Archives: Introduction to the Winnett Boyd Papers

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The Winnett Boyd papers consist of correspondence, drawings, research notes and patent applications of Winnett Boyd, aero engine designer and nuclear power engineer. A complete finding aid to the Boyd Papers is available (99-008). A chronology of Boyd's career and accomplishments is given below.

  • 1943  Boyd joined the Canadian navy but the National Research Council offered him a place on a research project in the U.K. studying jet engine design
  • 1944  the research on jet engines was removed from the NRC to a crown company Turbo Research Limited located in Leaside, Ontario. Boyd was hired to design an engine. He handled the thermodynamics while working with an aerodynamist. The first decision was whether to go with a centrifugal or axial flow engine. His team chose axial flow and worked on an engine known as TR3 (Turbo Research 3). Part of the team continued working on the TR3 while Boyd went on to work on the TR4 which was ultimately named the CHINOOK. This engine was the first turbo-jet engine designed and built in Canada
  • 1946  the government sold Victory Aircraft who had been building AVRO Lancaster bombers to A.V. Roe and Company owned by Hawker-Siddley U.K. Turbo Research was also sold to A.V. Roe and Boyd started designing a powerful engine, the TR5 later known as the ORENDA. Boyd did the functional and mechanical design and Harry Keast did the aerodynamics
  • 1948  CHINOOK was ready to run. It achieved 2,600 lbs. of thrust at 10,100 rpm.
  • 1949  ORENDA successfully ran with 6,700 lbs. thrust; test run was better and longer than any test engine ever. It was the most powerful jet engine in the world from 1949-1952
  • 1950  ORENDA flown in a Lancaster test bed in the Mojave desert; was displayed at the Canadian National Exhibition; also flew in an F-86 fighter and went on to power the Canadair Sabre and was sold around the world. The ORENDA was an axial flow jet engine with 10 compressor stages and a compression ration of 5.8.1. There were 6 combustion chambers, a single-stage turbine and an exhaust cone in the proto-type though future developments led to a 2-stage turbine and the thrust was increased to 7,500 lbs. The ORENDA weighed 2500 pounds, was 10 feet long and 42" in diameter. The conceptual work started in 1946 and was delivered to the test bed on February 8, 1949. Parallel development of the C-102 Avro Jetliner passenger jet was proceeding at Avro.  The proto-type flew first in August, 1949, powered by 4 Rolls-Royce Derwent centrifugal flow turbo-jet engines. At the height of the Cold War, Avro was, however, concentrating efforts on its fighter plane, the CF-100, and the Jetliner was scrapped in 1952 when the only potential buyer, Howard Hughes, failed to purchase the Jetliner.  The CF-100 Canuck was one of the most successful planes ever built. It was initially powered by Rolls-Royce AVON engines, but after the MK 1, all others were powered by ORENDAS. The CF-100 first flew in 1950 and was in continuous service until 1983
  • 1951  AVRO restructured and suggested making Boyd a consultant; he resigned effective Dec. 31, 1950. Avro went on to design a delta-wing supersonic interceptor, the CF-105 "Arrow" beginning in 1953 and culminating in the cancellation of the project in February, 1959. The Arrow was to be powered by an Orenda Engine Co. designed IROQUOIS engine. Boyd had followed a pattern of rigorous analysis and careful design drawings in the creation of the ORENDA. As he says, he was not a "try it and see" engineer. The IROQUOIS, in contrast, never did achieve its design thrust of 20,000 lbs. or 30,000 with afterburner. The engine was also prone to shedding turbine blades and in one test run, it burned up on the test stand. The design period for the ORENDA was 2 years and 5 months while the design periods for the IROQUOIS was 1 year and 5.5 months. Boyd insists that good design is only evolved if the designer has time to contemplate and to discard his first, and even second, design in favour of the simple and almost self-evident design that results from this process
  • After leaving AVRO, Winnett Boyd went on to become Chief Designer of the National Research Universal (NRU) nuclear reactor for Atomic Energy Canada. He headed his own company of consulting engineers, Winnett Boyd Limited, and was President of Arthur D. Little Canada Limited. The finding aid will give some indication of the full scope of Boyd's many activities and interests.