John Carver Meadows Frost

John Carver Meadows Frost known as "Jack" (born 1915 in Walton-on-Thames, England, died 9 October 1979 in Auckland, New Zealand) was a British aircraft designer. His primary contributions centred on pioneering supersonic British experimental aircraft and as the chief designer who shepherded Canada's first jet fighter project, the Avro Canada CF-100, to completion. He was also the major force behind the Avro Canada VTOL aircraft projects, particularly as the unheralded creator of the Avro Canada flying saucer projects. Both friends and enemies recognized the genius and visionary aspect of the man yet he had many detractors including those he most respected, his fellow engineers.

Early life

His introduction to aviation had come early in 1930 when his school Latin teacher had taken him up in a Bristol Fighter. John Frost had been born in Walton-on-Thames near London in 1915 and had showed an early interest in the sciences at St. Edward's School, Oxford where he graduated with honours in mathematics, chemistry and physics. Frost did also go to the top of his class in Latin, partially as an acknowledgement of his debt to his Latin teacher.

First Designs

His aeronautical career had begun in the 1930s as an apprentice for Airspeed Limited before he moved on to the Miles, Westland, Blackburn and Slingsby companies. In 1937, Frost had designed the fuselage of the new Westland Whirlwind fighter; the RAF's first cannon-armed fighter. At Blackburn, he had been involved with the design and construction of their pre-war wind tunnel. While working for Slingsby Sailplanes from 1939- 1942, he met his future wife, Joan, who had worked in the Slingsby Design Office as a technical artist. Frost designed the Slingsby Hengist, a troop-carrying glider to be used for the Normandy landings. It was not a success and only a few were built but it included an ingenious innovation: the use of a rubber bag undercarriage. However, Frost's work began to be noticed when he joined the de Havilland Aircraft Company (UK), builders of the famed Mosquito bomber and fighter.

The de Havilland Company was an exciting, innovative concern during the war years and the ideal place for a young aviation engineer to mature. After joining the de Havilland firm in 1942, Frost had become one of the senior members of the design team working on the Hornet fighter, based on the Mosquito, for which he designed a unique flap design. Later, as one of the team of designers on the D.H.100 Vampire, he was responsible for the design of the original flaps, dive brakes and ailerons for this fighter. The Vampire was the second British jet fighter designed in the Second World War, but other than its powerplant and plywood construction patterned on the Mosquito, the diminutive fighter was mainly conventional in design.

The end of the Second World War had seen a great technological leap in aviation as new propulsion systems based on rocket and jet power were introduced. With the successful operational use of the German Messerschmitt Me-163 rocket-powered interceptor and especially the twin-engined jet fighter, the Messerschmitt Me-262, the way forward was shown. Both aircraft were amazingly fast- and pushed the flight envelope into the reaches of the unknown. Their designs also pointed the way forward on swept wings. As early as 1935, Professor Adolf Busemann of the German "Luftfahrtforchungsamt" (aeronautical research establishment) had suggested that wings "swept back" would reduce drag at the "sound barrier." This mysterious barrier had been the reason for many piston-engined fighter aircraft of World War II experiencing problems in high speed dives. High-performance piston-engined fighters such as the Supermarine Spitfire and North American P-51 Mustang had neared what was then known as "compressibility" or the point at which the compression of the surrounding air would make the aircraft shake. Their pilots found it nearly impossible to control the plane; in many instances, not only had controls "frozen" but the aircraft had fall apart due to the violent buffeting at the speed of sound.

German research on swept wings influenced postwar fighter designs but Great Britain emerged from World War II with a decided head start in jet technology, the only Allied power to have had a jet fighter operational in squadron strength before the war's end - the straight-winged Gloster Meteor. Another British design that saw service after the war was the de Havilland Vampire which had great potential for development. From that basic design came the swept-winged de Havilland Venom, DH.110 (a successor to the Vampire) and de Havilland (later Hawker Siddeley) Sea Vixen as well as the experimental D.H.108 Swallow.

