In the early 1960’s as a school boy he spent the summer holidays with family in Kent England close to the RAF Manston air base. In the 1960’s Manston was a major diversionary airfield for aircraft in trouble and was also the Royal Air Force fire training school. As an avid aviation enthusiast he spent every day with friends around the perimeter fence watching the aircraft. It was on one of those days that he saw something that had stuck in his mind ever since. Appearing from over the sea on a low level approach with undercarriage down appeared a white, high delta wing aircraft with a black nose and no national markings or registration. He described the aircraft in detail including the large fin, long extended nose undercarriage leg, small pilots canopy, rectangular section air intakes etc. He had seen Avro Arrow aircraft in magazines and news papers and knew exactly what he was looking at. He is adamant that what he saw was an Arrow. The aircraft touched down and taxied out of site before shutting down. He described the engine sound as highly unusual. A very powerful sounding turbojet nothing like he had heard before or since. Could this Arrow have been fitted with the Orenda Iroquois engines? The Orenda Iroquois engine was a highly advanced and incredibly powerful power plant specifically designed for the Arrow. These engines were also ordered destroyed when the project was cancelled. Of the five arrows that had left the production line and the ones that had flown had been fitted with the Pratt and Whitney J-75 engine. No Arrow was ever believed to have flown under the power of the Orenda Iroquois. Had Avro Canada employees managed to get an Arrow fitted with the Iroquois engines out of the plant and away to safety in England? I believe so! Indeed, it is now known that at least one Orenda Iroquois turned up at Bristol Siddeley Aero engines in England! The plot thickens...... The next step of my research was to try and find more information about an Avro Arrow landing at RAF Manston.I could find no documentation or any reference in books or on the internet. Chances are any official documents will be covered by the 50 year rule and will not made public for the next few years when all of this can either be proved or not. The only option left was to talk to the ‘old boy network’ and do a bit of digging to see what I could find. It wasn’t long before I hit the jackpot and found an ex RAF fitter now retired and involved in the museum scene who had heard a rumour about an Arrow being at Manston. He needed no prompting and told me the story that backed everything up perfectly. A friend of his who used to be based at manston had told of an Arrow landing there in secret. He stressed to me that it was ‘hearsay’ but within the 1960’s RAF it was fairly common knowledge and in his words an ‘Air Force myth’ but he had no photographs or documents to back it up and did not know the exact date. When I asked what he thought the Arrow was doing at Manston what he said made perfect sense but also saddened me. ‘Well they burnt it didn’t they?’ It was the perfect place to destroy it. The base with a huge long runway where it was capable of landing, and behind a high perimeter fences the fire training school burnt aircraft on a regular basis. Nobody would have batted an eye lid. My eye witness who saw the Arrow land also described watching aircraft such as Vickers Viking’s being scrapped there and large aircraft such as a Vulcan and Hastings being used for the fire training school. It makes sense that the Avro Arrow was spirited away to the UK as at this particular time in the early 1960’s the UK was at the forefront on the Aviation world. The English Electric Lightning was in service and TSR2 was well into production. I personally think the aircraft would have been test flown, evaluated, studied and milked for all her secrets and when there was nothing left to learn from the aircraft she was quietly destroy to prevent any political embarrassment and awkward questions. It makes sense that she was burnt out then either broken up into unrecognisable lumps leaving the base in scrap skips or bulldozed into a huge hole in the ground and buried. If so sections of the missing Arrow could still be there. The Arrow was seen to land at Manston but no one ever saw one leave.....

johnbr, Nov 24, 2012
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    Nov 24, 2012
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