The Canuck was affectionately known in the RCAF as the "Clunk" because of the noise the front landing gear made as it retracted into its well after takeoff. Its less-attractive nickname was the "Lead Sled", a reference to its heavy controls and general lack of maneuverability, a nickname it shared with a number of other 1950s aircraft. Others included CF-Zero, the Zilch, the Beast, all references to an aircraft many pilots considered less glamourous than RCAF day fighters like the Canadair Sabre.
Avro CF-100 Mk.4A Canuck
The aircraft operated under the US/Canadian North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) to protect North American airspace from Soviet intruders such as nuclear-armed bombers. Additionally, as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), four Canuck squadrons were based in Europe with 1 Air Division from 1956–1962, and were for some time the only NATO fighters capable of operating in zero visibility and poor weather conditions. During his Avro Canada years, the Chief Development Pilot, S/L Żurakowski, continued to fly as an aerobatic display pilot, with spectacular results, especially at the 1955 Farnborough Airshow where he displayed the CF-100 in a "falling-leaf." He was acclaimed again as the "Great Żura" by many aviation and industry observers who could not believe a large, all-weather fighter could be put through its paces so spectacularly. His performance led to Belgium purchasing the CF-100.
The CF-100's planned successor, the Avro CF-105 Arrow along with the sophisticated Orenda Iroquois engine, both Canadian-designed, were cancelled in 1959 in a controversial decision by the Canadian government. There is a four-hour miniseries produced for CBC Television in 1996 called "The Arrow", starring Dan Aykroyd as Crawford Gordon, experienced wartime production leader during World War II and president of A. V. Roe Canada during its attempt to produce the Avro Arrow supersonic jet interceptor. The mini-series is noted as the highest viewership ever for a CBC program.