De Havilland DH.108 Swallow

Frost had then become heavily involved in one of the most important new developments at the time- swept wings and a tailless configuration on a jet fighter. Designer and company founder, Sir Geoffrey de Havilland, had already begun the D.H.106 Comet development process and was considering that radical configuration for the world's first jet airliner. As Project Engineer on the D.H.108, with only a team of eight-10 draughtsmen and engineers, Frost created a remarkable aircraft by marrying the front fuselage of the Vampire to a swept wing and short stubby vertical tail to make the first British swept wing jet, soon to be unofficially known as the "Swallow." The elegant and sleek experimental D.H.108 was also to serve as a test "mule" to investigate stability and control problems for the new Comet airliner.

The D.H.108 first flew on 15 May 1946, a mere eight months after Frost had a go-ahead on the project. Company test pilot and son of the builder, Geoffrey de Havilland Jr., flew the first of three aircraft and found it extremely fast - fast enough to try for a world speed record. On 12 April 1948, a D.H.108 did set a world's speed record at 973.65 km/h (605 mph) and later on became the first jet aircraft to exceed the speed of sound. The first D.H.108, "TG-283", was alleged to have suddenly jumped from Mach .98 to Mach 1.05 while being test-flown by John Derry on 9 September 1948. Derry's passage through the sound barrier, which he stated occurred during an uncontrolled dive, remains unofficial since a recording camera was inoperative at the time. The seminal event in its short lifespan had already occurred, however. On 27 September 1946, while practising for an upcoming run at a new speed record, Geoffrey de Havilland Jr. died when his D.H.108 broke up in the air at or near the speed of sound.

The sound barrier was officially broken on 14 October 1947, when U.S. Air Force Captain Charles E. Yeager, flying in a rocket-powered Bell XS-1 NACA research plane over Muroc Dry Lake, California became the first man to officially pass through the sound barrier when he hit a speed of 1,100 km/h (700 mph) or Mach 1.06. The XS-1 was not swept-winged, it was also streamlined "bullet" that had been patterned after the shape of the Browning .50-caliber machine gun bullet that was known to be stable in supersonic flight [ Yeager et al 1997, p. 14.] . The aircraft also featured an all-moving tailplane that allowed it to pass through the sound barrier safely.

Swept wing designs, however, provided increased structural integrity and allowed even the marginally powered postwar jets to approach the speed of sound. Production jet fighters such as the North American F-86 Sabre pushed toward the sound barrier on swept-back wings. The Sabre and other contemporary fighters such as the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 could crash through into supersonic speeds in a dive. After the loss of all of the ill-fated de Havilland D.H.108's and three test pilots and then the DH.110 prototype and its famed test pilot, John Derry, at the Farnborough Airshow in 1952 (disintegrating in flight and killing its pilot and 28 spectators), no major British aviation manufacturer continued supersonic development in the 1950s. Although Great Britain had pioneered much of the earlier efforts in supersonic flight, official interest in supersonic aircraft developments had waned. The promising Miles M.52 project based on a straight-winged bullet-shaped profile was cancelled in February 1946. All research data on this program which included the innovative "all-moving tailplane" for positive control at supersonic speeds was turned over to the United States. In Canada, a more conservative approach had been employed in creating this country's first jet fighter.

Canada

John Frost was persuaded to move to Canada shortly after the completion of the design of the Swallow in 1947. To him, this was an ideal opportunity- there was a promising project to work on and a chance to get away from the depressing conditions of postwar Britain. At the time, his wife, Joan, was living in the north of England while Frost worked at Hatfield, near London. Accommodations for many young couples were similarly strained. During his tenure at de Havilland, Frost began to put forward a number of unique ideas in regards to a tip jet-driven rotor helicopter - a concept also known as a gyrodyne. He continued his research privately and with a group of friends, including fellow engineer, T. Desmond Earl, built a scale model to test his theories. Shortly after his departure to Canada, Earl joined Frost in his new venture, and remained his "right-hand man" for the rest of the Canadian period.

