Jan Zurakowski in cockpit of the Arrow, 1958

A recreational trail in Ward 5 carries the name of Jan’s Trail. The trail was named in recognition of Janusz (Jan) Zurakowski. Jan was born in Ryzawka, Russia (now in Poland), on September 12, 1914, and is best known for his association with A.V. Roe Canada and of being the chief test pilot for the famed AVRO Arrow.

Jan Zurakowski celebrating first flight of the Arrow, March 25 1958

Jan, who was nicknamed “Zura”, was renowned throughout the aviation world for his aeronautical skills and his extensive career as a test pilot. He was also a decorated aviator, fighting for Poland and the United Kingdom during World War II. In 1952, he immigrated to Canada and began a career as the lead development pilot for A.V. Roe Canada. Jan worked in Malton, within modern Mississauga, during his time with A.V. Roe and the AVRO Arrow program.

Flying the CF-100 on December 18, 1952, Jan broke the sound barrier and became the first person to exceed the speed of sound in a straight wing jet aircraft. During the 1950s, Jan also flew as an aerobatic display pilot, with spectacular results. In 1958, Jan was chosen as the chief development test pilot for the CF-105 AVRO Arrow program. Jan was at the controls of the Arrow’s first test flight in RL-201 on March 25, 1958. Jan retired later in 1958, and in 1973 was inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame for his outstanding contributions to Canadian aviation. Jan died at his home in Barry’s Bay, Ontario, on February 9, 2004.

NOTE: This story was previously published as part of the Way Back Wednesday series in Modern Mississauga by Heritage Mississauga.

It can be found on their website here: https://www.modernmississauga.com/main/2019/2/26/the-history-of-mississaugas-jans-trail

Avro Arrow Roll-out, Oct 4 1957