any other airline for at least three years.

Avro President Fred Smye was unable to uphold these demands. Subsequently, TCA chose to end its association with the aircraft. Work continued on the project thanks to a CA$1.5 million cash injection from Canadian Liberal Party politician C. D. Howe.

The aircraft was powered by four Rolls-Royce Derwent V Turbojet engines. Photo: Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

Project Dropped

In April 1950, the C102 flew from Toronto to New York, becoming the first jet in the world to carry air mail. The flight was over in just 58 minutes. Upon arrival in New York, the aircraft was met with much fanfare and press attention. 

Only one airframe was fully built, and development stopped in December 1961. Avro Canada dropped the project in favor of the manufacturer pursuing military projects.

Only the nose of the aircraft remains and is now on display at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum after being donated by the National Research Council (NRC) in 1967.

Featured Image: American philanthropist Howard Hughes was very interested in the C102. Photo: BiblioArchives/LibraryArchivesCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

European Deputy Editor
Writer, aviation fanatic, and Airways European Deputy Editor, Lee is a plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK-based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

You cannot copy content of this page