XC-100 Jet Fighter

On 14 June 1947, the Avro design team met their new Project Designer. Frost had arrived at Malton with his wife at an extremely precarious point in the design of the new XC-100. After eighteen months of development, the new jet fighter had entered the mock-up stage. Years later, Frost admitted that he was surprised by the crude wooden mock-up that looked so different from the beautiful Swallow. He made a decision to alter the aircraft design which immediately brought him into conflict with Chief Aerodynamacist, Jim Chamberlin.

Basically "cleaning up" the fuselage, Frost set out to change the design subtly. Even though he wanted to use a swept-wing configuration (the swept-wing CF-103 was proposed by Frost in December 1950 as a transonic follow-up to the CF-100), the prototype (by now called the CF-100) proceeded to prototype stage in the same basic configuration of straight-winged, twin-engined form. Although the CF-100 prototype was now a much more sleek shape, Frost still considered the design awkward. "It was a clumsy thing. All brute force," he remarked ("The Daily News", 1979). The CF-103 proceeded to mock-up stage but was cancelled after Chief Development Test Pilot S/L Janusz Zurakowski dived the CF-100 Mk. 4 prototype to supersonic speeds.

While Frost was in England to confer with members of the Hawker Siddeley Group, Chamberlin made another alteration to the design after wind tunnel tests had shown the centre of pressure was too far forward. With approval from the Chief Engineer, Edgar Atkin, Chamberlin moved the engines back but had to alter the wing spar to accommodate the engines. A nearly disastrous decision had been made as the spar was now weakened and led to a flexible structure where the stress was heavy. In other words, the aircraft had a "soft" centre section in the wing spar.

With Atkin in Chamberlin's camp, Frost felt that his decisions were being challenged and that might have led to potentially dangerous situations with the CF-100. The first fight of the CF-100 took place on 19 January 1950 with Bill Waterton, the Chief Test Pilot at Gloster's on loan to Avro Canada, at the controls.Before Waterton returned to England, he flew with Frost in the second seat. To the test pilot, this was a revelation, Frost was"...very much the keen English public schoolboy type. Here was another delightful contrast to England, where I was never able to find a designer with spare time enough to fly in his own creation." (Waterton, 1955) Frost was always a nervous flier right from his first flight but considered it important to get a feel for the aircraft and its systems. He even tested the CF-100's ejection seat by becoming a test subject himself. The troubles with the CF-100, however, were to weigh on Frost. The reason for Frost's flight with the test pilot on the eighth flight on 13 March 1950 was to see for himself what the extent of the flexing was like on the wing.

Early flights revealed the great potential of the aircraft but also showed the flaw in the spar was dangerous. During one flight at the Canadian International Air Show at the Canadian National Exhibition (C.N.E) in Toronto in September 1950, Waterton heard a "violent crack: a sharp thunderclap of sound clearly audible above the engine and wind noise." (Waterton, 1955) Eventually the spar was corrected by a "fix" designed by Waclaw Czerwinski, the group leader in the A.V. Roe Canada stress office.

Generally considered a gentleman and a negotiator rather than a fierce competitor in the office politics game, Frost now felt pressure from his superiors at Avro Canada. As fellow engineer, John Conway observed, "John was a very modest man and I think very talented and certainly very cordial." (Conway, 1984) With the crash of the second CF-100 prototype and the release of production CF-100 Mk. 2s and 3s to the RCAF without the final modifications to the spar, the CF-100 was not really ready for use- two years after its maiden flight.

Reacting to the criticism leveled at A.V. Roe Canada by the Canadian government and indirectly by the RCAF, Sir Roy Dobson made critical changes in the management and engineering teams in 1952. As Ken Caroline, one of the engineers from Avro (U.K) observed: "It was not good for the firm to have all those conflicting personalities around and the management should have sorted them out, although I think they were probably more responsible for what happened in the end." (Caroline, 1992)

