The set-up at the Apollo 11 celebration at the CASM. The museum's full-scale CF-105 Arrow mock-up looms majestically to the side. (Andrew Yee)
July 20, 2009 was a red letter day at the Canadian Air and Space Museum at Toronto’s Downsview airport. Hundreds of history-minded fans gathered at the museum to reminisce about that unforgettable day 40 years ago when Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped from their lunar excursion module onto the moon’s surface — the first “men on the moon”.
Astronauts Bondar and Tryggvason, who did so much to make Toronto's Apollo 11 event such a success. (Andrew Yee)
The crowd at the CASM included Canadian astronauts Roberta Bondar (STS-42 1992) and Bjarni Tryggvason (STS-85 1997). Veterans of Avro Canada who attended included the great James C. Floyd, chief design engineer of the Avro Canada Jetliner and CF-105 Arrow.
The renowned James C. "Jim" Floyd with Roberta Bondar. His aviation career began in the pre-war and wartime UK doing engineering on the Anson, Lancaster, etc. Then he emigrated to Canada, where he led the design teams on the Avro Canada C.102 Jetliner and CF-105 Arrow. When the Arrow was canceled, he returned to the UK to a new challenge as a pioneer designer on what would evolve into the Concord. At age 95 Jim continues to be enthusiastic about aerospace, especially regarding Canada's future role. (Larry Milberry)
From aboard the International Space Station, Canadian astronaut Bob Thirsk sent his own message via video downlink; and former Avro Arrow team member John Hodge, later a top NASA mission controller, spoke to us live via Skype connection. Representatives of the aerospace community reflected on Canada’s illustrious aviation and space heritage, then mused about what the future might hold. Apogee Books publisher, Robert Godwin, em-cee’d the whole thing.
The overall scene at the CASM -- July 20, 2009. (Larry Milberry)
Along with spaceflight historian Chris Gainor and Ross Maynard (son of Owen Maynard, an Avroite who excelled at NASA after cancellation of the Arrow), Bondar, Tryggvason and Floyd fielded questions from many enthusiastic fans. Their podium was flanked on one side by the CASM’s magnificent Avro Arrow mock-up, on the other by the airworthy replica of the Silver Dart, which Tryggvason had flown at Baddeck in February.
The Silver Dart replica, the same machine that Bjarni Tryggvason flew at Baddeck on February 22, 2009. Created by the AEA2005 association under Doug Jermyn, this world-class replica has been touring Canada. Soon it will settle in at the CASM for a stay of about two years, then will find a permanent home in the Alexander Graham Bell Museum at Baddeck. (Larry Milberry)
A few hours after everyone had dispersed from Downsview, came some nifty “icing on the Apollo 11 cake”. At 2207 hours the ISS, with the Shuttle Endeavor docked to it, appeared high over Toronto in one of the best such fly-overs ever enjoyed in these parts. Among the crowd of 13 astronauts aboard the ISS were Canadians Bob Thirsk (TMA-15 and on a 6-month ISS mission) and ISS visitor Julie Payette (STS-127). Thanks to the CASM, July 20, 2009 certainly goes down as one of the top dates on Canada’s Centennial of Flight calendar.