August 11, 2017 4:56 pm
Updated: August 11, 2017 8:42 pm

Advanced sonar used in hunt for Avro Arrow models at bottom of Lake Ontario

Crew uses underwater sonar to try and locate Avro Arrow models at the bottom of Lake Ontario.

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Margaret Long made the drive from Paris, Ont., to check out the exploration on the shores of Lake Ontario. Her grandfather worked on the Avro Arrow program.

He died before she could meet him, but in her possession are documents marked “secret” that he had saved when the program was cancelled.

“Anything archeological, or anything historic or ancient even, has a sense of mystery about it and especially when everything was destroyed — there’s very little we know.”

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The models are the last remains of the jet fighter program — planes and documents were destroyed when the program was cancelled by then-prime minister John Diefenbaker in 1959.

John Burzynski of OEX Recovery Group Inc., heads up the team looking for the Arrow models.

“What they were attempting to achieve with those models — they were trying to finalize the design of the wing frame to make sure that it would stay stable when eventually, they built the actual jet that flew.”

READ MORE: Hunt for lost Avro Arrow models in Lake Ontario gets underway

Burzynski is optimistic they’ll be successful, thanks in large part to something called Thunderfish Alpha.

It’s the product of Kraken Sonar, a company out of Newfoundland.

David Shea, the vice-president of engineering at Kraken says the unit will map 64 square kilometres of the lake bed.

“The technology we’re using, synthetic aperture sonar, is really the latest and greatest — it’s next generation sonar technology. The range and resolution we get out of our system by far exceeds anything previously used,” Shea said.

Even though the hunt for the Avro Arrow is still in its early stages, Burzynski says they’ve already found about 40 items of interest that bear further investigation.

Some of that work has begun with a ROV (remotely operated vehicle) to take video of the sites.

“We released a picture of a Velvet Glove missile, which was part of the Avro program at the time. Independently, they were testing air-to-air missiles.”

The OEX Recovery Group has pledged over $600,000 to the Canadian Aviation Space Museum and the National Air Force Museum in Trenton to cover the costs of exhibiting any artifacts the team discovers and recovers.

READ MORE: Mini-submarine launched in Lake Ontario to uncover the Avro Arrow

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