After reviewing reports from Stuart Dobie, a trusted Dobson man, and Fred Smye, the General Manager, Aircraft Division, Dobson reassigned Atkin to the position of Technical Director or advisor (more of a lateral move but nonetheless he was removed from the day-to-day operations). Later in August, 1952, Atkin left to take a position at Grumman Aviation in the U.S. Frost was also removed as the Project Designer of the CF-100 in early 1952 when James C. Floyd took over responsibility for the main aviation programs- the C102 Avro Jetliner, The CF-100 fighter and the new CF-105 as Chief Engineer. For Frost, the decision was almost a reprieve as he was allowed to set up a special project group looking at advanced aircraft designs. He had already begun work on a new project that would become his passion in the years to come.

trange sights in the sky

Frost had given "considerable thought to the many reports, both old and new, of unidentified flying objects in the sky, (U.F.O.s) more commonly called flying saucers... He was fascinated by reports of UFO sightings and made an effort to investigate ones that were reported. "What he was looking for was something that couldn't be explained by optical illusion, shadows on clouds, an over-active imagination, a con artist or whatever."(Wilkinson, 1991)

"Frost had an instinctive feeling that perhaps someone somewhere had developed what came to be known as a flying saucer. Out of 200 or more sightings he investigated he found only two that could not be explained away by any of the above reasons. Both were in Europe - in the area of Germany. He concluded, rightly or wrongly, that there was a good chance the Germans with the advanced aeronautical technology they displayed during the war - rockets, buzz-bombs, etc.- which was far ahead of the British and the Americans; that perhaps the Germans had built and were experimenting with a saucer-like vehicle." (Williams, 1976)

At The Pentagon, reports of UFOs had led to the first official U.S. study launched on 22 January 1948. Project Saucer was the nickname given by the American public but its real name (Project Sign) was kept secret.

The most famous incident which introduced the term flying saucers had already taken place. When Kenneth Arnold reported his 24 June 1947 daylight sighting of nine circular-shaped objects, later characterized as "flying saucers," near Mount Rainier in the U.S.A.

The first case that Project Sign investigated involved a fatality. United States Air Force (USAF) Captain Thomas Mantell was leading a flight of three F-51 Mustang fighters on a routine flight over Godman Field in Kentucky on 7 January 1948 when a "silver teardrop" was witnessed by many people on the ground. During the pursuit, Mantell had crashed apparently due of a lack of oxygen. Project Sign had no idea at the time what this UFO was, but offered the suggestion that the pilot had been chasing the planet Venus which often was the cause of reports. This explanation backfired, and "led to simmering public discontent, leading to the birth of the belief that there is a government cover-up to hide the truth from the general public." (1948 Project Saucer) It is now known from declassified files that the UFO which Mantell had chased was a secret Naval project using a "Skyhook" balloon. Unfortunately, the launch was considered so secret not even the members of Project Sign were aware of its existence.

Another troubling case followed, known as the Chiles-Whitted incident of 24 July 1948 when an Eastern Airlines passenger DC-3 was in near collision with a rocket-like object as it flew across the skies above Montgomery, Alabama. It has been said by a former head of Project Blue Book (Edward Ruppelt, Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, 1956, page 41) that the sighting had a profound influence on Project Sign personnel, to the extent that this one incident can be argued to be the single most important sighting in the Air Force's records, according to the influence it had on Air Force thinking.

A top secret "estimate of situation" report was sent on 8th August, by concerned Project Sign officials to General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, head of the U.S. Air Force. Concerns about UFOs continued, and from 1947 to 1969, the Air Force investigated Unidentified Flying Objects under the auspices of Project Blue Book.

The project was terminated because the US Air Force could no longer justify the project for national security reasons or scientific study. A USAF "Fact Sheet" states that since 1974, "after closing Project Blue Book, the US Air Force has not publicly acknowledged any further interest in U.F.O. sightings." (USAF Fact Sheet 95-03) The USAF information pack refers inquirers to various non-governmental UFO research organizations which are closely monitored, and, at times, directed by various U.S. intelligence and military agencies.

Yet the attention directed to the "UFO flap" seemed to captivate the public as countless flying saucer films inundated theatres worldwide. This UFO frenzy has been widely interpreted as a reaction to cold war anxiety and fears from invaders from afar.

