1953 the Toronto Star reported on the development by Avro Canada of a
disc-shaped VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) aircraft. In February
it was officially announced that a mock-up of the craft, designed by
British engineer John Frost and developed by the Malton, Ontario plant,
had been made - and indeed, photographs exist of technicians smiling
from its twin cockpits.
The project of which the Avro-car was a part was originally known as
Project Y, funded by Canada, but was taken over by the U.S. Air Force
in late 1953 - early 1954, as their Project 606, with an interest by
the US Army.
It was hoped that the vehicle, designated VZ-9V, would ascend
vertically and reach flight speeds of 1,500 mph (2,400 km/hr). The
President of Avro Canada wrote in Aero News that the prototype being
built was so revolutionary that it would make other designs obsolete.
The craft was officially named the Avro-Car.
By 1960 about 10 million dollars had been spent on the project. During
tests, the aircraft could not rise more than four or five feet above
the ground without becoming very unstable. Attempts were made to design
mechanisms to increase its stability without success.
It was hoped that the project would consolidate the future of the A.V.
Roe company, but it was discontinued in 1961, and A.V. Roe went out of
business. The prototype was placed in a military museum at Fort Eustis,
Virginia. One view was that the failed project was simply
window-dressing to cover tests of a captured alien flying disc.
was (depending on the source of the information) 18 or 25 feet in
diameter, and weighed 3600 lb. It was powered by three centrally
mounted gas turbine engines driving a 5 feet diam. central fan used for
vertical takeoff. Once in the air the turbo-jet exhaust would be
shifted to the rear giving the vehicle forward thrust to allow the
aerodynamic body to generate lift.