Avro's Flying Saucers

Far less has been published about the origins of the Avro's secret "flying saucer" projects. Recently, while doing research at Canada's National Archives, historian Larry Koerner "came across a file containing a document which provided an account of a meeting that may shed some further light on the development of the Avrocar. The meeting, which took place in West Germany during 1953 at a Canadian Government installation, was attended by a German aviation engineer along with officers of the R.C.A.F., R.A.F., British Intelligence services and John Frost an Avro Canada executive. The purpose of the meeting was to give Mr. Frost, who was already working on the design of a "ground cushion" vehicle, the opportunity to "cross-examine" the German engineer. This man claimed to have been working on a similar type of aircraft for the German government between 1944 and 1945 at a site near Prague in what is now the Czech Republic. Moreover, the German asserted that not only had such a "saucer-like" vehicle been built but it had also been flight-tested. However, he also said that at the end of the war that both the plans, and the aircraft itself, had been destroyed. Unfortunately the file in question provided no further indication as to how useful this information was to either Avro Canada or to the British and Canadian governments." (Koerner, 1997)

The military and public fascination with the UFO phenomenon may have indirectly contributed to Frost's initial work. A 1947 memorandum from the USAF Air Material Command, "Collection Memorandum 7" was sent to air attaches in overseas embassies, including those in Canada, requesting information on "Flying Saucer EEI."

pecial Projects Group

Frost had begun to investigate some of the ideas that he had hypothesized would lead to a dramatic breakthrough in aviation design. The first known step towards this occurred in late 1951 when Frost walked up to one of the shop superintendents, Bob Johnson, who was involved with the CF-100 production, and gave him a sketch to make a small metal disk of about 9 cm. in diameter by 5 cm. thick with a series of small scoops all around its circumference edge. A shaft with ball bearings was mounted in its centre. He also asked for an air pressure gauge and a control valve to control the pressure and volume of air passing over the disk.

"The shop superintendent queried John as to where this fitted on the CF-100 and was told never mind, just book its manufacture to something on the CF-100." (Wilkinson, 1991) At this point, even though the workers went ahead and manufactured the part, more than one of them was puzzled by the interest shown by Frost in what they considered a toy or plaything. Johnson was openly wondering if the stress of the CF-100 problems was getting to Frost.

"John Frost was seen later with his clip-board, taking notes while spinning the disk at varying speeds by the use of an air hose pointed at different angles at the small scoops on its circumference. With the disk shaft clamped in a vice, he used a tachometer to record the disk rpm. It was soon after this, that Frost presented his ideas to Avro management at Malton..." (Wilkinson, 1991) Des Earl, one of the aerodynamicists at Avro was intrigued by the way Frost was able to "turn this thing around with the gyroscope running and it would float around the room in a most fascinating way." (Earl, 1992)

As a result, Frost made a proposal that Avro start an experimental project on its own. "It was not a case of Frost indulging in a personal whim. The idea of a saucer-like flying machine had revolutionary implications then and still does. A conventional aircraft is very inefficient, aerodynamically. Like a bumble bee, there's no way it should fly. It only does so because of the wing which gives it lift and the engine's power to overcome the drag of the fuselage, the load, the tailplane, the stabilizers, fins and the engines." (Williams, 1976)

Shortly after its formation, the Special Projects Group started researching vertical take-off and landing capability (VTOL) with emphasis on a paper study Frost had labelled the "pancake" engine, a jet turbine that had its main components arranged in a circular design. From the outset, the Special Projects Group had a cloak-and-dagger feel to it. Housed in a Second World War-era structure, across from the company headquarters, the group had all the accoutrements of a top-secret operation, including security guards, locked doors and special pass cards. Within the confines of this technical fortress, Frost surrounded himself with a collection of like-minded dreamers and maverick engineers. There he encouraged close cooperation and, while ostensibly the boss, he was collegial and very much one of the boys.

Project Y

Research undertaken by Frost on the "Coanda Effect" confirmed that the concept of ground cushion could be the basis for a vehicle he had envisioned that could have both have vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities and could still operate as a high-performance aircraft. As Frost developed further studies, his ideas on revolutionary vertical takeoff systems led to the patent of "Aircraft Propulsion and Control" (U.S. Patent Serial No.3124323, Filed 7 March 1963). The patent was one of series of US, Canadian and British patents often described as the "Frost patents."

In 1952, the Avro Special Projects team began research and development work on a series of VTOL designs, known initially as "Project Y." The first of these proposed aircraft was a "spade-shaped" fighter intended to be powered by Frost’s revolutionary pancake engine. Named Project Y, this craft was designed to sit on its tail, and promised, in theory, at least, VTOL capabilities, climb rates to the tune of 100,000 feet per minute and speeds up to 1,500 mph. Project Y, funded by the company and the Canadian government, proceeded to the mock-up stage. Other designers at Avro Canada were doubtful of the revolutionary project's chance of success and there was pressure from the Canadian government through C.D. Howe's office to concentrate on only the successful CF-100 and Orenda programs. By 1953, with the company having little more than a wooden mock-up, paper drawings and promises to show for a $4-million (Cdn) outlay, a more critical eye was cast on the project. Not surprisingly, the plug got pulled when government funding from the Defence Research Board dried up.

The American Connection

Frost's later ideas revolved around a disk or saucer shape - a "flying saucer" and resulted in exceptional number of patents in Great Britain, the United States and Canada on the unique concepts of propulsion, control and stabilization systems that were incorporated.

Frost continued to lobby for the project now called the "Y-2" and achieved a remarkable breakthrough by demonstrating the project to the United States Air Force. With funding from the Americans, Frost was able to proceed with his research. From 1955 to 1959, the design team concentrated on the new VTOL supersonic studies known as Weapon Systems 606A which Avro Canada continued to support through an associated private venture program, the PV-704 which resulted in the construction of a six-engined test rig in 1957.

A test model, powered by six Armstrong-Siddeley Viper jet engines driving a central rotor, was built and housed inside a small, brick testing rig. Unfortunately, testing was anything but smooth. In fact, it was downright scary. The supersonic test model, PV-704 (PV stood for private venture), suffered from hazardous oil leaks, resulting in three fires. It eventually got to the point that staff were afraid of the machine, even when safely ensconced in a booth constructed of bullet-proof glass and quarter-inch-thick steel. A final, disastrous and nearly lethal engine test in 1956 which involved a Viper jet engine "running wild" convinced Frost that a less dangerous test vehicle was necessary.

Redesigning the supersonic platform to a simpler flying model led to the only design that materialized from the Avro Special Project Group, a "proof-of-concept" vehicle, the VZ-9-AV "Avrocar" as it came to be known.

The Avro Canada VZ-9-AV "Avrocar" designed by company Chief Designer John Frost was a true flying saucer that was produced for the U.S.A.F. and U.S. Army in the period 1958-1959. The Avrocar was built as a 6.2 m diameter research vehicle with a pilot and observer in separate cockpits facing forward. It used three Continental J-69s turbojets, turning a central impeller ("turbo rotor") to keep it airborne with downward thrust, with a vane/shutter system to propel the craft in any direction by venting thrust in the direction the pilot desired. The Avrocar used tricycle wheels and later, landing pads for an undercarriage.

The End of the Avro Company

Two Avrocar prototypes were constructed and completed a series of wind tunnel tests at NASA Ames in California and a 75-hour flying program at the Malton home of Avro Canada. The results of the testing revealed a stability problem and degraded performance due to turbo-rotor tolerances. Before modifications could be achieved, funding ran out with the final flight test program completed in March 1961. With the problems that the contractor was facing in the wake of the cancellation of its premier fighter program, the CF-105 Avro Arrow by the Canadian government, Avro was unable to continue the project. The Avrocar had been the last aviation program of Avro Canada. The parent company. A. V. Roe Canada which had been in throes of disintegration for years, ceased to exist on 30 April 1962.

Both Avrocars are still intact, and survive in U.S. museums. The U.S. Army Transportation Museum at Fort Eustis, Virginia received the second Avrocar, the "flying" prototype, 59-4975 from the U.S. Army Aviation Materials Laboratories at Fort Eustis, Virginia in 1979. The first Avrocar, S/N #58-7055, the unmanned test rig and wind tunnel test vehicle marked as AV-7055 was never flown. It was shipped to the NASA Ames Research Center wind tunnel at Moffett Field, California in 1960. After wind tunnel testing, it remained for years in storage at the NASA facility before being donated to the National Air and Space Museum in 1966. Today AV-7055 is stored in Building 22 of the NASM Paul E. Garber storage and restoration Facility, in Silver Hills, Maryland.

As the result of his work in vertical takeoff systems, John Frost was invited to become a fellow of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute after he presented the W. Rupert Turnbull seventh lecture on 25 May 1961. The citation noted that Frost had discovered and patented the air cushion effect that had been evident in his work on flying saucers and that U.S. Patent #3124323 "Aircraft Propulsion and Control" was one of a series of patents to became known as the "Frost patents."

New Zealand

With the end of the Avrocar project, he left A. V. Roe Canada early in 1962. Like many of the former employees of A.V. Roe Canada, John Frost began a new career when he left the company. He left Canada for New Zealand in 1964 where he again became part of the aviation industry; first joining the airworthiness section of the Civil Aviation Authority and headed the certification of the Waitomo PL-11 Airtruck, the first commercial aircraft developed in New Zealand. During this period, Frost also designed the Murray Air, an agricultural biplane.

Later in 1965, Frost became a technical services engineer for Air New Zealand, serving in that position for 13 years until his retirement in April 1978. His time at Air New Zealand was very fulfilling. He was responsible for all technical activities at the airline's engineering headquarters at Mangere, New Zealand. All "Air New Zealand aircraft are showcases for the Frost ingenuity." (Daily News New Zealand, April 1978). The unique swiveling bassinets attached to the airliner's hat racks are his design along with locks that hold down pallets in the cargo hold, air-conditioning systems for the cargo bay, rest seats for air crew, toilet tap washers and gallery plugs. His most impressive design was a gigantic hydraulically operated tail dock system.

After retirement, his fertile imagination continued to explore many areas. He became involved in an aviation project - designing and constructing, with the assistance of university students at Auckland, a human-powered aircraft. He would not see the EMME 1 fly. Frost died from a heart attack in Auckland, New Zealand on 9 October 1979 at the age of 63; but his last creation did fly, albeit towed behind a car, and is now under restoration for display at the the Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, New Zealand.

Avro Canada's secret projects showed the amazing technological virtuosity and visionary promise of a remarkable team of designers lead by Frost. Unlike many of these projects, the Avrocar was actually built and came so close to success. Canada's "flying saucer" is today a historical footnote and only a memory to those who had known it; yet it was a fascinating glimpse of the future.

References

Notes

Bibliography

* "Avrocar: Saucer Secrets from the Past." Winnipeg: MidCanada Entertainment, 2002.
* Campagna, Palmiro. "The Avrocar: Canada's Flying Saucer." located on website of the "Arrow Recovery Canada," incorrectly identified as the "Avro Car (sic),"
* Campagna, Palmiro."The UFO Files: The Canadian Connection Exposed." Toronto: Stoddart Publishing, 1998. ISBN 0-7737-5973-5.
*Rose, Bill and Buttler, Tony. "Flying Saucer Aircraft (Secret Projects)". Leicester, UK: Midland Publishing, 2006. ISBN 1-85780-233-0.
* Whitcomb, Randall. "Avro Aircraft & Cold War Aviation." St. Catharine's, Ontario: Vanwell Publishing Ltd., 2002. ISBN 1-55125-082-9.
* Yeager, Chuck, Cardenas, Bob, Hoover, Bob, Russell, Jack and Young, James. "The Quest for Mach One: A First-Person Account of Breaking the Sound Barrier". New York: Penguin Studio, 1997. ISBN 0-670-87460-4.
* Zuk, Bill. "Avrocar: Canada's Flying Saucer..." Erin, Ontario: Boston Mills Press, 2001. ISBN 1-55046-359-4.
* Zuk, William. "John Frost: Engineer." .


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